|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door saloon
|Engine||602 cc flat-2
1015 cc flat-4
|Wheelbase||95 in (2,413 mm)|
|Length||154 in (3,912 mm)|
|Width||60 in (1,524 mm)|
|Height||57 in (1,448 mm)|
The Citroën Ami is an automobile in the supermini class, produced by the French automaker Citroën from 1961 to 1978. The Ami was for some years the best-selling car model in France. Production totalled 1,840,396 units. The Ami and stablemate Citroën Dyane were replaced by the Citroën Visa and Citroën Axel.
Although not its commercial name, in France the Ami was often referred to as the Citroën 3CV Trois chevaux, or "three horses", CV originally being the initials for "chevaux-vapeur" (horsepower - literally 'steam horses'), but used here for "chevaux fiscaux" in short. The "cheval fiscal" was a French fiscal unit based on engine size ; smaller CV usually meant economical cars. The 602 cc engine of the Ami was fractionally above the upper limit for the 2 CV taxation class. The 3CV nickname differentiated the car in the market place from the long established Citroën 2CV, but was never applied to the Ami 8, only to the Ami 6.
The Citroën Ami had its formal French launch on 25 April 1961, four months ahead of the August introduction of the widely anticipated Renault 4. Both the Renault 4 and the Citroën Ami responded to a perceived market need for a vehicle slightly larger and less rustic than the 2CV. The Ami is a rebodied 2CV with certain mechanical upgrades (particularly a larger engine than the 1950s 2CV), to compensate for the added weight. At launch all the cars were powered by an air cooled 602 cc two-cylinder flat engine which would also be offered at extra cost in the 2CV from 1970.
The platform chassis and suspension is similar to the 2CV, being independent all round using leading and trailing arms and coil springs interconnected front to rear. For a detailed suspension description see Citroën 2CV.
The Ami's seats were easily removable. Sales pitches of the Ami included photographs of the seats being used as picnic chairs.
The Ami and the 1961 Ford Taunus were the first vehicles with rectangular (as opposed to round) headlamps.
The car went on sale in France in the late spring of 1961, though Citroën implemented some simple upgrades in time for the October Paris Motor Show only six months later. The most visible change involved the replacement of the fixed windows on the rear doors with two-part horizontal sliding windows, similar to those already fitted on the front doors. Sales initially were not as good as those of the older 2CV; the Ami's first full year of production was 1962, during which only 85,358 of the cars were sold, while the thirteen-year-old 2CV managed 144,759 sales during the same twelve-month period. Although the Ami had a modern body, it shared the aggressively minimalist underpinnings of the older car, and this made it hard to justify a starting price for the Ami which, at the end of 1961, was 35% higher.
The 1961 Ami 6 sedan is distinguished by an unusual reverse-raked rear window, similar in style to the 1959 Ford Anglia 105E in Britain. A similar design feature was used on the first generation three door Citroën C4. This design feature first appeared on the US 1953 Packard Balboa-X show car. It was first put into production on the 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser and 1958-1960 Lincoln Continentals. (In the American cars the rear window could be opened as an aid to ventilation before air conditioning became standardised, and in the American fashion was given a name, the "Breezeway Window").
The later Ami 8 saloon has a fastback rear window. It was redesigned by the French car design and bodywork company, Heuliez. Most notable changes were the front part and bonnet and the sloping, rather than inverted, rear window on the saloon. The estate version of the Ami 8 had a similar general appearance to that of the Ami 6 although the later car's tail-lights were integrated into the rear wings.
The Ami Super was a flat-4 variant powered by the engine of the GS and produced between 1973 and 1976. At the launch of the GS, its original flat four-cylinder air-cooled 1015 cc 55 bhp DIN engine was considered to be underpowered. With surplus engines available, Citroën decided to fit the engine into the Ami 8 in January 1973. The car, which became the Ami Super, then easily reached 140 km / h. From the outside, it had a new front grille with six additional vents underneath. On the sides of the front wing there was a badge marked 1015 in reference to the new engine. The body is the same as the Ami 8 apart from changes to inner front wings, bonnet, front panel and bumper mountings. The chassis was also modified from the standard Ami 8 with alterations made to accommodate the 1015 cc engine. Other changes included thicker wire in the suspension springs, to give a tauter ride and front anti-roll bars. Rear anti-roll bars were fitted from 1974 onwards until the end of Ami Super Production in 1976. The Ami Super and Ami 8 Break (Estate) were fitted with 135 15 ZX Michelin tires as standard while the Ami 8 Berline retained the Michelin 125 15 X although 135 15's could be ordered as an option. Also on the Ami Super headlamps with built in Quartz iodine fog lights were offered as an option, other options included heated rear screens. Inside, the gear change is floor mounted, in place of the dashboard mounted gear lever of the Ami 6 and 8 and to accommodate this the hand brake of the Super curves up instead of down. The speedometer was also specific to the Ami Super differing slightly to allow higher speed numbers to be shown.
The Ami Super was offered in the same three trim levels as the Ami 8, Luxe, Confort and Club on Saloon and Luxe and Confort on Break (estate) versions. These trim differences were fairly minor with Luxe models having bench front and rear seats and vinyl floor matting. Confort trim offered reclining front seats in place of the front bench. The Club models can be considered the Pallas of the Ami range featured sound proofing pads on the floor and bulkhead, carpet including boot (trunk) lining, stainless steel trim on the window frames and side rubbing strips on the doors and rear wings. Club trim was only available up to the end of the 1973 model year, after that point Ami 8 and Ami super were only available in Luxe and Confort specification.
From 1974 Ami super models were revamped to feature a double line graphic along the exterior of the body sides, either in black or silver depending on body colour, with slotted wheels and double line detailing on the hubcaps. The rear window also featured a graphic in white proclaiming "Ami Super 1015cm³"
As the Ami Super looked very much like an Ami 8, and could surprise many by demonstrating its dramatic performance advantage compared to the Ami 8 (55 hp compared to 32 hp). Quoted by Autocar magazine in the UK as a "Q car par excellence" sadly in France its 5CV tax rating made little sense in a small car and as a result sales were low compared to the Ami 8. In the UK however where no such tax penalties existed the Ami Super attracted healthy sales although is now a rare sight due to poor corrosion resistance, a feature suffered by many vehicles of this era.
The Ami Super production reached close to 42,000 in sedan and station wagon by February 1976. The Ami 8 continued until early 1979 and reached in the region of 722,000 production.
A small series of prototype coupés, the M35 were produced as test vehicles for loyal customers — testing the single-rotor Comotor Wankel engine, as also seen in the NSU Spider. A twin-rotor version of this engine reached production form with the NSU Ro 80 and GS Birotor.
The Citroën Ami 6 side view
The Ami 6 was the first model to be produced at the new Citroen plant opened in 1961 in the presence of the new president to the south-west of central Rennes. It was later joined at the plant by the Dyane and GS models.
The Ami 6 & Ami 8 were also built by Citroën Hispania in Vigo (Spain) from 1967 to 1978, but they were never called "Ami" because of a legal problem with that name. The equivalences with French built models are:
- Ami 6 berline: never built in Spain.
- Ami 6 break old model (M4 type engine): Citroën Break 3cv.
- Ami 6 break new model (M28 type engine): Citroën Dynam.
- Ami 8 berline: Citroën 8 or C-8.
- Ami 8 break: Citroën 8 Familiar or Citroën Familiar.
Out of Europe, the Ami 8 was made in Argentina until 1978 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Only in the break version, with the "Club" & "Elysee" trims, was exported to Uruguay, Paraguay and in CKD kits to Arica, Chile from 1976 where it was assembled until it was shut down in favour of the production of Citroen CX in early 1978.
An Ami 6 tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1962 had a top speed of 65.3 mph (105.1 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-50 mph (80 km/h) in 30.3 seconds. A fuel consumption of 53 miles per imperial gallon (5.3 L/100 km; 44 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £823 including taxes on the UK market.
|Ami 6 (1961-1963)||602 cc flat-2 air-cooled||22 hp (16 kW) @ 4500 rpm||65 mph (105 km/h)|
|Ami 6 (1964-1968)||602 cc flat-2 air-cooled||26 hp (19 kW) @ 4750 rpm||68 mph (109 km/h)|
|Ami 6 (1968)||602 cc flat-2 air-cooled||28 hp (21 kW) @ 5400 rpm||70 mph (110 km/h)|
|Ami 6 (1969)||602 cc flat-2 air-cooled||32 hp (24 kW) @ 5750 rpm||76 mph (122 km/h)|
|Ami 8||602 cc flat-2 air-cooled||32 hp (24 kW) @ 5750 rpm||76 mph (122 km/h)|
|Ami Super||1015 cc flat-4 air-cooled||55 hp (41 kW) @ 5750 rpm||87 mph (140 km/h)|
|M35||Single rotor Wankel engine||49 hp (37 kW) @ 5500 rpm||89 mph (143 km/h)|