BORN near Varese in Italy’s industrial north in 1903, and first hired by Citroen in 1932, Bertoni had a busy life. He ran off to Paris a young man to secretly marry the Italian woman he loved, won prizes for his sculpture, was arrested and released by both French and German authorities during WWII, lost a leg in a wartime motorcycle accident, married a second time to a famed ballerina… and shaped at least three automotive classics. 932, ris as lian pture, nch almost dent, rina… assics.
BEFORE the Traction Avant, no carmaker had combined unitary body construction and front-wheel drive. Today it’s the way (almost) everyone does it. Legend has it Bertoni sculpted the shape of this hugely innovative Citroen in a single g y ngle night, using plasticine and working without any preliminary sketches. con drive eve Berto hug sin
THE long-delayed result of a project begun in the 1930s, the production aimed for minimalism in every possible including cost. It have turned out utilitarian, but Bertoni’s personality. design gave the charm and perso d n tion 2CV malism le way, t could sternly ertoni’s e 2CV onality.
BERTONI’S masterpiece is one of the great designs of automotive history. In 1955, it was a stunningly BERT o desig his wa was a stunningly wa seamless and incredibly courageous combination of futuristic technology style. Today it’s a justly revered icon. seaml coura fut and jus
JAUNTY 2CV-based Ami 6, with reverse-angle rear screen, was one of the first cars to adopt rectangular headlights. This was Bertoni’s last production car for Citroen. He died in 1964. f h fi d
Citroen’s reputation for innovative design is thanks largely to . the work of two men. Flaminio Bertoni and Robert Opron shared early training in the arts and architecture… and the luck to work for Citroen when it was the world’s bravest carmaker
IT BROUGHT trademark Citroen big-car to a small car, hydropneumatic and brakes. like nothing class, and its aerodynamic shape also looked like else. Until… BROUGH Citroe technology notably hyd suspension It drove l else in its soft, aerody meant it al nothing e
FOR the successor to the DS, Opron amplified the bankruptcy and subsequent takeover by Peugeot, it is regarded by many as the last ‘real’ Citroen. aero look of the GS and launched an influential design trend. Developed before Citroen’s b k t d
THE SM is Opron’s masterwork. Citroen had been dreaming of a sporting version of the DS since 1961. When the company’s brief ownership of Maserati gave them a V6 engine to make it reality, Opron gave them an unforgettably elegant shape. ng s ti e
AMONG Opron’s early projects for Citroen was a facelift of the DS. His artful rework of the car’s nose added paired and faired headlights, with the inboard high beams turning up to 80 degrees with the steering.
BERTONI was famously rude to Opron the first time they met in Citroen’s design studios in the early 1960s. This didn’t stop the young French then in his 20s, from responding recruitment letter from Citroen weeks later. His reign as design there lasted until 1974. Opron when Peugeot took over Citroen headed to Renault. 960s. designer, ding to a oen a few ign chief ron left en and he