The Bus of the Future, of the Past

It looks like something out of a Flash Gordon movie or a feature of a Buck Rogers outer-space adventure. But no, the Citroen U55 Cityrama Currus bus is the stuff of fact and not science-fiction. It is also the stuff of the past: this hyper-futuristic double-decker bus was constructed by French coachbuilder Currus in 1950 for tour operator Groupe Cityrama. Cruising through the scenic boulevards of Paris, it served as a tour bus of the City of Love, where Parisian onlookers would routinely stare at its outrageous figure and fear that they had accidentally stepped through a time portal, or that an alien invasion was imminent.

Reportedly, the vehicle was built atop the chassis of a Citroen U55 truck. It is almost entirely covered in wrap-around glass, including the upper-deck roof, which would be slid away on a fine summer’s day. It has a pointed tip protruding from its forehead, the practical use of which is debatable at best. Its strikingly unorthodox design earned it a place in several movies of the era, though sadly none of them were of the sci-fi genre: it can be seen in Louis Malle’s 1960 comedy satire “Zazie Dans Le Métro,” and then in Gérard Oury’s 1965 comedy “Le Corniaud.”

Check out further images of the bus below, and feel intense jealousy for those who, 60 years ago, got the chance to ride in this space-age automobile.

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