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Karin
Above and below - a couple of early design sketches by Trevor Fiore

Karin - a reverie

Having no new models to reveal at the 1980 Paris Salon, CitroŽn stylist Trevor Fiore was given the go ahead to build a model (not a driveable car) for display. 

The result was the trapezoidal Karin, clearly inspired by Michel Harmand's design for a GS Coupť.

A three seater with the driver being seated centrally and ahead of the two passengers, this layout pre-empted that of the McLaren F1 of 1992.

Headlamp treatment was reminiscent of that of the SM. 

The pictures above and below are reproduced thanks to the generosity of Arthur Frijling.

Its name begins with “car”. It turns into “cara, carina”: “dear, darling” in Italian.

Such was the wish of its Franco-Italian creator, Trevor Fiore, schooled in Britain and responsible for the CitroŽn Styling Department. And what is Karin,the little darling of the 1980 Paris Motor Show?


Cars mass-produced by a manufacturer are the product of much research, many tests, some of them completely unrestrained. As a general rule, the public does not get wind of these “styling exercices” most of which never get off the drawing board.

For the 1980 Paris Motor Show, CitroŽn decided to make an exception to this rule by holding a public presentation of Karin, a styling exercise and a proposition for a vehicle of the future.

Karin, as hypothetically specified, was to be in the "middle range”. It is a two-door ‚”butterfly” coupť (the doors opening upwards), with a very streamlined profile and a very low centre of gravity. Length 12’ 1 Ĺ”, height 3’6 ľ” width 6’ 2 ĺ”. 4-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive, hydropneumatic suspension.

The inside is roomy and non-conformist in design. It has three offset seats, with the driving seat central. It still has a steering wheel, but you feel that it might evolve into a joystick any moment. Steering is assisted, with servo return, and only slightly geared down. The highly functional facia has everycontrol at the driver’s fingertips, in accordance with the principle that came into being with the CX. It includes an inboard computer whose screen at all times shows the state of the road and that of the vehicle.

It is occasionally said that the shape of motor cars runs some risk of becoming monotonous, under the effect of ever-tighter controls and regulations. Proving the contrary motivated CitroŽn’s Styling Department to undertake this “styling exercise”, with as starting point, for instance, aerodynamic research in order to determine how some silhouette might be created which would be new.

Text © 1980 le Double Chevron


© 1980 le Double Chevron / 2005  CitroŽnŽt