pluie-riel, and I’ve finished second year!

I had my last exam today. Law. At 9am. I woke up at 5 in the morning thinking it was mid afternoon, so bright was it outside, and ended up dragging my carcass to the university through a predictably soggy morning.

It’s over now, which ought to mean I’m now finished with my second year of university! A nice summer lies ahead, and there will be nothing to think about but cars.

And considering the day became sunny briefly before spitting again, I knew which car I wanted to discuss.

The Car – Citroën C3 Pluriel

Let’s get things straight, to begin with. I love all cars. Adore them – even the really pathetic ones, like the Austin Maestro or the Allegro, and especially good cars that were victims of fate, like the Edsel or the Rover SD1. There are two cars I hate, though – the first is the original VolksWagen Beetle, or Garbus to the Americans. The second is the Citroën 2CV.

I could delve into why I hate those now, but I have models of them, so I’ll save it for a later date. The reason I bring up the 2CV, though, is because our car today, the Citroën C3 Pluriel, could, as some would argue, pay homage to this supposed “classique”.

My partner, who is a great fan of the Citroën Saxo because he’s Slavic, will perhaps be mortified, if he is reading this, to learn that the venerable Saxo was replaced by the C3 in 2002, Citroën’s new supermini.

It was mechanically similar to those terrible contemporary Peugeots, which is probably why it looks so lame. (Peugeot 1007, 206, 207…) It would be 2009 before the car started looking OK-ish.

But the car we’re going to talk about in particular is the Pluriel variant that was introduced in 2003 – which is a kind of drop-top/partial convertible thing.

In between the two roof bars was a folding fabric roof, and in order to make the thing a convertible, first you had to remove the roof, then take out the roof bars. The problem is, the roof bars had nowhere to go – except the rear seats. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t think my children would enjoy travelling with a structural component of the vehicle on their laps.

So, you have to leave the roof pieces behind. Meaning, if you live in Britain, you ought to remember your rain coats – because when you finally get to Yorkshire Wildlife Park and suddenly remember that it hasn’t stopped raining there since the 8th Century, the fact that Citroën made it so you couldn’t bring the roof with you will make it feel as though you’ve been the victim of a very cruel prank. I bet they didn’t even make the inside waterproof.

Is it any coincidence that “Pluriel” is similar to the French “Pluie”, for rain? Top Gear magazine named it as one of the worst cars of the last 20 years.

The Model

Another Majorette, friends, as is the French way, and rather cleverly, they’ve reminded us that it is probably a good idea to leave the roof bars attached.

Majorettes have always been contemporaneously produced, and we can feel the noughties’ effects on the diecast car industry taking hold. Majorette at some point began their transition into poorer quality models, and the C3 was a victim. The floaty suspension is still there, but isn’t particularly effective, and is felt more in the front wheels than the rear.

Some headlight and tail light graphics have been applied, and not much else. Fortunately we have seen an improvement in modern Majorette models – they have stuck with their heritage.

Other than that, with logos and branding applied, and a very detailed interior, the model still doesn’t dissapoint. I remember getting it in a multi-pack when I was younger (lord knows I won’t have picked it up as a single!) With comparison to the real thing, the casting is astonishingly accurate, right down to the washer pumps and the placement of the indicator lamps.

I should probably repaint his roof-bars at some point. After all, they’re one of the most useful (optional) parts of the car..


Citroën C3 Pluriel Facts

  • Even with the roof up, the leaks meant the passengers would get wet.
  • Citroën called it “a car for all seasons” or five cars in one – a hatchback (everything in place), a sunroof saloon (fabric roof opened), a partial convertible (fabric roof removed), a full convertible (leave half the car behind), and a pickup (fold the rear seats to form a flat bed in the back)
  • It was awarded a 4 star Euro NCAP rating.
  • I can’t really think of much else to say.

Featured image: Citroen C3 Pluriel 1.4i 2006 by Dyanists. Flickr. original




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