Today no motorcycles, but ambulances

A BX ambulance. Of course
ER Classics Desktop 2022

Seen few other motorcycles this morning. An ambulance. And the red Duck from fellow villager Hans. I could not really imagine an 2CV as an ambulance, but a DS or XM? Or a BX?

Comfort for everything

Because of their unique suspension system, these cars had fantastic driving comfort and a phenomenal road holding. And those are things that speak for the benefit of all passengers. Many XM ambulances have been made. By different builders: Baboulin, Cimos, Collet, Gifa / Heuliez, Petit, Tissier and Rouzier.

Ambulance for short customers

The most basic way to turn an XM into an ambulance is to optimally use the load floor of a break. Cimos, a Slovenian company where in Citroën was a major shareholder, it approached that way. In patients with 1 meters 90 +, the back door could not have closed. At the other end of the spectrum, Tissier from Villeneuve le Roi built six-wheeled ambulances that can be found in 'Thunderbirds are Go!' could have figured. The inside length was a tight 260 cm and for many French people the inside height of 175 cm was just standing height. Tissier made the entire superstructure from plastic. That gave the impressive ambulances a limited torsional stiffness, but bearing in mind that Number 14's adagio 'hep every disadvantage se foordeel': the handling of the three-axle became even better.

From the makers

Gifa / Heuliez hit the chest with a USP, a 'unique selling point', something for which the French at the time undoubtedly had their own marketing cry in their own language. Heuliez built the original breaks Citroën. So they could work from the bare plate, and when their work was done, the whole could be immersed in the cataphoresis plunge pool. The entire structure was thus protected against rust, and that was a boost for the residual value of the car.

Also ordinary berlines

XMs were also used for 'seated patient transport' and the transport of paramedics. Normal berlines. Those were standard cars in a white coat and equipped with six-pointed blue crosses. And that was the only maintenance with the regular taxis for which the journey to the physiotherapist was not covered by the health insurance.

After most of the XM ambulances had disappeared from the street scene, they were lost Citroën they hegemony on patient and wounded transport. The C5 ambulance was a hit in all areas except sales. The converted Jumpers and Jumpy's were clearly upgraded vans. As a result of such developments, the ambulance providers partly moved to other brands. The chance that you will end up in a Mercedes-Benz ambulance as a bad luck bird is considerable.

Retired XM ambulances are still regularly offered on French sales sites. We already saw one, a diesel with only 79.000 km on the odometer, advertised for 1000 €. Usually they are 'buried' and used for some purpose. Imagine what a sensation you can do when you drive onto the campsite with a six-wheeled Tissier. Oh yes: The regular XMs are not expensive in their home country either. But when purchasing locally, make sure that there is something of a maintenance history and that the French are quite positive in the description of the condition of their offer.

But anyway: There are quite a few former ones Citroën ambulances ended up in the Netherlands. And a large part of that has become a camper.

Tissier has a fan club, by the way, and also built 'quick orderers' based on the XM.

One Comment

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  1. Nice story.

    The hydreaupneumatic spring system from Citroen was unprecedented in the 50 and was applied to the luxury models by various automobile manufacturers such as Rolls Royce, Mercedes, Maserati and Jaguar. And so also on the ambulance versions. For example, the extended version of the Mercedes 200 series (used by bodybuilders for ambulances) had on the rear axle on Citroen bulbs. Idem Citroen bulbs for the Renault espace and Master ambulances.

    Nonetheless Citroen now no more hydreaupneaumatic suspension and the luxury segment of Audi BMW and Mercedes has air suspension. The same applies to ambulances that are now hardly built on the basis of station wagons, but on the basis of vans with… yes… air suspension.

    Air suspension is optionally even penetrated to the middle class segment and can be ordered on, for example, the VW Passat.

    The ambulance it all started with, the DS ambulance, was made in the Netherlands by two manufacturers: Akkermans and Visser. In Belgium by Fisher and in Germany by Miesen. In contrast to the DS cabriolet (built by Chapron) of which there are now more than ever made new (1450 pieces), there are only a hundred of the estimated 20.000 DS ambulances. Happy to see on Citroen old-timer events and in films such as the Hell of '63, THE Davinci Code and Hibernatus by Louis de Funes, with all three different DS models in the ambulance version.

    We also organized a horn and siren concert at the ICCCR 2016 in Midachten, the trailer is available on YouTube.

    V Benschop
    Ambulance coordinator Citroen ID DS Club Netherlands

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