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The Art Of CitroŽn Exhibition

National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

CitroŽn in the temple of British motoring?
The idea was put forward by a representative from Beaulieu who was touring Alsace in the winter of 2004-2005. When the C4 was launched, the Schlumpf Collection at the Museť FranÁais de l'Automobile in Mulhouse (where the C4 is built) housed an exhibition of "30 Brilliant CitroŽns" and it was this that led to the Art Of CitroŽn exhibition at Beaulieu. On 3rd September, the CitroŽn Car Club, Traction Owners Club, 2CV GB and the CitroŽn Specials Club held a meeting at Beaulieu where the photos were taken.
The exhibition runs until March 2007.

An oval room for a beauty queen.

In the vast entrance hall, a C6, CitroŽn's new standard bearer, reigns supreme. The Marque's new flagship vehicle is offset by a ring of jewels: an antique prototype 2 CV from 1939, a right hand drive Traction Avant from 1952, dubbed the Light Fifteen and manufactured in Slough and two DSs.  The first is a 1961 model with daffodil yellow bodywork that took pride of place last year at the event organised to mark the 50th anniversary of this unrivalled car at the Citť des sciences et de l'industrie technology museum in Paris.  The other DS, from 1967, is a doorless model, which enables visitors to sit inside the dream machine and imagine they're taking off.  The enchantment continues with the C Airdream concept car, star of the 2002 Paris Motor Show. Behind the vehicles, a wall of screens shows old films and commercials. Propelled into the future by its heritage, CitroŽn is a living legend.  The Art of CitroŽn, showing until mid March 2007 at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, two hours' drive south west of London, is a regal showcase of design and innovation.
The commemoration of the living legend of CitroŽn is a key attraction for the museum's 400,000 annual visitors. This highly original institution seems to have come straight out of a typical English picture book.  Nestled in the New Forest national park, a stone's throw from Bournemouth and Southampton, the Beaulieu estate has maintained its timeless English style.  Dominated by the Victorian Gothic architecture of Palace House, the ruins of a 13th century abbey lie in the rolling English garden.  The abbey was founded in 1204 when King John, brother of Richard the Lionheart, carved a portion from William the Conqueror's New Hunting Forest and gave it to a brotherhood of Cistercian monks.  In 1538, the Beaulieu Estate was purchased by the Montagu family. More than four and a half centuries later, the Montagus are still living there.  In 1952, the historical property gained an unlikely addition: the Montagu Motor Museum, a memorial to Britain’s motoring achievements.  Lord Montagu of Beaulieu intended the museum as a homage to his father, a motoring pioneer in Britain.  A tad eccentric?  The family estate is anything but Citizen Kane’s impregnable Xanadu.  Here, visitors are welcome.
In the space of a generation, the museum acquired such renown inside and outside Britain that in 1972 it was awarded the title of National Motor Museum. The permanent collection deserves the honour, with thousands of documents and objects related to this largely Anglo American industry, as well as 250 vehicles. The vintage collection includes cars that have gone down in history, including world record breakers like the 1920 Sunbeam 350HP, the 1929 Golden Arrow and the 1964 Bluebird.  This consuming passion is expressed with diligence, like the meticulous reconstruction of a typical English garage from the 1930s.  Keen to keep up with the times, the Beaulieu museum constantly adds to the collection. During the temporary CitroŽn exhibition, a 1997 ZX Rallye Raid from the permanent collection made way for the Xsara WRC in which Sebastien Loeb won his second consecutive drivers' world championship title in 2005. Coordinated by the CitroŽn UK subsidiary, which designed a competition and coomunications exercise at the museum, the exhibition is one of CitroŽn Heritage's main projects for this year.  Lord Montagu of Beaulieu is the Patron of the CitroŽn Car Club.

© 2006 CitroŽnŽt/Julian Marsh/SA Automobiles CitroŽn/CitroŽn UK Ltd