Citroen BX | Shed of the Week

Brim the XUD tank with biodiesel and you have yourself a Bertone-styled French classic. In gold

By Tony Middlehurst / Friday, January 8, 2021 / Loading comments

Regular readers will know that Mike Duff writes an excellent feature on here called The Brave Pill. It deals with cars on which you could spend – and potentially lose – a packet.

As Mrs Shed will be only too pleased to tell you, Shed does not have a massive packet. That’s why, many years ago, she imposed a £1,500 maximum on him for his personal motoring purchases. As we all know, that figure went on to become the maximum price for his small column. This one, that is, not the one that Mrs Shed likes to laugh about with her girly mates.

Low prices mean that high levels of buyer bravery aren’t needed for the cars you’ll find here, but even so Shed is a bit worried about the possible reaction to today’s entrant, a gold-wrapped Citroen BX diesel from 1992.

For those who aren't old enough to remember the BX, it's one of those French motors that could have been so right if it weren't for the going wrong. Replacing the superb GS in 1982 and arriving in the UK in ’83, it was a Bertone design by Gandini (of Miura and Countach fame) which polarised opinion somewhat. By the time people were starting to warm to the BX it had become a bit over-Halfordised with flapping bits of plastic and stick-on stripes.

It was a good car though. If we’re not counting 1990’s impossibly rare 4×4 version, of which just one is registered for use here in the UK, the most exotic BX was the GTI. Back in 1987, its 160hp 1.9 petrol engine provided a 0-60 time in the low eights and a top whack of 135mph, both quick for the day. Much of the performance (and indeed the great handling, level braking and high grip, if the leak-prone hydropneumatic suspension was in good fettle) was down to the BX GTI’s weight of well under 1,100kg, unencumbered as it was by the fun-spoiling demands of thick metal for passenger protection.

The GTI was a niche BX. If your motoring was of a more everyday nature, a BX diesel powered by the turbocharged 1.8 litre XUD unit used in a host of PSA group cars was a fine choice. Anyone who’s never tried a diesel older than a 10-year-old VAG will wonder what just blew up when they turn on one of these old chuggers, but they’re plenty smooth enough on the move and seem to come to life on continental roads. Plus, as the vendor says, they deliver very high fuel consumption numbers.

This was a golden age for French diesels in more ways than one: the XUD is indirect injection so you can run it on a mix of diesel and Mazola, if they still do that. It doesn’t have to be golden either. Dirty old chip oil will do. Just ask Mrs Shed, she keeps a big barrel of it round the back. To make yourself sound on trend, call it biodiesel. Just make sure you have a switching system to cut out the veggie at either end of your journey because even the XUD doesn’t like cold chip oil to start with. It’s also a good idea to purge the system before you switch off the engine, not just to clear the pipes for easier starting next morning but also to avoid stinking out your immediate neighbourhood. As ever, there is a PH thread of wisdom about this.

As the entertaining ad tells us, this car has led an interesting life. Between October 2008 and May 2010 it did 14 miles. Over the next year it did a normal-ish 7,000 miles, then a total of 3,000 miles in the three years from 2011 to 2014, when it passed its MOT with a couple of suspension advisories and a recorded mileage of 1,220 miles. Looking at the next MOT five years later in 2019 when the mileage was stated as 72,120, and taking into account the vendor's note about the previous owner passing away, Shed is taking the 2014 mileage as a typo and assuming that no miles were done in that five-year gap.

The red BXs were known for fading, and the vendor confirms that, but Shed isn't sure it justified a gold wrap. In fact, it’s hard to know what would justify a gold wrap. It should be a doddle to whip it off with a heat gun and a dose of patience, if it’s decent quality. That might be a big ‘if’ judging by the ultra-honest ad, which you should definitely read. If PH had a regular slot called Ad of the Week this would be a shoo-in.

The price of £1,350 sounds hopeful, but there aren’t many BXs left. Shed doesn't really understand how the website How Many Left works, but he knows that the original, relatively simple cars have been practically extinct in Britain for donkey’s years. He’d be amazed if there were more than a hundred BXs left on British roads today. This one appears to be metallurgically solid, the mileage is low and the startled ferret stance suggests healthy suspension. He’s open to offers. The owner that is, not the ferret.


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