Citroen BX Classic Car

By:   Fedora Atjeh Fedora Atjeh   |   Oktober 03, 2017
Citroen BX
There was a time when Citroën was able to launch to the market an average sedan of original design, with hydropneumatic suspension and at the same time to sell it in more than 2.3 million units, like the Citroën BX. This month marks the 35th anniversary of this model.

Although few today are our roads, the Citroën BX marked the minds of a generation. And is that in 1982, the year of its release, the rest of the production exhibits anodyne and consensual designs. Citroën dares a model whose design should be that of a Volvo.

Citroën has a prestigious past, full of innovations (front-wheel drive, hydropneumatic suspension), of successful products like the 2CV and the legendary DS, and full of models with a design often breaker. Today, part of that prestigious history has been appropriated by DS and the spectacular designs fall on DS, while Citroën looks for its new identity with designs somewhat unconcerned. It was not always so.

On September 16, 1982, a wooden box suspended from the first floor of the Eiffel Tower began a slow descent towards the base of the monument. On the outside, just a message: "Here is the new Citroën". A week later, the mystery was revealed: the Citroën BX was presented to the press in the middle of a show of lights and pyrotechnics

Citroen BX

In 1982, the Renault 18 and the Peugeot 504 are still on the market, as well as models of uninspired design (which does not mean that it had no qualities or were relevant in the market) such as the Talbot Horizon and Seat Fura. In comparison, the Citroën BX was a spacecraft. Only the Ford Sierra, unveiled the same year, brings fresh air to the aesthetic panorama of the car.

While the Ford Sierra, with its more rounded and refined lines, is a forerunner of bio-design that prevailed in the 90s (perhaps because of that it aged better than the BX), the Citroën BX is at the culmination of more than a decade of wedge design, the famous wedge-shaped design.

Alfa Romeo Carabo, Maserati Boomerang, Lancia Stratos Zero, Lamborghini Countach or Maserati Khamsin are some of the models of series and concept cars that settled the wedge design and reneged on the sensual forms of the 60s. They are all models of very high range, yes, but only Citroën dared to launch a model with such a marked aesthetic in such a conservative segment. And he did it with a design for a Volvo.

Volvo Tundra

Volvo Tundra

In 1972, Volvo is made with the Dutch manufacturer DAF, specialist in small and compact models. Thus, with DAF, completes its range of 240 and 260 under with models that already have a presence in the market. Thus, in 1975 arrives the Volvo 343, that although it is sold like Volvo was a project of DAF.

The problem is that the 343 does not convince Volvo customers. To improve his image, Volvo asks Bertone for help. The Italian study is then responsible for the design and manufacture of the Volvo 262C. At that time, the first sword of Bertone is Marcello Gandini and the proposal of the study, the Tundra, clearly bears the stamp of Italian genius.

The Volvo Tundra is a wedge-style coupe wedge design. Predictably, Volvo rejects the proposal. And is that their models, in the 80's, have a brick design and the Tundra would not be perceived as a Volvo.

Shortly thereafter, Citroën launches the development of its new D-segment sedan. For the exterior design, it used a tactic very common in many brands at that time, especially in Peugeot and Citroën: putting in competition the internal design center of the brand and an exterior design center. This used to be Italian, Peugeot faced its teams to Pininfarina, whereas Citroën faced those of Bertone.

Marcello Gandini is not cut and decides to reuse the design of the Volvo Tundra. From coupe to a 5-door fastback saloon, a type of body very typical of Citroën. Finally, it is the design of Bertone that the brand adopts. The designers of the house were dedicated to polish and adapt it to the technical requirements of the car. And in 1982 the Citroën BX comes to light.

The model, in aesthetic terms, is a total break with the soft and clean forms of the Citroën GS and Citroën CX. The BX seems to have been sculpted with an ax. On board, the change is also total. The round shapes of the dashboards give way to taut and rectangular lines. Nevertheless, the BX retains two Citroën identity signs: the monobrazo steering wheel and the Cyclops eye instrument cluster.

Very Citroen Innovations and a Parts Lego

Citroen BX

The Citroën BX was to be a conquering car for Citroën, it had to attract new customers, but at the same time it could not neglect the usual clientele of the brand's saloons. And these had in the hydropneumatic suspension their hallmark.

The development of this suspension began in 1944, but it was not until 1954 that it reached the market. First timidly on the rear axle of the Citroën Traction Avant 15 hp and then already on all four wheels in the brilliant Citroën DS. This suspension was characterized by its high comfort, exceptional stability and grip on the asphalt. Quite simply, Citroën was 20 years ahead of the competition by getting what seemed impossible: a car to be comfortable and at the same time to cling to the road.

While Citroën retained the hydropneumatic suspension, many of the components of the car came from other models of the brand. In 1982, the French range of the BX consists of five petrol versions: base BX, BX 14 E, BX 14 RE, BX 16 RS and BX 16 TRS.

Despite acronyms that might seem to be evocative today, the access models equipped 62 and 72 hp engines inherited from the small Peugeot 104, while the two top models inaugurated XU engines that would encourage almost all cars in the group PSA in the 80's and part of the 90's.

Thus, the BX 16 equips a 4 cylinders 1,580 cc type XU of 90 CV associated to a manual change of 5 marches inherited from the Talbot Horizon. The diesel, type XUD, 1,900 cc and 90 hp arrived a year later.

The body of the Citroën BX was another of the innovations of the brand. The BX was one of the first cars to massively use composite materials. The bonnet, the tailgate, the C pillar liner and the ceiling finishes are fiberglass and polyester, these being between 20 and 30% lighter compared to similar steel parts. The bumpers are polypropylene and resistant without deforming to shocks up to 5 km / h.

With the recall of the Citroën GSA Familiar in 1986, Citroën is left without body break or station wagon below the Citroën CX break. The Citroën BX break comes in 1987. Manufactured by bodybuilder Heuliez, the car is 17 cm longer than the saloon and offers up to 1,800 liters of cargo volume.

BX GTI 16 and 16 valves

Citroen BX GTI

There is a Citroën BX for almost all needs: saloon, break, base model, petrol, turbo diesel, a version with all-wheel drive from 1989 (in saloon, saloon GTi and break), etc. It is such a versatile model that in Spain was police car for more than a decade and in France, was a favorite of taxi drivers. It only lacked a sports version, the BX GTI 16 (in reference to its buttress 16 valves). This came in 1987 and curiously did it the same year as the Peugeot 405 Mi16 and the Renault 21 2.0 liter turbo.

The Peugeot 405 Mi16 and the Renault 21 turbo were made with the segment (the R21 even became the Gendarmerie's quick intervention car), while the BX 16 valves were considered the ugly duckling of the three. However, the BX GTI 16 is the culmination of several sports versions of the BX.

In 1985, Citroën made the decision to participate in the Group B World Rally Championship with the BX 4TC. In marketing it seems logical to propose a sports version in the range in reference to the car of rally: the BX Sport. On the basis of the BX 19 GT, the designers add a body kit and the engine goes from 105 hp to 126 hp thanks to a preparation made by Danielson.

Initially, it should be a limited series of 2,500 units, but would remain in sales until the arrival of the BX GTi 16 and sold a total of 7,257 units. The BX GTI -a droughts- arrived in 1985, meanwhile, and despite a 125 hp engine was considered worse than the BX Sport.

Citroen BX Sport

The Citroën BX, thanks to its aerodynamics, hydropneumatic suspension and light weight, weighed just over 1,000 kg, had a strong sporting potential and could accept more powerful engines. Thus, in 1987 finally came the sporty version that deserved: the BX GTI 16 valves.

It equipped the same engine as the Peugeot 405 Mi16, that is to say, the 1.9 liters with cylinder head of 4 valves per cylinder of 160 CV. With a weight of 1,070 kg, the BX GTI 16 valves was a fast car (0 to 100 km / h in 8.2 s and 218 km / h of maximum speed). In front, the most up-to-date and attractive lines of the Peugeot 405 Mi16 - and great tuning of its chassis - as well as the 175 hp Renault 21 Turbo made it difficult to BX.

Of the BX GTi 16 valves were manufactured between July of 1987 and March of 1989 only 7,427 units. From April 1989 to 1992, 8,013 units of the Citroën BX 16 valves were manufactured, since with the restyling of the BX (which gave way to a more current and consensual interior) changed its name and lost the rally-style rear wing. By the way, the models made from the summer of 1992 equip a catalyst that lowers the power to 148 hp.

The Citroën BX, with so many versions available (one of the reasons for its success) is one of the icons of the 80's in Europe and Spain. And it was that 222,325 units were manufactured at the Citroën factory in Vigo between 1983 and 1992. In addition, Citroën BX was the model with which Vigo's total production reached two million units. To date, they have already manufactured more than 13 million cars since the factory opened in 1958.

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