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Paris show: Citroen gets sporty with Lacoste

Open-air venue: The Citroen Lacoste has no doors or roof and the windscreen can also be laid flat for even more wind in your face.

French brands unite to produce fun-loving buggy with fashion flair for Paris show

20 Sep 2010

CITROEN has teamed up with fellow French company Lacoste to produce a buggy-style concept car for next week’s Paris motor show.

The tie-up with the iconic sportswear brand – which cooperated with Peugeot for some special edition 205s in the 1980s – has brought some fashion flair to the Paris concept car.

Citroen claims the roofless and doorless machine is “stylishly minimalist and elegantly laid-back”, with a “strong presence and joie de vivre”.

“The Citroen Lacoste takes a simplified, no-nonsense approach to motoring – without forgetting refinement – and transports passengers to a lighter, fresher world,” said the company ahead of its Paris introduction.

“The new concept car is both resolutely Citroën and typically Lacoste. Positioned at the crossroads of the automotive world where fashion and sport meet, it makes a number of references to these two sectors.”

33 center imagePowered by an economical three-cylinder petrol engine that relies on the car’s light weight for its performance, the compact Lacoste appears to be based on a Citroen C1 platform as it sits on a similar 2300mm wheelbase and is 3450mm long, but is wider and higher at 1800mm and 1520mm respectively.

Although there is no conventional roof, the car has a novel automatically inflatable transparent soft-top, which is contained within the solid backbone Targa-style structure that links the windscreen with the boot.

Citroen said the technology on board similarly strikes the playful note it wanted to characterise the concept car.

The fascia strip on the dashboard serves as the car’s display screen, with messages taking the form of icons with oversized pixels in a nod back to the first video games, while the minimalist two-spoke steering wheel retracts against the upper dashboard to make it easier for occupants to leap onto the front bench seat.

Externally, the Citroen Lacoste features a high waistline, bulging, textured wings, minimum overhang, and golf ball-style wheel covers, with the wheels placed in the furthest corners of the body, and the open-air nature of the car can be further emphasised by lowering the windscreen out of sight.

The body is finished in pearlescent white body paint set off by dark blue design motifs and strips designed to underline the forms of the vehicle.

The front and rear lights are designed to be almost invisible under the car’s dark blue skin until they are switched on.

Lacoste’s iconic polo shirt design is reflected in the weave of the green seats, which are covered in a robust, rope-like cotton, a direct allusion to the ribbed hems of the same brand, and are overstitched in white cotton, while the seatbelt anchorage points get “necklines” like the polo shirts.

As well as traditional colours like white and deep blue, the designers tried to enliven the cabin by dotting bright, almost fluorescent, yellow splashes on the door handles – in soft and tactile rubber with a tennis ball-like effect – and in the storage compartments.

Other references to the sporting world of the Lacoste brand include square-shaped relief designs resembling pieces of a tennis net on several parts of the body, including the bonnet and bulkhead, and the fairing that rises up from the underbody at both the front and rear, which is said to recall the print left by a tennis shoe on a clay tennis court.

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