Total celebrates Citroën centennial: we look back at 100 years of automotive excellence
For more than 50 years, Total and Citroën have worked together to develop boundary-breaking lubricants and achieve success after success in motorsport, and this year it is a pleasure for us to celebrate Citroën’s 100-year anniversary. Since 1919, the international automotive brand has been breaking boundaries – looking back, we explore some of our favourite highlights from the company’s storied history.
Citroën’s first car
Citroën’s first vehicle, the Type A, was released on April 11th, 1919, and featured a four-cylinder, 1,323cmᶟ engine with a top speed of 65kph. It was a huge hit, and within just one year Citroën had produced 10,000 of the vehicles, solidifying their place as one of the foremost French automakers.
Illuminating the Eiffel Tower
Between 1925 and 1934, Citroën rented the upper section of the Eiffel Tower, casting the brand’s name using 600km of cabling and 250,000 lights. With each letter 30m tall and backed by all manner of art deco shapes and patterns, at the time it was the largest advertisement in the world.
Release of the Citroën DS
One of the company’s most iconic models, the DS was the product of 18 years of development, before finally being released in October 1955 at the Paris Motor Show. Featuring hydropneumatic suspension, space-age runaway hit. During the ten days of the show, 80,000 deposits were taken – a record only beaten in 2016 by the Tesla Model 3.
The start of the Total-Citroën partnership
1968 saw the beginning of the association between Citroën and Total, with Total tasked with producing a lubricant that could tackle fouling and ignition issues in the DS. Since this humble beginning, we have enjoyed 51 years of advancement in lubricants, industrial development and motorsports.
Total and Citroën at the Morocco Rally in 1969
The partnership’s first motorsport outing, the 1969 Rallye du Maroc (Morocco Rally) was a great success, with the Citroën DS 21 overcoming harsh desert conditions and coming first. In the 1969 race, just seven cars out of 68 managed to complete the marathon rally, which included hundred-mile rally sections.
Four-time success at the Dakar Rally
1991-1996 saw the partnership notch up plenty of motorsport achievements, with Ari Vatanen and Bruno Berglund winning in 1991 with their Citroën ZX, and Pierre Lartigue and Michel Périn coming first in 1994, 1995 and 1996.
Continued racing success in the WRC
Since the turn of the century, Total and Citroën have enjoyed fantastic success at the World Rally Championship, winning nine world titles between 2004 and 2012, on top of three constructors’ titles, 50 wins and three drivers’ titles. This year, the Citroën Total World Rally Team returned to the top spot, winning their hundredth victory!
Learn more about the motorsport achievements of the Total-Citroën partnership, from WRC to Formula E.