Exposure to a Performance Car review of the Lamborghini Countach 5000QV at an impressionable age set Dan Trent on course for a life-long obsession with cars. As editor of PistonHeads.com he’s got direct access to a classifieds repository of over 100,000 such vehicles to browse day in, day out. Temptation is never far away. He’s still some way off that Countach though.
None of the things I usually look for in a car can be found in the Citroën C6. It is, after all a front-driven luxury wafter with seemingly little to reward the enthusiast driver. Most of them are diesels with automatic gearboxes. There lurks the potential for significant financial pain if anything niggly goes wrong, which is a worry in any equivalent vehicle, French or otherwise.
But just look at it! If ever there were a car to fall in love with based on looks alone the C6 is it. For a time Citroën completely lost the plot in design terms, seemingly forgetting its wonderful heritage of stylish, eccentric and technically avant garde vehicles. The C6 was a glorious return to form and this resurgent design confidence has carried through to the current range of Citroëns and accompanying DS-branded variants, all under the stewardship of British design boss Mark Lloyd.
As such the C6 is symbolic of Citroën rediscovering its Frenchness and is, accordingly, a car to celebrate. Its stance and proportions are like nothing else in the luxury sector – then or now – and the delightful details like the concave rear screen must have cost a fortune to engineer and put into production. Though clearly modern there’s a timeless quality to its style too; it doesn’t look dated at all. Best of all it’s a defiant Gallic shrug to the thrusting, German-dominated norms of the luxury saloon sector. In its single-minded national pride, its style, its glamour and – yes – arrogance it’s the four-wheeled embodiment of all I love about France. Even Milton Keynes could take on a whiff of Parisian cool from within a C6, though the roundabouts might end up making your passengers a little queasy.
Of course, nobody bought it. Enthusiast site c6owners.org reckons there are little over 700 C6s still on the road in the UK. Autotrader doesn’t even show 20 cars on its books, while in my natural hunting ground of the PistonHeads classifieds there’s only the one, a top of the range Exclusive with the 2.7-litre V6 turbodiesel.
I have to say, it does look a fine example. And if that immaculate driveway really is that of the vendor they would seem exactly the kind of fastidious person you’d want to buy a car like this from. I spent almost as much time gazing in wonder at the spotless man cave in which it’s been photographed as I did the car.
The dark paint is appropriate for a car that looks like it should be accompanied by Gendarmes on motorbikes, the ‘TGV’ reclining rear seats suitably presidential too. The folk on C6owners.org reckon they swallow too much boot space and are less practical but what the hell – if I’m getting a C6 I’m less fussed about driving myself and happy to soak up the ambience from the back seat on occasion. The tan livens up the otherwise disappointingly conservative interior too, those on the outside of the C6 enjoying more of the design flair than those inside.
Frankly I don’t care if it’s not a corner on the door-handles type of car. There’d be something else in the garage to scratch that itch. To satisfy my Francophile side I can think of no more stylish means of transport.
Images courtesy of pistonheads.com