"The estate" - the best car I've ever owned

Tell us about life with your BX, or indeed life in general!
User avatar
Kitch
Over 2k
Posts: 6194
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2005 9:36 pm
Location: Fareham, Hants
x 48

"The estate" - the best car I've ever owned

Post by Kitch » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:29 pm

Well although I technically no longer own it, I do know that if the current owner decides to get shot of it as its in the way (which it really isn't!) I'll not let it go for scrap, so it's future is at least secure. If my new place offers more room than I currently have, I'll hopefully find a way to re-home the beast.

Not a blog as such, more a story and progress on the best BX, or in fact best car I've ever owned.
Cast back to 2004. In June I'd just picked up my 16v, after a long time coming! The following July I picked up an AX GT project car. Then, in August myself and Si (formally Amazon Activa of this forum) decided that what we needed was a cheap diesel runaround to share, and save ourselves some money on a part time basis....one month on, one off etc.

My parent's house would frequently look like a Citroen dumping ground:

Image

The 16v and the Xantia Activa which myself and Si owned respectively were costing alot to run, it we decided it would be nice to be able to save money, while driving a car we didn't really need to worry about. It didn't matter where we parked it at night, or if it picked up a ding. It was a tool, and tool's are cool!

The beast itself was a 1989 19RD estate with the later type XUD9 engine, non turbo. It had covered 172k miles which at the time we thought was high, but we had no idea just how easily this thing would tackle the miles. The guy we acquired it from FOR FREE! had owned it from new and covered all the miles himself in and around Sheffield. It came with what is probably the sweetest sounding and well maintained XUD lump I've ever heard:

Image

I liked the car so much I treated it to the Speedlines I had (foolishly) removed from my own 16v:

Image
Image

I also fitted the car with computer controlled Activa suspension from a Xantia, to reduce roll to les than one degree:

Image

(it wasn't just a badge)

Next, in December '04 I fitted leather to my 16v and as a result my original Monza interior was going spare:

Image

We also rather brutishly fitted some In Car Entertainment with some Alpine speakers that cost 100% more than the car (just assume the car cost a quid!)

Image

For the next year or so the car did indeed provide the transport we had hoped, and also undertook many tasks including:

Image
Getting cars that are supposed to be bomb-proof to start

Image
Bringing an engine, a gearbox, and interior, a cylinder head and some suspension legs back from brum in the boot while achieving 53mpg:

Image
Provided support as a back-up vehicle to the valver at pod (which ironically it did actually need!)

And got me tugged by the fuzz and into all sorts of nitty gritty law issues with this 'trailer':
Image
Image

In winter 2005, Si travelled to France to do skiing or some shit like that, and the MOT expired on the estate. Fancying a change and a derv that I could call my own (as we shared the estate), I bought a Xantia TD to replace it with....which was rubbish.

In 2006 I MOT'd the estate, having fitted new rear calipers and discs/pads, welding up the A-Pillar so the drivers door didn't fall off when you opened it (in front of lots of people at West Quay). Due to the money I pumped into it, I kept the car until my AX GT was returned to me by a girlfriend I had broken up with....seems the car I'd given her reminded her of me!
Si returned and took full ownership of the estate, paying me for the MOT and some tax. I ran the AX GT around before selling it in order to....can't remember what, think it was a lack of space or some such. By now the estate had had the Activa system removed and had been fitted with Teves ABS and some spankly new alloys that were found in a tip:

Image

The car was also involved in a run-in with a BMW 5-series in Southampton. The BMW came off very badly as he tried to cut across the nearside of my car, on the outer lane of a roundabout! The estate faired pretty well:

Image
Image

Si then went one better and drove the car into the back of a Land Rover Freelander at around 10mph. He bent the front panel, smashed the lights, cracked the bonnet and generally caused a headache for the car. He then went to France and left the car in the barn it now resides, but only for 8months this time.

On his return, we ventured to the barn at 11pm, fairly drunk and armed with a fresh battery. The aim? The estate has NEVER failed to start on the first turn of the key in our ownership. Can it do the same after 8months in the cold??


It did!!

Image
Its not running there, but you get the idea

Si decided to go and buy something silly for a while, a Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo. Nice to drive, dull as beige. In this time I needed the car and it was lent to me. We returned the car to the road with advisorys on seat belts in the rear, headlamp aim (due to crash) and a side lamp bulb!
In this time, it hit the jackpot, in Portsmouth one night:

Image

It was only later that night I found I'd managed to be driving around with no coolant AND oil (reading on the dipstick). A new dumb record for me!

Then Nat (my girlfriend) and I had planned to go away for New Years to some remote part of Devon/Cornwall. I had lined up the Rover Coupe I had at the time to get us tehre and back, but it K-Series'd on me and I had to call the estate into service once more, now with a VERY tired clutch and release bearing that sounded like a can full of ball bearings with the clutch up (still does!) To put the car into reverse required switching it off, then on again.
It did the trip without fail, including trail by 1 in 4 hills, floods, sheep and Bridport:

Image
Image

It also got us over Exmoor:

Image

Although wearing it's spangley new ZX Avantage wheel trims and wheels with 175 (yes, that's a uber wide 175!) section tyres, the car was looking tired. The front end looked like it had been chinned, there was a hole in the N/S/R quarter half a foot across, the door was dropping again and rust was setting in on the front wings and drivers door. God knows what it's like underneath!
Sadly, Si retired the estate to the barn on the expiry of the MOT and the purchase of his new Xsara VTS, which has since departed. This was two years ago.

User avatar
Kitch
Over 2k
Posts: 6194
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2005 9:36 pm
Location: Fareham, Hants
x 48

Post by Kitch » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:46 pm

Fast forward to 2009!!!

We're in recession, I've moved jobs again. Si is now thin and owns an Alfa 156GTA, for which I hate him.
I'm expecting twins and have moved into my own place with my girlfriend. I am in fact due to move into my second place!

The estate still lays dormant in the barn , untouched for over 2 years. NO one has even walked near the barn, let alone seen the car.

However....I take the decision to sell my leather interior from my 16v, leaving it looking like this:

Image

Now seeing as I was commuting in the valver at this time, this wasn't an ideal driving layout. I needed my Monza back, and in turn needed to source the estate an interior. This was made possible by the generousity of the Bandit, although I've still to collect the interior! :oops:

I woke the man-flu ridden Si and declared we needed to go the barn. If I'm honest, I was more excited about seeing the car again than getting my interior back!

This is what we were greeted with:

Image

Now my camera phone's camera is average at best, so the extent of the decay isn't as apparent as it was in real life. The whole car was green, we'd hacked down a plant that was growing in the N/S of it and bits of the rusty roof of the barn had landed on the car.

I was worried for the interior, but the estate had kept it well for me:

Image

Si refused to take bets on whether it would start first time, as he believed it would, with a fresh battery of course.

We fitted the battery from my girlfriend's Saxo. We tried turning it over. It laughed at us! All we got was a click.

I replaced the Saxo's battery, still warm! Luckily the battery had just enough to restart the Saxo.
We removed the lorry sized battery from Si' Alfa, and used a wheel barrow to cart it across a field to the barn.
It didn't quite fit in the battery tray, but we got round it.

It clicked the first time.

Second time it turned over and over and over, sounding like it had air in the fuel. I reluctantly started priming it with the push button on the filter. I didn't want to do this, as I knew if the seal underneath was brittle I could cause more problems than by not touching it! We expelled the air and tried again.

Third time lucky....it fired up! Didn't even puff any smoke out!

About 1min later the suspension started to lift itself off the ground.

We wondered if the handbrake would be seized, or whether the clutch would disengage.

It did! The estate pulled itself out of the barn with minimal fuss, trampling the remains of the bush that had tried to claim it:

Image

We drove the estate across the field to the waiting Saxo and removed the interior. The rest of the car was untouched inside. I was expecting dead mice, rot, mould...anything! But it was exactly as left....must be the climate in West Wellow! :lol:

Image
Image

We returned the estate to the barn, having realised we'd been doing all this with zero coolant again, but the estate made no fuss at all.

Since this day a month ago, it has sat waiting for some attention. The TZD interior is not far away now and will soon be fitted.

Si still owns the car, but I know he'd probably gladly give it back, as it's occupying space in his dad's barn, who's hardly the most open minded or understanding when it comes to old cars, although he must understand sentimental value as he kept the old 740 above!

If I get the space to keep it, I'll gladly take it back. But for now the plan is to one day restore the beast, with hopefully the aid of the Doc himself. New 1/4 panel, and full respray. New clutch and cambelt.....and thats it! No repairs or overhauls underneath....the car will still drive round with little or no coolant and sticky struts. Only it'll look like it just left the showroom!


Not sure why I suddenly felt the need to do this, don't know what's come over me. But if you read this far, well done for staying awake! :P

User avatar
Philip Chidlow
Over 2k
Posts: 11562
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2005 1:08 pm
Location: Chelmsford, Essex
x 14

Post by Philip Chidlow » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:18 am

I stayed awake. and glad I did. what a great tale. The movie of it emerging from the barn is great. What testament to a great car... 8)

This story belongs in Practical Classics or Classic Car Weekly or some such...
• 1992 Citroen BX TZD Turbo Hurricane
• Xsara Picasso 1.6 16v
• COMING SOON... 1998 Citroen Xantia 2.0 16v auto Exclusive

User avatar
toddao
BXpat
Posts: 2833
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 5:01 pm
Location: The Hegau

Post by toddao » Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:27 am

Excellent story Kitch! :D

The car they couldn't kill! Look forward to seeing it brought back to glory. What's wrong with that as a family car? My Estate/Break is also missed and also requires a complete new interior having, at the moment, all mis-matched bits'n'pieces.

I actually like those white alloys on the valver too.
Todd


this yellow writing is really hard to read

ed4ferrets
BXpert
BXpert
Posts: 605
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2005 4:10 pm
Location: Marshfield in the cotswolds ...

Post by ed4ferrets » Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:57 pm

Brilliant story Kitch, made even better by the pics that go with it 8).
Marty said: "Take some small comfort from the fact that the driver of the other car, having failed the breath test will even now be in a little cell, with luck they will double him up with some mean bastard who will be tattooing a fandango on his arse"

'94 XM 2.1TD Break
'99 Xantia 1.9TD Break (almost there)
'63 Renault Caravelle

Tourist
BXpert
BXpert
Posts: 717
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Vento GL

Post by Tourist » Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:11 pm

Liking the ZX trims :)

User avatar
Kitch
Over 2k
Posts: 6194
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2005 9:36 pm
Location: Fareham, Hants
x 48

Post by Kitch » Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:11 pm

Yeah I think the story with the estate is probably more interesting than any other car I've owned really. It is the car that won't die (it will now, you watch!)

In reality I've got twins on the way, a family car to buy, a Xsara to sell, another car to tax and use on weekends when it's sunny and the valver....which needs a rebuilt head, undersealing, two new wings, steering geometry sorting.....you get the idea. Plus have a lack of room.

However.....if by some miracle chance the garage in the new place car fit two cars in end to end, theres a chance I'll take the estate back to my garage in Southampton, in which the valve currently resides.
Sadly, I think if I did get two cars to fit in the new garage, they'd need to be Minis or something! I remember seeing it at the viewing and thinking "that's long" (gooooood mornin!!) but to be honest I can't remeber how much.


Car's a ledge though, and I agree about the ZX trims. I'd probably leave them to be honest, the car won't be original anyway so pointless trying to source original gear unless I found an interior to match. They only happened by accident too.....once the optional Paxo alloys had worn they tyres through, Si bought some 306 alloys from the same scrappy. They looked really silly on the estate (much sillier than the others) so we put them on this ZX estate I had and used it's steelies and trims on the estate. Now it's wearing 175 section tyres, not the 165 originals! I can pull 4G in the bends!

User avatar
Kitch
Over 2k
Posts: 6194
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2005 9:36 pm
Location: Fareham, Hants
x 48

Post by Kitch » Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:14 pm

Oh, the best thing you can't see in the videos is all the animal bones and carcuss' that were under the hay under the back of the car! God knows how they got there, guess a fox was using it as a den!

User avatar
docchevron
The Immoderate half of the admin team
Posts: 7524
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2006 7:03 pm
Location: A Bucket of Fish
x 7

Post by docchevron » Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:06 am

Kitch wrote: I remember seeing it at the viewing and thinking "that's long" (gooooood mornin!!)
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Kitch wrote: I can pull 4G in the bends!
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

What with that the space time continuum devastated by the immense torque of the Xsara you're destroying the planet!

You'll be having RAF trainee pilots taking the estate out to get used to flying GR4's next!!
Smokes lots, because enough's enough already!

Far too many BX's, a bus, an ambulance a few trucks, not enough time and never enough cash...

SamWise
BXpert
BXpert
Posts: 159
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:48 am

Post by SamWise » Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:34 am

If the roundabout incident didn't happen when leaving Millbrook Roundabout then my bum's a banjo. Nobody in Southampton has any concept of correct lane discipline. As horribly slow as it can now be, turning that thing into a gyratory was the best thing for preventing those incidents. Heaven forfend we should have to actually teach people how to DRIVE!
1966 Triumph Herald convertible with big valve twin carb Spitfire head

1973 Bedford Panorama Elite II Bus

1994 2.1TD Citroen XM

1992 Citroen AX Echo 1.4D

CitroXim
Sir Jim of the Databases
Posts: 788
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 9:08 pm
Location: Newport Pagnell
x 2

Post by CitroXim » Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:53 am

Excellent stuff Kitch :D A good read whilst I sit here suffering man-flu :(

How did you do the Activa conversion?
Jim

'98 Xantia 1.9TD in Red - Gabriel the Bus...
'96 Xantia Activa in Red - My favourite toy...
'07 Pug 207 in Blue - The Deathtrap...
'15 Giant Defy Bike in Blue - Daily rider...
'16 Giant TCR Bike in Black/Lime Green - Fine weather only...

User avatar
docchevron
The Immoderate half of the admin team
Posts: 7524
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2006 7:03 pm
Location: A Bucket of Fish
x 7

Post by docchevron » Thu Feb 12, 2009 1:14 pm

CitroXim wrote:Excellent stuff Kitch :D A good read whilst I sit here suffering man-flu :(

How did you do the Activa conversion?
Get wel soon Jim.

And as for the Activa conversion....... :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

That car is te ultimate ledge though, the only air cooled XUD ever!
Smokes lots, because enough's enough already!

Far too many BX's, a bus, an ambulance a few trucks, not enough time and never enough cash...

User avatar
Kitch
Over 2k
Posts: 6194
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2005 9:36 pm
Location: Fareham, Hants
x 48

Post by Kitch » Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:20 pm

Doc: GR4 pilots are currently having to wait for the car to be re-scrambled (to the MOT station). We've got some Eurofighter guys who seem to keen to sharpen their skills in her too!

Sam: You bum's a Banjo mate....it was Chilworth! Although funnily enough I was working at Euro Car Parts at the time, so did have to do the Millbrook one later on anyway.
I was heading south down the M3 in the outside lane when a 5-series joined into the middle one from the Chilworth sliproad, going towards town. Both lanes go straight on, or you can do a 180 degree turn round the roundabout in mine. As we enter, he starts indicating right and tries to do the same thing....as I indicate left to exit the roundabout! He then got really ratty and came bounding up towards my car!! He backed down after I swung the door open with the top corner narrowly missing his eye and basically pushed him back to his car with a combination of morning breath, shouting and my nose!

Jim: It was quite complex mate. First, I located a badge from a Xantia Activa. It came on a door moulding we only bought for the chrome strip. Then, I carefully removed the badge from the moulding and applied an (environmentally friendly bio-degradable duck kissing) adhesive to the rear of said badge.
Then, and this is the clever bit....I offered the badge to the tailgate of the BX, glue side first and left to try.

After that....nearly zero body-roll!

User avatar
MULLEY
Over 2k
Posts: 8375
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 11:10 pm
Location: Derbyshire
x 3

Post by MULLEY » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:00 pm

Great story, i particularly enjoyed the activa conversion technical part :lol:
2002 C5 2.0 HDI Estate - Remapped - It goes better
2011 Mini Cooper D Clubman - it does over 60mpg
1992 TZD Turbo - SORN - slowly getting there
1991 Gti 16V - Blaze is back on the road since 2008
1990 Gti 8Valve SOLD - looks like it's been scrapped
2002 Mini Cooper S - SOLD - i miss this car
1992 TXD - Scrapped in March 2014

I'm not just a username, i'm also called Matthew.

User avatar
mat_fenwick
Moderator
Posts: 7275
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 4:08 pm
Location: North Wales
x 13

Post by mat_fenwick » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:13 pm

Too technical for me to be honest, lost me after the "carefully removed" bit...

Have you ever thought about doing a conversion kit? Could make your fortune on eBay! :D
Image

1993 1.9 TZD Turbo Estate
1996 3.9 V8 Discovery
1993 VW LT35 campervan
1985 Hyundai Stellar V8
2016 Hyundai iLoad