Unusual Vehicles is a segment that looks into the history of an unconventional motor to see how it was designed. Concept cars have been a testing ground for some of the most outlandish designs in the industry. The Citroen Karin embraced that mentality, coming with a pyramid shaped body. It had a number of unorthodox features that made it one of the most striking concept cars of all time.
Developed by head of design at Citroen, Trevor Fiore, the Karin expanded on similar concepts, such as the Aston Martin Bulldog. The Karin was created as a design exercise and embraced the concept of a sharp-edged image. The creation of the Karin came about when Citroen didn’t have a car to show for the 1980 Paris Motor Show. This ran the risk of turning away shareholders, so Fiore opted to create a pyramid-shaped coupe in time for the show.
The roof of the Karin was the size of an A3 sheet of paper, and that was only the first of many unique features. The butterfly doors gave the Karin a futuristic appearance that carried over to the interior. It had a three-seat layout, with the driver’s seat positioned centrally and the passenger seats on either side. The Karin also contained a lot of buttons, granting quick access to the functions. There were also buttons on the door panels and built-in monitors.
With a 4-cylinder engine, front wheel drive and hydropneumatic suspension, the Karin was an impressive concept vehicle that never went into production. However, it could be considered an early preview of future models like the Citroen XM. In 1981, the company also developed an MPV version called the Citroen Xenia.
The Karin was an example of a wedge-shaped car that had been popular for many years. It could be said that the Karin had been developed too late to capitalise on a phenomenon that had been started by cars like the Lancia Stratos Zero and Jaguar Ascot. Nevertheless, it was an influential car that has its place in history.