Most Extravagant Bus Ever Built

Link - article by Avi Abrams

Citroen U55 Cityrama Currus: Parisian spaceship from the 1950s!

When we are considering which bus design could be called "the strangest ever built in history", then this hyperfuturistic double-decker bus certainly comes right on top.

People at the time wondered if this thing came from outer space, escaped from a Flash Gordon movie, or was some sort of a mirage... but in reality this was a very comfortable tour bus built by Citroen on U55 truck chassis for a Paris tour operator Groupe Cityrama. The fantastic shape was designed by the French coachbuilder Currus - and unleashed upon excited visitors to Paris in 1950:

(image via, original Joel Katcoff)

This Cityrama vehicle is a fitting tribute to a certain joie de vivre and artistic flair of Paris... Esprit de Paris, if you like, the City of Lights. Paris is also known as the City of Love, and so it's easy to imagine cuddling up to your girl inside this bus, chatting about sweet nothings, while watching the marvelous panorama unfold outside.

(image via)

It looks wild and... strangely attractive. And it was super comfortable, too.

Imagine seeing this Parisian spaceship cruising through the city:

(image credit: LIFE Magazine)

A large section of the upper deck roof was removed in good weather, turning it into more conventional tour bus. Here are better views of this Parisian spaceship from the 1960 film "Zanzie dans le Métro":

(image via)

The original Citroen U55 vehicle (on the left) looks very prosaic indeed... hard to imagine it will be converted into such futuristic version. On the right is the next Cityrama bus design, without all the excesses of the Space Age:

(right image via)

Apparently quite a few of them were made, making them easy to spot in the 1950s Paris (these lucky Parisians!):

(image via)

Other fantastic bus conversions and promotional vehicles

And then there was another rocket-like incarnation of the original Citroen U55 chassis: TeleAvia promotional bus -

(images via)

"This was custom-bodied T55 designed by Philippe Charbonneaux with coachwork by Leffondré for the FRIGEAVIA/TELEAVIA home appliances brand (which a subsidiary of the SUD AVIATION company, which also made the Caravelle medium range jet, hence the rocket-like design)":

(image via)

This BIC promotional vehicle is also all curves and attractive shapes (would be nice to get more info about it):

Here are some other promotional bus-conversion vehicles, with "Hoover" design perhaps the most outrageous:

Have another look at the Citroen Cityrama bus masterpiece, and share the felling of pride and excitement of its driver:

(images via)

Article by Avi Abrams, Dark Roasted Blend.




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Anonymous useless knowledge said...

I think it's "Zazie dans le métro", not Zanzie :)

Anonymous Monkeychimp said...

I wonder if there are any of these buses left. It would be a shame if they were all scrapped!

Anonymous Dave said...

"Apparently none survive, which is a truly a shame. Imagine the tourist hit it would be today providing there was adequate air-conditioning for passengers inside that massive greenhouse. We wonder if it had air-conditioning originally? Perhaps its impracticality was the reason for its extinction."

From: [PDF]
SM 40th Anniversary

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bus is also visible (interior and exterior) in this Hindi movie:

Blogger Mario Rangel said...

Tuistic line bus Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the devil is Charlie Sheen doing driving a French bus?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the other special bodied truck under the bus were made for the Tour of France publicity caravan - a tradition which still sees outlandish promotional vehicles driving in a convoy 45 minutes in front of the race.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This bus is for sale


Blogger John Doe said...

How about this one?


Prepared for hostile conditions in alien planets ^_^

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would think atleast some of these promotional vehicles were designed for the Tour de France advertising caravan. The caravan of busses and cars promoting various brands drives in front of the cyclists during the stages. People gather on the sides of the roads well in advance and see the caravan when waiting for the cyclists.
Before rise of TV advertising in the 30's 40's, 50's and 60's advertisers used a lot of money to make the cars and busses. I bet they didn't ditch them after the Tours.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

They were on the streets of Paris, ramming spike and all, until at least 1970. Because my little 7-year-old self went on one.


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