The Citroen M35: The one that got away.
Back in 1969 Citroen decided they should give the rotary engine a chance, so they grabbed a Citroen Ami 8 went to Heuliez for a sleek body design and bought a rotary engine designed by Comotor and NSU with 49HP giving the car a top speed of 140km/h and a 0-100 time of 19 seconds. which was 10 seconds faster than the Ami 8! (yes we've made a lot of progress since the dark ages)
But the specs are not what made me interested in this car, its the story behind its existence that is the amazing part.
Citroen wanted to build 500 of these cars, which they never did… but Citroen (cheeky as they were) just skipped numbers… for example after No.175 came No.367 and in that way the final one rolling off the assembly line was No.473 but in reality they only build 267 of these awesome little cars.
The amazing part is that these cars are concept cars. Back in the day Citroen lend these cars to a select group of loyal customers for a period of time and they would have to drive them and tell Citroen their opinions about it, this is how they would know how consumers feel about rotary engines and if it was something they could use for their normal vehicles. But now comes the really interesting part.
It was planned that all the M35s would be returned to Citroen after the test period was over and the cars would be destroyed. But a bunch of these cars were never destroyed. I cant find information if these cars were just never returned or that scrappers decided to flip them. But considering a lot of them have been found in barns i would assume a lot of people liked them enough to just not return them.
I've been following these cars for a while now and when it first showed up on my radar 3 years ago only 10 of these cars were know to be alive 10, 13, 36, 39, 63, 83, 85, 88, 105 and 112 were found. Now 4 years later it brings me great joy to announce that right now 89 of these cars are known to be still on our roads today. Yes that's exactly one-third of all the cars still on the road of a model were none should still exist!
The project was still a succes, many parts of the M35 made it to regular production and the engine later found its home in the Citroen GS Birotor as a dual rotor.