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CitroŽn in Canada - 1961 Canadian Track & Traffic magazine road test of the CitroŽn Wagon

CitroŽn in Canada 1961 Track & Traffic test of the CitroŽn Wagon 1963 Canadian D series brochure
1965 Canadian D series brochure 1965 'holidays europe citroŽn' brochure 1968 Canadian D series brochure
Gary Cullen photo album Bouffard et Fils photo album

It is not often in these days of high standards in all areas of automobile construction that one model can be singled out for having an outstanding advantage over its competitors. In most cases when it is not a matter of just plain personal taste, the car purchased is a compromise of price, size, capacity and economy.

The Citroen ID-19 station wagon is a clear exception. Its outstanding feature is its suspension, a pneumatic-oil system with a self-levelling device which deals easily with all loads the wagon is required to carry and still maintains a minimum ground clearance of 6 1/2 inches.

This clearance can, by the simple movement of a lever near floor level by the driver’s left foot, be increased to a maximum 11.2 inches or to levels in between these extremes. The advantage of such a flexible system to anyone packing loads over unsurfaced terrain are immediately obvious. The air-oil suspension also eliminates those other discomforting features of heavily loaded wagons, a dragging tail and headlights which mis-aligned under load point their beams at night straight into the eyes on oncoming drivers.

The air-oil suspension is connected to each of the four independently sprung wheels by a piston-arm. Movement of the road wheels is transmitted by the arm’s piston action to a container, the lower half of which contains a fluid. Increase or decrease in pressure in the fluid caused by movements of the piston-arm are transmitted to gas which is sealed in the upper section of the container and being compressible, act as a spring.

The amount of weight in the car causes the fluid to decrease or to exert more pressure, resulting in the body of the vehicle always being level and maintained at a constant height.

The only noise accompanying this remarkable operation is a subdued hissing emanating from the lower recesses of the vehicle as it reacts to the varying influences of the moving vehicle.

This suspension system has some other very worthwhile benefits in that it virtually eliminates nose dive on braking and puts up a countering action to body lean in the corners. At the same time it absorbs to an amazing degree the shocks and jolts of uneven pavement.

The braking system is power assisted, another plus factor when this Ŗstation wagon is heavily loaded. During the early stages of his acquaintance with the braking system the operator can be forgiven for feeling that pushing down on the brake results in a similar (sic) stopping action to that of throwing a grappling hook aboard and having it hold fast immediately. The driver soon learns that here is a power braking system that will do 95 per cent of the work for him and after a few miles he will learn that gentle pressures on the brake pedal will bring very satisfactory results.

The brake pedal itself is a signal to the efficiency of the braking system for it is a small round knob little larger than a dimmer switch and this too requires getting used to for it has very little travel. Once mastered, the braking is delightful.

The test vehicle was a four door station wagon which can seat eight persons, three on each side of the two bench-type seats, and two persons in lesser comfort on two separate jump seats which fold flush with the cargo deck when not in use.

Cargo carrying space is generous for a vehicle in this class. With the rearward bench folded flat there is 84 inches of floor space.

The rear door is a clever piece of design. It is split horizontally with the major portion which contains a single large window lifting high up out of the way for loading operations. The smaller section is a let-down gate which can be left open when the top section is closed down so that very long objects can be carried by simply letting them hang out of the back without having the entire rear end of the wagon exposed.

The engine, which is surprisingly small, only a shade under 2 litres, drives the front wheels. This grouping of the engine and transmission at the front makes the handling somewhat heavy even when the wagon is not loaded but this heaviness is only really noticeable when parking. The advantages of front wheel drive come through plainly, for the wagon corners with great authority when under power and behaves well on slick roads.

Assisted by good gearing from the four-speed manual box, the 1911 cc water-cooled engine cruises comfortably in the upper sixties and mid-seventies but is a little slow in getting off the mark, a problem which CT&T did not find overwhelming considering the nature of the vehicle.

The external appearance of the station wagon is in keeping with Citroen’s revolutionary trend, being similar to the sedans, clean, aerodynamic and with a minimum of external protruberances (sic).

Visibility is excellent with a large glass area and small pillars. Due to Citroen’s now familiar ventilation system through grilles in the instrument panel, the need for small vent windows at the side is eliminated and the windows are uncluttered.

The heating system on the test vehicle, however, left something (sic) to be desired. It was tested during one of the winter's coldest spells during which time the flow of warm air to the driving compartment was below the comfort level. The windshield could be kept clear of mist but the absence of a blower in the heating system is considered a definite drawback to the comfort of this model in this country.

The use of plastics and subdued tones gives the interior a modern, not unpleasant appearance, with the accent on space and uncluttered efficiency. In operation the Citroen slipped through the air with a whisper and little engine noise penetrated the driving compartment.


Price of model tested:

$3795 (Toronto)


Four cylinder, ohv, water-cooled


96 ft/lbs at 3000 rpm


70 at 3000 rpm

Bore & Stroke:

3.07 ins x 3.94 ins


1911 cc

Compression ratio:



Single Solex downdraught

Fuel Pump:



Four speed manual gearbox, synchromesh on top three gears, drive through front wheels, final reduction 3.8:1


Disc brakes at front, drums at rear, power assisted, hydraulic action


Front: Two suspension arms with air-oil unit on each wheel. Anti-roll bar.
Rear: Independent with single suspension arm. Air-oil unit and shock absorber to each wheel.


Centre lock nut: Michelin 165 x 400.


Three turns lock to lock. Turning circle: 36 ft.

Heater Rating:



Wheelbase: 123 inches
Track (Front and rear): 59 and 51.3 inches
Length: 196 inches
Width: 70 inches
Height: 60 inches
Weight: 2850 pounds

Fuel Tank:

11.5 imperial gallons


0 - 30 mph

6.5 seconds

0 - 40 mph

10.0 seconds

0 - 60 mph

21.0 seconds

Speedometer Error:

30 indicated - 27.5 true; 40 indicated - 38 true; 60 indicated - 57 true

Fuel Consumption:

32.6 mpg

Timing Equipment:

S. Smith & Son

© 1961 Track and Traffic/2017 Julian Marsh/CitroŽnŽt/thanks to J de V