Cityrama was already trying to make a name for itself as a tourism company in Paris in the 1950s. To offer the best tours possible and to give itself a unique look, the company commissioned a coachbuilder to produce a range of fabulous jet-age coaches.
Cityrama therefore bought a handful of Citroën 55s and gave them to Currus, a local coachbuilder. The design brief called for a double-decker bus that uses as much glass as possible and looks like nothing else on the road. And indeed, the results were spectacular.
As reported by YouTube’s The Tim Traveler in a video posted in March (just below), the buses were an instant hit. They made Cityrama one of Paris’s largest tourism companies and ran until the last one shut down in the early ’80s. However, with only a handful ever made, times have not been kind to these buses.
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It was feared that all had been lost in the sands of time. Fortunately, however, the above video was acted upon and the (supposedly) last existing 1956 Cityrama Currus Citroën 55 has now been found.
It is in fairly rough condition as most of the glass is missing, extensive rusting throughout the body and other issues. The good news, however, is that the engine is running and the bus has been driven from its secret storage location to be paraded at a car show in France this summer (as well as the Le Mans Classics weekend), attended by the host of The Tim Traveller.
The news gets even better because not only did the broadcaster get a tour of the bus, but they also spoke to the man who will be overseeing the restoration of this spectacular vehicle.
Normandy Classics’ Philippe Debasly says the restoration will completely tear down the bus, sandblast it and rebuild any structures that were too rotten to save. The bodywork is then cared for, the mechanics rebuilt and the interior put back in order.
Overall, Debasly says the restoration process will take about four years and will be funded by the Association Normande d’Anciens Utilitaires, a group of classic vehicle enthusiasts with a focus on utility vehicles who now own the vehicle. If this story of rediscovery has inspired you, they would be only too happy to accept donations from enthusiasts around the world to fund the restoration, which looks like it’s going to be quite expensive.