Back To The 80s: Citroën BX

Fri 5th Jul 2019

When we think of the classic eras of motoring we might cast our mind back to stylish cars of the 1950s, the muscle cars of the 1960s or the super cars of the 1970s. What might not spring to mind however is the motors which were produced in the 1980s - an era which certainly favoured practicality over power, style and sophistication.

But the cars of today owe much to 80s, it was decade which brought us turbochargers, multi-valve engines and hot hatchbacks, an era of the people-carrier and the rise of the SUV. Digital displays and electronic gadgetry, were the norm as designers pushed the boundaries of of what was capable in a production vehicle.

So let's celebrate the 80s, a period of huge change across Britain as a whole, and one which had incredible landmarks in the motor industry.

Citroën BX
The French company had always had a reputation for producing quirky avant-garde motors which while embracing innovative elements, were always a little out there for mass market popularity.

But in 1982, following the merger with Peugeot, Citroen used the Paris Salon to unveil their most normal car of a generation. The BX was undoubtedly a Citroen, the company’s first designed on a computer came with a lightweight body, thanks to a fibre-glass bonnet, hatch-back and bumpers, here was a family saloon which was designed by classic design house Bertone, one which swapped any ideas of round curves for strong geometric lines. It was Marcello Gandini who designed the BX, a man more famous for designing Lamborghinis, and those striking angular edges helped deliver a fantastic drag coefficient of 0.34, which you would expect from a man who had cut his teeth on supercars.

The one thing which the BX did inherit from previous Citroen models was the independent hydro-pneumatic suspension, a feature which had been a huge selling point for the French manufacturer. Thanks to the Peugeot merger too, the BX also incorporated a more reliable and powerful engine base, with the 1.6 and GTI particularly popular. 

Despite the BX being introduced in Paris in October 1982, it wasn’t until August 1983 that we finally saw a right-handed drive version, though the British took it to heart straight away and were responsible in part for the BX enjoying an eleven year stint on the production line, selling some 2.33 million units, before being replaced by the Xantia and C5.

Manufacturer: Citroen
Assembly: Rennes, France
Designer: Marcello Gandini
Did You Know?: Citroen sold 2,000 BX Vans in Finland which came with no rear seat and a fiberglass roof to help with lower registration taxes.