Thursday April 25, 2019
As this year sees 100 years of Citroën, we commence a series of celebratory blogs with one of their most intriguing “Q” cars – the Ami Super. As almost any enthusiast of the marque will tell you, it was the ideal car to startle any Ford Escort 1300E or Morris Marina TC owner. Neil Osborn has owned one of the very few surviving RHD version since 1984, and he finds when out and about in Peterborough many seem to regard it as ‘just a little old car’.
The Super was based on the 8, which was the first incarnation of the Ami to really find favour with British motorists. The original Ami 6 saloon of 1961 with its highly distinctive styling was just too much for semi-detached suburbia but the 8, launched in March 1969, had slightly more conventional lines.
The Super debuted in January 1973 and from the outside, it resembled its less powerful stablemate, asides from a new grille. However, under the bonnet was the OHC 1,015cc boxer engine that powered the GS.
The Super also gained the transmission of its larger stablemate, complete with a floor-mounted lever, and in-board front disc brakes. The top speed was a very reasonable 88 mph with 0-60 in 15 seconds, and from 1974 onwards Citroën equipped with Super with anti-roll bars at the rear.
As with the Ami 8, it was available as either a four-door saloon or five-door estate, and when Autocar tested the former they found it to be a lot of fun in traffic and on the motorway and we would have loved to hear the surprised comments from one TR4 driver and a lad in a "hot" VW’. Today, Neil finds that his Super has ‘a decent turn of speed for modern road conditions’.
In France, the Super competed against the likes of the Simca 1000 GLS, but its engine size attracted a comparatively high tax rating which impacted on its sales. In the UK it was regarded as an alternative to the rather smaller Sunbeam Imp Sport or the Mini 1275GT although Neil observes that the Citroën probably appealed to those drivers who were regarded as ‘eccentric’.
For your £1,025 you gained a car with electric windscreen washers and seats that could be removed for picnics; the Super was never going to appeal to the sort of motorist who equated extra instruments and “go-faster” stripes with performance. The dashboard was not especially well-stocked by the standards of the day even if Neil still finds it ‘vaguely incomprehensible’ after 35 years.
In 1974 What Car groused that ‘the Ami Super has precious little equipment and what it has is of poor quality’ but in that same year, Car evaluated the Estate opposite the Ford Escort 1100L and the Renault 6TL and praised the Citroen as ‘practical and versatile, it handles well and has good road holding as well as a fine ride’.
Production of the Super ended in February 1976, three years before the demise of the Ami 8, and Neil thinks that within the past few years the Ami has become ‘little more fashionable – the A-class to have’. And as for the Super, back in June 1973 Autocar thought ‘There has been nothing quite like this Citroen since the original Mini-Cooper’…