Talking B____X

Tell us about life with your BX, or indeed life in general!
rob-81
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Post by rob-81 » Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:06 pm

Very nice car Phil. The XM hatch is a very striking car. I used to have an estate with the TCT engine and an auto box (is yours manaul?). It was a fantastic car and great engine. It suits the XM much better than it suited my old Activa. Even with an auto, the extra weight of the estate, a full load (including 250kg of skate) and a speeding ticket for 154 km/h on autoroute, it managed 30mpg on a 2000 mike drive through France. It always felt composed, supremely comfortable and refiened. It was little electrical niggles and the urban fuel consumtion that put me off in the end. I do miss it though.
19 TGD estate
17 TZD Turbo hatch

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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:23 pm

Yes it's a manual and I'm already seeing improvements in urban economy with careful use of gears and a light right foot.

Mind you, had it up a very respectable speed too, today - :wink:
• 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v
• COMING SOON... 1998 Citroen Xantia 2.0 16v auto Exclusive

rob-81
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Post by rob-81 » Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:37 pm

Yes, they go very well when needed. I so wish I'd bought a manual. The constant worry about the gearbox failing and the blunted economy and performance of the auto was frustrating. Beautiful cars though and I'm very envious.
19 TGD estate
17 TZD Turbo hatch

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toddao
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Post by toddao » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:14 pm

Looks very nice Phil - well photographed too. How about an interior shot? What is the location by the way?
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this yellow writing is really hard to read

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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:19 pm

Thanks - I was testing out a new camera: Pentax K100D. Apart from everything else, it's got a great lens in my opinion.

Hylands House in Chelmsford: Hylands Park is the venue for the 'V' Festival by the way.

I'll do some interior shots - it was too sunny to get any good ones - I'll wait for the light to be less fierce meaning less contrast. Mind you it's snowing again now. :(
• 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v
• COMING SOON... 1998 Citroen Xantia 2.0 16v auto Exclusive

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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:19 pm

The BX is back!

Picked up the GTi today from the bodyshop. They did a good job on the whole and I'm very pleased. Drove back and realised straightaway why I love the BX.

Image

Image
• 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v
• COMING SOON... 1998 Citroen Xantia 2.0 16v auto Exclusive

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mat_fenwick
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Post by mat_fenwick » Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:31 pm

Nice one; is that a new door or the old one pushed out?
I know what you mean about getting back into it - mine has been off the road for the last 6 weeks. I got back into it last weekend, just to shift it out of the way so I could dig a trench, and really enjoyed driving it! Bizarrely I even noticed (and enjoyed!) its unique smell inside...
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1993 1.9 TZD Turbo Estate
2006 Renault Kangoo
1996 3.9 V8 Discovery
1993 VW LT35 campervan
1985 Hyundai Stellar V8
2004 MINI Cooper (hers)

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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:45 pm

That door used to be this:

Image
• 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v
• COMING SOON... 1998 Citroen Xantia 2.0 16v auto Exclusive

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Post by Philip Chidlow » Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:21 pm

Seeing as it's now been printed in the Citroenian, I thought, for the benefit of the non-CCC BX fans out there, I'd post the small feature I did for the March Issue. Pics to follow if I can find the time....

Heuliez and the BX


When the Citroën BX was conceived, no 'break', or estate model was envisaged (in fact if it had been, the saloon may well have been different to look at - most notably in roof line, rear door form and the angle of the 'C' pillar - but I digress). The reason for this was largely down to Citroën's prevalent dire financial state and limited production capacity.

The BX had been received well and sales were strong, so in late 1983 Citroën teamed up with Heuliez - a company down in the SW of France, in a place called Cerizay - with a view to developing and manufacturing an estate version of the new car. Not the first time these two companies had worked together (on the Visa Chrono, Mille Pistes 4x4 and convertible) this new project was, however their largest to date.

Citroën insisted that most of the components of the saloon be retained - importantly the rear doors - which limited the options considerably. However, Heuliez, over the coming year designed and demonstrated the new BX estate which was 16 cm longer and 7 cm taller than the hatchback saloon and had about double the cubic capacity in the rear.

The first BX breaks were sold in 1985 and continued in production until the introduction of the (Heuliez-built) Xantia estate in 1994. Along with the XM estate this proved a rich vein for the company, which since 1985 produced over 450,000 cars (including the Peugeot 205 T16 and Opel/Vauxhall Tigra amongst others).

Heuliez
Heuliez was founded in 1920 by Adolphe Heuliez and quickly moved on from manufacturing horse-drawn carts (acknowledged even now in their corporate logo). The Peugeot 177B was the first car produced by them. Selling off a bus/coach business allowed the company to grow as a provider of commissioned range-extensions for all the major French car makers. But recently projects such as the folding roof for the Peugeot 'cc' cars, the innovative rear seats of the Renault Modus and a fair few still-born developments - combined with a distinct lack of work from Citroën - has plunged the company into major trouble. In October 2007 protection from creditors under French law was obtained. Since then Heuliez has put its efforts behind developing and getting to market its own electric vehicles. Indian investors bought 60% of the firm in 2008. And then the French government announced plans to invest €10 million in Heuliez but as yet a deal has not been struck. As we enter a new decade, the company's viability remains in doubt.

So, let's rewind the clock back to the early 80's…
Heuliez was on a high, with a brand new production line at Cerizay producing the BX as well as other projects - including the ill-starred BX4TC Group B rally car - strengthening their position as one of the principle suppliers of bespoke model variants to La Grand Trois: Citroën, Peugeot and Renault. In total, 186,827 BX 'breaks' were produced in nine years (nearly a tenth of all BX production for much of that time). This resulted in some special editions and options, for example: two rear-facing child seats "l'option banquette enfants", a commercial version or two (including a boarded-out van and something called the Entreprise), as well as the Buffalo and Evasion 'luxury' models. Then there were the ambulances and other specialist low-volume versions. All in all, Citroën seemed to have an ideal partner, not just for production, but for development.

What if?..
Citroën, as part of PSA, and thanks to the rapid success of the BX, had begun to climb out of the near bankruptcy of the late 70's and early 80's. Buoyed up by a growing European economy, PSA started to plan for the future. The BX range was instrumental in sustaining Citroën at this time, enabling future expansion of the range and the development of new models. Citroën themselves must have done some in-house studies of BX variants, and this must be considered elsewhere, but essentially it was Heuliez that seems to have lead the way in proposing and prototyping BX derivatives. First, in 1986 the BX Dyana was displayed at the Salon de Paris. This was, along the lines of the Volvo 480ES, Lancia HPE and Honda Aerodeck, presented as a three door estate. With it's very long rear side glass and Webasto roof it was certainly bold, but it probably suffices to say it didn't make production.

That same year the Buffalo was launched, which was a fairly standard 'break' but for its leather interior with a smattering of wood. Later a more appealing variation was proposed: The Cottage. But the sun was setting on the BX as a leading model and this oddly-named project seems to have faded away with few being made.

So what else failed to make to showrooms? First there was the BX Coupé: although rather tastily derived from the standard hatchback, it is difficult to see how Citroën could have made it work commercially: the coupé market was - and is - peculiarly sensitive and the BX didn't on the face of it have the 'credentials' for acceptance. It is tempting to imagine that had it been further refined and put into limited production, mated to the contemporary BX Sport's (and later GTi and 16v's) powertrain, it would have made a fantastic car. It could have even spawned a convertible - stranger things have happened: but it was not to be.

Then we come to a vehicle, shown in 1985, that echoed the new, Matra-built Renault Espace (launched 1984). The Espace was originally intended to be sold as a Talbot, and to be a replacement for the Rancho. In 1978, Chrysler UK and Simca were sold to PSA, and the embryonic Espace project was given to Matra. PSA (after realising the project wasn't going to conveniently die) decided that the Espace was too expensive and too risky a design to put into production. Matra took their idea to Renault and the rest, as they say, is history. There might have been some who doubted the wisdom of this decision - certainly within Heuliez (who can be forgiven for wanting to show Matra their mettle too) - and so the BX Monospace was born. Essentially it was to be an Espace rival - a functional if less than pretty, seven seat addition to the hydropneumatically suspended BX range. It's an attractive thought to us BXers, especially those who have wanted better headroom in the rear of the hatchback! There's little doubt the BX Monospace could have taken significant market share from Renault - especially in diesel form - but whether that would have actually been commercially viable is another matter (maybe the strength of the BX design was also its weakness in that the 'People Carrier' market, given the choice would probably have chosen conventionally suspended car). Much in the same way as the Espace did, it is possible that the BX Monospace could have continued - face-lifted and improved - well beyond the end of the 'standard' BX's production, maybe inheriting the Xantia's floorpan and drivetrain, but the BX moniker would have been long discarded no-doubt. Ah well, what might've been… In the end though, PSA was not ready to accept this new interpretation of the car and seemed to blithely ignore the trend as the Espace and it's imitators grew in popularity. Eventually, panicked into a response the Synergie/806/Ulysse/Zeta was rushed into production for launch in 1994. It seems now, with the massive success of the Xsara Picasso, Citroën/PSA have finally made up lost ground.

A couple more BX oddities to consider: The BX Surlévé - an estate with a taller, part-glazed roof, and the 4x4 Orignal, which had a very tasty interior. Neither of these made production but, as with some of the others mentioned above were, as recently as the late 90's I think, held in Heuliez's own Conservatoire. Now there's a place I'd like to have visited! Sadly, however, I doubt much remains of the Heuliez BX prototypes… but I did find a (rather sad) picture of an unearthed Coupé… Does anyone else know of a surviving project?

I would like to acknowledge André Le Roux's excellent website: www.leroux.andre.free.fr and also www.bxworld.net (Alexandre Martin).
• 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v
• COMING SOON... 1998 Citroen Xantia 2.0 16v auto Exclusive

scarecrow

Post by scarecrow » Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:19 pm

I was loving the XM and thinking that's the car I want, and then I saw the BX and now I want both! The BX looks fantastic, like a brand new car.

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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:32 pm

Oh thanks! Actually it's far from looking like a new car up close. Especially the bonnet and roof: the paint's gone flat on those, but she scrubs up well! Not bad considering the mileage and the fact she's our daily hack!
• 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v
• COMING SOON... 1998 Citroen Xantia 2.0 16v auto Exclusive

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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:33 pm

So, life has a habit of turning up the unexpected...

What about this:

The flight's booked and arrangements made. I'm picking up another XM. From near Geneva, 650 miles away from my front door…

It's an XM 2.0CT manual (again!) saloon. UK registered etc. as advertised in the CCC magazine. Suffice to say it seems a good one (T&T end of April though) and with quite a few minutes spent on the phone with the owner I feel fairly confident...

BUT (I hear you ask) you're getting another XM? What about the BX???

Well, chaps, it's a case of: whichever is XM 'floats my boat' - and I suppose what I'm saying is, whichever is the best; I keep. The other goes. I have a feeling I will keep the red one as, on the evidence I have, it ticks a few boxes more than the green one, but we'll see. I certainly would NOT be in the habit of going to collect a car from someone gratis, (even though it involves travelling a lot) and selling it on regardless. OK if I keep the red one and the green one fetches a reasonable amount, any 'profit' would go into covering the cost of collecting the car, doing the essential work like cam belt, aux belt etc, taxing and testing etc.

Before the XM decision is made both cars are going for an up-on-the-ramps inspection. And of course I will have driven both by then quite a few miles :-)

Image

Oh,

The BX ain't going anywhere...
• 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v
• COMING SOON... 1998 Citroen Xantia 2.0 16v auto Exclusive

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toddao
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Post by toddao » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:07 am

That picture certainly makes it look like a nice car Phil. When are you heading off then on the XMagon? By the time you've sampled a few 'Vin rouges' on the way back, you'll probably have a similar hue to the car! :D
Todd


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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Mon Mar 01, 2010 8:27 am

The 15th March, drive back on the 17th, having spent some time taking the air and exploring Mont Blanc. Also, I won't be drinking - as I'll be driving... [-X :wink:
• 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v
• COMING SOON... 1998 Citroen Xantia 2.0 16v auto Exclusive

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Philip Chidlow
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Post by Philip Chidlow » Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:37 pm

Image

700 miles without a hitch. 31 mpg door to door with much spent sitting at 80 on motorways or crawling along in roadworks/weaving through French towns.

A treat. What a consummate cruiser... The low pressure CT turbo gives huge torquey benfits: pulls well from 2000 rpm and on the motorway there's no need to swap cogs as often as you might think. Had it up to 100 mph too, with no worries. 8-[

BUT

Rather upsettingly, I came home to my green Exclusive. And well, despite the better provenance and indeed the fact it's actually on the face of it a better bet the red car doesn't have the 'turn back to look at it while walking away' X factor. I loved driving it and I thought it did remarkably well. There are no real issues with it - certainly nothing that would need to cause undue concern - and the interior is VERY good. The history is all there and the car pulls like a train. No: Head says KEEP IT. But: Heart says: Keep your sexy green one and FIND THE RED XM A GOOD HOME. I hate to do this in a way as it suggests I've cynically exploited the generosity of others. But - it is important to recognise - this car was worth zilch, sitting in the Alps with no prospect of returning to the UK before the tax/MOT ran out and I did in fact leave it a couple of days after phoning around to see if anyone else wanted it... (apart from the fact it was in the CCC magazine too), so as I have brought it back to the UK, I feel I might actually have saved it from an otherwise bleak future. But enough of salving my conscious!

If anyone's interested I'm only after enough to cover what it cost me to collect/cover/insure/fuel (£347) plus what I think I need to sort a couple of jobbies out on the green XM. So any offers around the £500 mark? It's taxed until the end of April and MOT'd until 23rd April, but all indications are that it's a good 'un and shouldn't need anything doing. The car's done 132k miles. There's a pretty comprehensive SH, the body is in EXCELLENT shape, the tyres are very good Nokian all-weather jobbies, just about everything (apart from the radio*) works as it should (although the boot lock's a bit reluctant to follow the lead of the central locking) and there are some extras such as a Haynes manual, some XM literature, a bike rack/tow bar with electrics and a spare battery - important for alpine use. Oh, and the air con works. Niggles: ABS light stayed on for the first bit of the trip but has since gone out. Turning the ignition off and on again cured it, so it seemed. The driver's electric mirror is a bit temperamental: but once set I didn't need to do it again! The accumulator clicks a little too frequently, so might need regassing. One of the wheels feels a little out of balance at 119-126 kmph. Things to do: lubricate the clutch cable and consider a cam belt change (I had my green XM's done - including aux belt and an oil/filter change for £170 cash locally) soon.

*(Radio: It's a coding issue: owner disconnected battery etc... I have the code so might - with the help of the radio manual I have for the other XM - be able to sort it).

On the BIG UPSIDE: Recent new cluch. Recent OE exhaust fitted by Citroen. :shock: £££s. Excellent tyres with more tread than reasonable to expect, and recent new windscreen.

BUT what is important is that I can assure the owners that this car HAS gone to a good home. Please let me know if you want to take advantage of this spectacular car.
• 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v
• COMING SOON... 1998 Citroen Xantia 2.0 16v auto Exclusive