Poll – National Automotive Icons – France

If you haven’t seen them already, you can view the full list of contenders here: National Automotive Icons – France. If you’ve already seen them, however, then it’s time for your vote!

We have one additional car added to the poll, the Peugeot 205GTi. I used to love the old Peugeot ad featuring one of the Brabham kids a few decades ago. It used memories of ads from other manufacturers, something like ….

“you’ve seen a Volvo turn into a horse, [etc. etc.]”

…. before finishing with ….

now watch a Peugeot turn into a corner

…. with the car taking a big sweeper on a track. Great ad. Wish I could find it on Youtube.

The Poll

The Peugeot 205 Gti joins our original five contenders for a French face-off par excellence! Cast your vote below and we’ll see which Citroen who takes the final prize, later in the week.

[poll id=”6″]

The Contenders

The Peugeot 205GTi

The Citroen 2CV

The Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic

The Citroen DS

An example of RenaultSport’s fine work – the RS Clio

The Bugatti Veyron

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  1. An article in the US magazine “Road & Track” nack in the late 1970’s showed a 2CV surrounded by a sea?, ocean?…..no….gaggle of geese. Fitting as it were….

    Interesting car, unique and the origin od quirky!

    Definately something you wouldn’t see here often….errrrr….never here in the US, making it a plus for snob appeal.

  2. The DS. For it’s quirky design and unique engineering, with a Hydraulic system fit for a king (Rolls). Just look at the DS in TV series “The Mentalist”. It just Fits!

    To late now but I wish we could have had Talbot/Simca join the List. Not the UK manufactured ones but the French. An old mate of mine (From my days selling Skodas) told me a story his father (also a car salesman) told him of when he sold Talbot/Simca in the 70’s. At one time a newly delivered Talbot had an empty wine bottle and a piece of baguette in the trunk…. So I would like to include Talbot because of 1. The stereotype being true 🙂 and 2. Formula 1 and Rallying!!!


    1. Ooh forgot… The Peugeot 504. Why? Must be the most popular everyday French car Ever as people are still using them in the whole of Africa and it was produced between 1968 and 2005!!!


  3. Difficult poll. Unlike the Americans, when the French do something it is with lots of heart and always in a way you either love or hate. Glad you added the 205, because to me that is a real icon and the start of the modern French car industry. Maybe the Bugatti’s are icons, but I would rather have seen the Citroën Traction Avant (to me that is a typical classic French car together with the 2CV) and the Simca 1000. But as Tompa writes, the 504 is also a must on a list of classic French cars… Yep, French cars never leaves you unfazed…

  4. No, Swade … Tompa, ctm.. not the 504 ist missing.. it’s the design icon Peugeot 404 — or the allt-time-beauty 504 Coupé …. but this ist a pininfarina car.. not REALLY french..

  5. I just looked at the Wikipedia page for the Peugeot 504. I didn’t know about this:

    “The car was assembled in various countries, under license of Peugeot. In Australia it was assembled by Peugeot’s arch-rival Renault, and sold through Renault Australia’s dealer network.”

  6. Swade, I think the Renault segment needs narrowing down a wee bit. It has to be ‘A’ car to allow the reader to make an association/ memory recall and thus decide how to evaluate where it sits in the scheme of things.

    For me I haven’t had enough exposure to Renault Sport cars – I think I’ve only seen 2 Clio RS’s and 1 Megane RS in my life…they’re not that common outside of capital cities in Aus.
    Bugatti’s….the Type 35 would have to be more iconic than the calendar cars you’ve listed/discussed because most motoring enthusiasts could claim to have seen at least one or two of them – in action. They have featured in Targa Tasmania, historic races in mainland Australia and around the world and are usually still driven with all the verve and enthusiasm they were designed to be treated with.
    I remember seeing a very well used Brescia Bugatti with a competition career in historic trials and it looked like it had been dragged through a hedge…which it probably had! But it was ouzing character from every rivet and casting.
    We won’t know about the latter day Bugatti’s for another 30 or 40 years they’re just too esoteric and too new to be icons in my mind. Rare is the car that deserves instant iconic status in my opinion.

    So for me it has to be the DS, followed by the 2CV and 205 GTi from your list. But the SM would have been second had it made the guernsey.

    1. Well there’s going to be 50+ RenaultSports in Benalla Victoria on the 15th and 16th September.

      I find it interesting that RenaultSport has been in Australia since 2001 and at this years annual National Event (I’m attending) there will be over 50 RenaultSports in attendance.

      The first Saab dealer in Australia opened in 1971, at last years Last year I biannual national event (which I attended) there was 12 Saabs in attendance.

      Just shows how popular RenaultSport is.

      1. 12 cars is a poor showing at a national rally and must have been a big let down: I feel for the organisers. As I am not a member I am not in a psoition to criticise but the Saab club web sites don’t seem to be updated very often either. The only reason I haven’t joined up is the distance: 560km to Melbourne, 1000km to Sydney and no branch in Adelaide (400km), which would mean I’d be a no-show for most things as well.

        At 508km, Benalla is also a bit of a hike if I want to up my sightings of Renault Sports to 3 + 50-something. Have a great time and happy and safe motoring.

  7. ‘A’ car indeed, Ian. As in, A106, A108, A110, A310, etc. Those 60s and 70s Renault Alpines are beautiful cars with a lot of character, but not as iconic as a Deux Cheveaux. The 2CV appeals to all of us who grew up loving Saabs for the same reason – they don’t conform.

    Ian also gives a good shout for the SD and the CX. I love the CX. That reminds me: the C6 deserves an honourable mention for bringing that quirky big French car vibe back to life after two decades of dullness from the mid-80s to the mid-noughties.

    The reason I would not put the 2CV at the pinnacle, however, in spite of it being as French as a frog-shaped fromage from Fourme d’Ambert, is that the even-more-iconically French DS is … simply the coolest car ever made. C’est tout.

    PS: In the initial French-car post Swade implied he’s not an anorak. Well, I’m not wearing that one buddy. 🙂

    1. You know what? I typed in a short line about the C6 at the end of my last entry then deleted it as I wasn’t sure they’re even available in AUS and I thought I was maybe taking over the stage a bit.
      I was a bit awe struck when I saw one up close at a dealership in the UK back in 2010. So much so that I had to walk in there and ask to have a sit in it 🙂

    2. I mentioned the A310 and A110 in my comments on the previous post. I agree that they are fine examples of French automobiles, but I’m not sure that they are ‘iconic’.

  8. Ian, Allan – these are the sort of cases I need made prior to the poll contenders being announced.

    I agree, an A car quite likely should have been included. When it came to Renault, I was influenced by my own bias for modern RS vehicles so looked to find a more recent historic link.

    And Allan, I’m definitely not an anorak. I know a reasonable amount about a very narrow band of vehicles. When it comes to rest of them, I’m learning as I go.

  9. Swade, I’m just too slow to get my ass in gear before you do your polls I think. I was away for several days at a place with no online connection.

    Usually I am pretty good when it comes to communicating TOV in emails and suchlike, but I fear my gentle chiding, which is all tongue-in-cheek, might be misunderstood. From what I have read, your breadth and depth of knowledge across the many facets of cars and, perhaps more precisely, “car culture” is quite a bit bigger than you are letting on.

    Besides to me, being an “anorak” about a subject is actually a great accolade. A true anorak is usually worth listening to/reading provided they are a good and generous communicator. Your modesty is nice and all that, and indeed if you are trying to come across as approachable and someone who doesn’t blow their own trumpet our come across as patronising and full of himself in his blog posts, it certainly works. I get it. But on the other hand, I contend that this blog would not be worth reading but for the fact that you know what you’re talking about, and what you don’t know, you learn. When you are on the hunt for answers, it is fascinating being along for the ride and then seeing what you come up with.

    Swadeology is one of my favourite blogs and one of only two that I actually ever comment on (hmmm, can you guess what the other one is?) because although I am in truth more interested in politics, history and philosophy than cars, all of those subjects can get a bit “heavy” when all one really wants to do is just shoot the breeze over a coffee in between doing something productive. Like now… 🙂 So cars fit the bill, and since your site is much more intelligently written than the vast majority of car blogs I have encountered … voila, here I am, and have been (albeit furtively and without commenting for the first few years) since Trollhättan Saab. It also helps that you write a lot about a great car company.

    Actually, just had another thought, Swade: as a punter, what are your favourite blogs? Forgive me if you’ve already done that and I missed it.

    1. Allan, some very kind words there. Thanks.

      Addressing a few points……

      • “trying to come across as approachable, etc” – Yeah, a little. Truth is, whilst I try to be patient, I don’t suffer fools too easily and in person, I’m quite possibly not very nice. I’m a lot nicer on paper, which is why I’m most comfortable (t)here. The other truth is that I really don’t know much about much. Those things I do know I about, I try to write about with as much clarity and good humour as possible because they’re the things I’m interested in and I assume that people who might visit here do so because they have an interest in them, too.
      • What other sites do I read? – Unfortunately, I’m afflicted with living-in-the-past disease. I no longer work in the motoring sector but my RSS feed still looks like I do. I still spend most of my web time consuming news about either cars or football, with some occasional web publishing news in there as well. I’m just a big 42 year old child, really. I do have interests outside the aforementioned spheres, but with those issues I’m like a cow, grazing my news from source to source with no fixed address. I generally don’t read blogs aside from car blogs. Sad, but true.
    1. That really is something when you see it in real-life perspective.. so much more of a commanding presence than simply in a picture. Quite a big car. Impressive.

      1. Exactly. And because of that, I consider that video the Ultimate Automotive Cool in just 30 seconds! Everybody should see it.

  10. Ian, I worry that if I sit in a C6 I will just sign a cheque on the spot, and that would not be wise right now. 🙂 This vote is really interesting because although the DS surely has to win hands down, there are a lot of fine cars in there. The Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic is a spectral beauty. The Peugeot 205 GTI is far more interesting and characterful than most cars of its era. The Alpines, the other Citroens … yeah all nice and interesting. Think how dull the automotive landscape would be without interesting French cars. (Excluding anything deadly boring made between the late 80s and mid noughties!) Let’s see where Swade goes next…

  11. Seems as though consensus has been reached then? I remembered a news snippet from a few years back that you may have seen already but in the context of this poll, it’s worth placing here.
    That story was widely reported in the motoring press I think? It’s nice to think that we are fairly well aligned with those who really know their onions (& berets)