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In 1972, French civil servant Pierre Tissier had an idea for a multi-wheeled vehicle based on the Citroën DS. With vans being cumbersome and large trucks too slow, he was seeking a high-speed car transporter to make deliveries from France to Spain. Utilizing Citroën’s front-wheel-drive DS chassis, he cut the DS right behind the B-pillar, added a low platform, and two more axles with Citroën’s famously smooth hydropneumatic suspension system and 10-inch wheels to keep the transporter bed as low as possible. The resulting vehicle weighed a massive two-and-a-half tons but still offered an ultra-smooth ride, capable of carrying one-and-a half tons.
After the success of his first multi-axle utility vehicle, Tissier founded Application des Procédés Tissier. He used what he had learned and designed a six-wheeled DS Break, or station wagon; this time by extending the body and then enclosing it to serve as a newspaper delivery van. These Loadrunners speedily transported newspapers across France overnight. Next came ambulances, then more car carriers—some had two-doors, some were four-door. Length and bed design differed, including two, three, and four rear axles. All used Citroën’s front-wheel drive and hydropneumatic suspension systems.
In 1974, Tissier’s idea stretched even further as the DS became the CX. Citroën’s CX Estate (Break in France, Safari in the UK), with its 10 in longer chassis and commensurate increased load capacity, was perfect for Tissier’s conversions. Two engine options were offered across the range; a Citroën turbodiesel 4-cylinder, returning 33 mpg, or a Citroën 2.5 liter fuel-injected 4-cylinder engine at roughly 20 mpg. Both came with the choice of either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission. They were known to glide across Europe for hours while cruising comfortably at over 100mph. More newspaper delivery vans followed, as did ambulances, limousines, hearses, and car haulers like the one seen here, although production in the 1980s was very limited.
These professional vehicles had an odd aesthetic, making one wonder how anyone could come up with such a vehicle. But Pierre Tissier’s motto was, “Nun Quam Ut Ceteri,” roughly translated as “I’ll do what others won’t,” which is certainly true!
Manufacturer: Base chassis: Citroën; conversion by Application des Procédés Tissier
Country of Origin: France
Drivetrain Configuration: Front-wheel drive
Engine: Water-cooled, 2.5-liter 4 cylinder turbodiesel with intercooler engine, 121 hp
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Top Speed: 100+ mph
Years of Production: 1974 - 1991 (CX)
Number Produced: Unknown
Original Cost: Unknown