When Pierre Leclercq joined Citroën as head of design 18 months ago, it seemed to him like a homecoming – even though in more than 20 years of car design he had never worked at the company. In fact, he wasn’t even born in France, but in the Ardennes region of Belgium.
In Leclercq’s case, there was a lot of early family influence. Most of the miles he covered as a child were in Citroëns owned by his parents or grandparents, and although his family weren’t die-hard car enthusiasts, they certainly had a strong Citroën allegiance that rubbed off on young Pierre.
“We car designers dream of cars and draw them from our earliest days,” he says. “They represent the major experiences of our lives. The cars I’ve chosen here have all had a strong effect on what I believe is right in car design today…”
The first car Leclercq remembers is his mother’s red two-cylinder Citroën Dyane, bought in the 1970s when he was about six and kept for what seemed like “many years”. He bonded with that car and fondly remembers its simplicity and the many carefree trips, including riding along in the back, standing on the bench with his head in the air, holding onto the steel rods of the open fabric roof.
His father, the local doctor, often took the Dyane to house calls in winter, because its traction was so good. “There was a lot of snow in the Ardennes in those days,” recalls Leclercq. “My father knew the Dyane gave him access to every village.”