The Ten Weirdest French Cars Ever Made

Nobody does weird cars like the French.

They were selling oddballs like the fantastic Citroën C6 up until just two years ago, so no wonder they have plenty of weird cars in their past as well to choose from.


10.) Citroën C4 Cactus

The Ten Weirdest French Cars Ever Made

What would remain a concept car anywhere else usually makes it into production in France. That's also why PSA is on the edge financially, but who cares as long as they sell a family car that's light and squashy?

Suggested By: RazoE, Photo Credit: AP Images


9.) Peugeot 1007

The Ten Weirdest French Cars Ever Made

A small car with a sliding door on the passenger side? Peugeot lost $21,293 on each of the 123,000 units they managed to sell between 2004 and 2009. Alex87f:

They cost about 30% more and weighed about 700lbs more than a similarly engined contemporary 206, which was better looking, more enjoyable to drive, and offered more interior space.

Suggested By: Braking Bad, Photo Credit: M 93


8.) Renault Clio V6

The Ten Weirdest French Cars Ever Made

The older Renault 5 Sport with its turbo rear-drive setup was crazy, but so was everything else in the eighties.

Turning the Clio into a mid-engined widow maker twenty years later was something no bean counter could see coming.

Suggested By: DSC Off, Photo Credit: Brian Snelson


7.) Matra Murena

The Ten Weirdest French Cars Ever Made

It has three seats next to each other, but the scariest thing about Matra's last sports car is that I could totally afford to buy one. DownTheLiffeyOnADonut:

Matra Murena, last of the Matra three seaters. I nearly bought one of these, but ended up getting an X1/9 instead because I (hilariously) thought it would be less trouble.

Suggested By: DownTheLiffeyOnADonut, Photo Credit: T N


6.) Panhard CD

The Ten Weirdest French Cars Ever Made

The CD was developed to be a testbed for the company's air-cooled flat-two and streamlined fiberglass bodies, but it also won the 'Index of Performace' class at the 1962 24 Hours of Le Mans, so they put it into limited production.

92 were made before Citroën bought up the rest of Panhard.

Suggested By: $kaycog, Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


5.) Citroën 2CV Safari

The Ten Weirdest French Cars Ever Made

If you want four-wheel drive, you need a dual engine setup. Those are the rules in France. Fl1ngstam:

4WD, due to having a second engine in the back. Is this the only twin-engined car made available to the public (and not just the output of a fevered individual or prototyping division)? Note the fuel tank positioned under the front seats, with the filler cap poking through the driver's (suicide!) door.

Suggested By: Fl1ngstam, Photo Credit: Citroën


4.) Renault Twizy

The Ten Weirdest French Cars Ever Made

For quite a while, I thought the Renault Twizy was a joke, but the last time I was in London, I've seen two in action. If these actually sell, consider my mind blown.

Suggested By: Doctor-G-and-the-wagen, Photo Credit: joseanmomo


3.) Renault Avantime

The Ten Weirdest French Cars Ever Made

An MPV coupe with a clever door mechanism made by the same people who gave Jackie Stewart a Formula-1 championship. The Avantime was Matra's last car.

Suggested By: MixItUp, Photo Credit: Conrad Longmore


2.) Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot's Fardier

The Ten Weirdest French Cars Ever Made

Talk about nose heavy! Patrick Frawley:

For its time, Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot's Fardier was totally bizarre. It was a big, ungainly three-wheeler. Propulsion was by a steam-fed piston-and-ratchet arrangement with the steam kettle hanging off the front. Handling balance was terrible, and reported reliability makes mid-Seventies Lucas components look great in comparison.

All this in 1771 - five years before the Declaration of Independence.

Beyond weird - and beyond revolutionary.

Suggested By: Patrick Frawley, Photo Credit: Wikipedia


1.) Michelin PLR

Test mules are usually pretty weird, but Michelin's dual Chevy V8 powered ten-wheeled monster DS from 1972 is beyond where no man has gone before.

The French built it to test truck tires, and so while one of the 350 cubic inch engines sent their power to the rear three axles, the other was rolling the mid-mounted test subject. The ten-ton laboratory could reach speeds up to 100 mph.

Suggested By: Autolegend86

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Top Photo Credit: Michelin