With the 1980 Paris Motor show approaching and no new model to unveil, Citroën needed something to wow the crowds on its home turf.
Trevor Fiore – who followed Robert Opron as the head of Citroën Design for a short time – gave the go-ahead for an innovative concept starting from a blank sheet of paper. The final concept was named Karin, and it was nothing short of breathtaking.
It was designed around a three-seater interior layout where the driver sits in the middle, slightly ahead, so that he could have his wife on one side and his mistress on the other.
With its flush glass panels, partly covered rear wheels and its brown-tastic paint job, the Karin took ample inspiration from Gandini’s Lancia Sibilo, and simplified the idea to its purest form. Using radically straight geometry, it was built as a truncated pyramid pointing towards the rear, just above the passengers. With this extreme tumblehome, the pinheaded concept had a roof panel the size of an A3 sheet of paper.
Never mind academic beauty and proportions, give it wings and the Karin looks like an F-117 stealth fighter. The headlamps with triple projectors were reminiscent of the Citroën SM as well as the Alpine A310 on which Fiore also worked. The rear could be an early design mock-up for the Lotus Esprit.
Inside, the driver was faced with a clean dashboard and a long cantilever steering column at the end of which was mounted the IP. Following the ideas of the Citroën CX, the highly functional fascia has every control at the driver’s fingertips. It includes an inboard computer with a screen displaying information about the car and the road. Small pop-up computers were also integrated into the door panels, ahead of the grab handle. Finally, additional controls were mounted on each side of the pod so that the driver can adjust audio settings when listening to their Giorgio Moroder cassette.