Home CitroŽnŽt home

Site search powered by FreeFind
Do NOT include 'Citroen' in your search terms

Title

Les Filles de Forest
De in BelgiŽ geproduceerde tweecilinder CitroŽns
Les CitroŽn bicylindres assemblťes en Belgique
(The Belgian-built two cylinder CitroŽns)
Two separate books, one in Dutch and the other in French

Author

Vincent Beyaert

Publisher

Citrovisie

ISBN

(NL) 978-90-815208-3-6
(FR) 978-90-815208-4-3

Description

Hardback 245 x 225 x 30 mm
360 pages
Numerous colour illustrations

Price

€ 39,95 (standard edition)
€ 45,95 (deluxe limited edition – 75 copies only featuring a better finish, a bookmark ribbon and signed by the author).


The Sociťtť Belge des Automobiles CitroŽn S.A. was created on 31st January 1924 and was the second such foreign enterprise to be set up by Andrť CitroŽn (the first being the factory at Slough in England). Its registered office was at rue de l'Amazonie, 47-51 at Saint-Gilles where the offices and factory occupied an area of 2,500 m2 but the massive increase in production and sales in Belgium soon meant that the company was obliged to seek larger premises. In 1926, the company set up a new factory in Forest/Vorst with an area of 6,632 m2 and this was followed by the establishment of a huge showroom in bvd. Adolphe Max and another in rue Emile Claus. In 1934, the company moved its administration, sales, after sales and technical development operations to a 16,500 m2 complex at Place de l'Yser/Ijzerplein alongside the Brussels - Antwerp Canal in the centre of Brussels. Designed by Alexis Dumont (1877-1962), the building was the architectural expression of the avant-garde techniques employed by CitroŽn and is still used as the HQ of CitroŽn Belux.

Between 1924 and 1940, more than 30,000 vehicles had been sold on the Belgian market. In 1940, the company was evicted from its premises at the Place d'Yser by the occupying German forces who remained there until 1944. The premises were badly damaged by the blowing up of a nearby bridge and were left largely unrepaired for six years.
During the occupation, the Forest factory became the registered office of the company and ceased all manufacturing, confining itself to the repair of vehicles and conversion to "GazogŤne" and acetylene fuel.

On 11th and 12th May 1944, the factory was bombed by Allied aircraft resulting in the almost total destruction of the paint shop.

After the war, British forces requisitioned the factory and its assets but despite this, in 1944 and 1945, the factory was repaired and in 1946, production re-commenced with 1,536 vehicles being built in 1946, 4,098 in 1947 and 4,955 in 1948.

Partial rebuilding of the Place d'Yser premises meant that the administration returned there in 1947 but it was not until 1959 that all the damage was fully repaired.
The Forest factory built most of the models that were built in Paris including the 5CV, B12, B14, Traction Avant, DS, 2CV, Dyane, Mťhari, LNA and Visa, as well as Panhards. A large proportion of Belgian production was exported to Luxembourg and the Netherlands as well as to the remnants of Belgium's African empire. From 1970, the factory specialised in making 2CV and 3CV camionettes and from 1974, the LN and Visa.

This book confines itself to the twin pot CitroŽns which, in order to ensure that the local content was sufficiently high to allow relief from import taxes, featured specific lighting, different wheel embellishers, larger bumpers, cut out rear wings and sometimes included variants that were not available in France such as a six light 2CV ‘limousine’ and a 602cc 2CV long before the advent of the 2CV6.  Indeed my second CitroŽn was one of these – a 2CV AZAM6...

Reconstructing the history of the cars produced in Forest was quite a puzzle due to a lack of documentation in the factory archives.

‘Les filles de Forest’ describes the production and evolution of the two-cylinder cars built at Forest, from the first 2CV A in 1952 to the latest Visa in 1980. Other models such as the Ami 6, the Dyane, the Mťhari and the LN are also covered in depth, along with the Radar and Lohr. There are full descriptions of body colours, fabrics, production figures and chassis numbers by type and by year.
 
The book contains hundreds of images, many of which have never been previously published.

When I put together the Belgian pages on this site, the author, Vincent Beyaert was very helpful with both the provision of information and photographs and I therefore approached this book with a great deal of enthusiasm.

As with all Citrovisie books, the production and presentation are faultless.  The only complaint is that there is not an English language version available.  However, most Anglophones ought to find the French version slightly more comprehensible than the Dutch. And if the text does defeat you, there are still the wonderful pictures to look at.


 


Citrovisie was founded by Thijs van der Zanden, who combines his passion for writing and CitroŽns.
Citrovisie publishes books which will interest the enthusiasts of the CitroŽn brand. 
The formula is simple: no basic books with well-known facts and standard photographs, but books full of new information and unseen images. Besides the heap of information a Citrovisie book offers, it's also a lot of fun browsing through the chapters, since there are many images in the books many of which have never been published before.

© 2015 Julian Marsh