Monday, March 29, 2010

1989 Citroen CX

JaGC reader, Alden, sent me the link to this car...

To Citroen fans, the Citroen CX is the last "true" Citroen. It was the last car developed by Citroen without any "help" from Peugeot, who had purchased the company in 1976.

It was the last (actually, second to last) Citroen officially imported into the US. Sort of...

Citroen didn't officially import these cars, but a company called CX Automotive did. CXA bought new Citroen CXs in Europe and "rebuilt" them to meet US federal emissions and safety standards. The cars were not titled and sold as Citroens, but as CXs. Their ads called the car a "CX - With engineering by Citroen". Citroen was not pleased by this, but there wasn't much they could do about it. (A company called CINA - Citroen Importers of North America - also brought some CXAs to the US, using a more traditional gray market method.) It's estimated that around 1000 cars found their way to the US. (CXA later sold the XM in the US, making it the last "official" Citroen / CXA to come to America. Only 20 or so were sold here.)

CXs are relatively trouble free cars. The electrical system can be a problem and the automatic transmission can be troublesome. Rust can also be a problem in the snow belt states. These are the same problems you'll find in any 25+ year old car, however.

The legendary Citroen hydraulic system can be an issue if the wrong hydraulic fluid was used. (LHM - Liquide Hydraulique Minerale - is required. It's green in color. Any other color means a different type of fluid was used. Cars with brown or red fluid in the system, unless they can be purchased for next to nothing, should be avoided.) If it's been maintained properly the hydraulic system is amazingly trouble free.

This car is located in Carmel, NY, and is listed on Craigslist. It's a typical Craigslist ad, with just a few pictures and very little text. The seller says this is a turbo model, which I'm not sure CXA ever imported. It may have had the turbo added later. (It was common for CX owners to "re-french" their cars after purchasing them. What is interesting with this car is that one of the most common modifications, changing the headlights back to euro-spec, was not done. It still has the inferior US sealed-beam units.) The seller writes that the car has 56K miles on it. The car does not run, but "turns over". The asking price is not listed.

The last sentence in the Craigslist ad is "Serious inquiries ONLY". Alden had a great line in his e-mail... "As though you will get there and he's going to say 'Hey! Wipe that smile off your face!! Serious stuff here!!!'"

If you're looking for a truly unique car that will attract serious attention wherever you go, this Citroen may be worth looking into. Click here to see the Craigslist ad.


Jon said...

I really like the look of the CX, and this one in particular. I think it's on par with the Aston Martin Lagonda a few entries back.

Here is some added info...

There was an extended wheelbase version called "Prestige" which you would see on the roads of France every now and then. If the CX was the Sedan Deville, then the Prestige was the Fleetwood Brougham. The rear legroom was huge on these models.

During the late 80's early 90's, France was in midst of the GTI craze, and so various "sport" CX GTI models were offered.

In my opinion, the GTI suffered with oddball styling cues such as "blacked out" doorhandles and trim.

The rear of the GTI was a JC (Jean Claude) Whitney nightmare...

As the rear window was concave on the CX, most GTI's were adorned with HUGE black concave louvered screens which looked like they were warped from the sun. They were a real pain in the ass to keep clean and most had a permanent oxidized patina. The screen looked tacky and the additional black lip spoiler only added insult to injury. Beneath the spoiler was the piece de resistance with a silver badge marked "CX 25 GTI turbo 2" or similar claptrap. This badge alone measured about a 12" across. Citroen often threw in a tiny red "ABS" badge underneath for added effect.

Aside from this, the CX is one of my all time faves, but the GTI always made me think how the LP400 blossomed into the 25th Anniversary Countach.

Anonymous said...

I had a 1986 CX GTi 2.5, it was a Federalized CXA car. Most comfortable, smooth riding car I've ever had, but no one knew how to work on it...that's a problem in Ohio, had to drive 80+ miles to get it serviced, but still loved the car. Finally traded it in on a new Mercedes.

Unknown said...

Enjoyed your commentary on the black 1989 CXA (photo above) I purchased this car in April 2010.
I was surfing the net and I recognized the picture of the car in the seller's driveway in Carmel New York. I was on Vacation in Aruba when I saw the ad on line and set a date to see the CX upon my return the next day. Just a little about the CXA, the good: no rust,low miles,clean under the hood and inside, nice leather interior,and the full sun roof over the back seat. The bad: after getting the car home all the fluids were changed, gas tank flushed, and new tires and battery were installed. the CXA turned over and started on the first turn, then I noticed oil running from under the car, the rear main seal was leaking. With the help of Beek's Auto, Gardner,NY the CXA was on the road the following week. Great ride, you simply want to keep driving even after a 8 hr road trip. No matter where I go people are drawn to this car and alway have a lot of questions and comments.Put about 6,000 trouble free miles on the CXA last summer. The best suprise was the the AC blows ice cold after sitting for a number of years. The second best thing is that my wife loves this car, she is not alway on board when it comes to special interest cars, however I think I could suggest gold plating for the CXA and have her approval. I have owned 40+ cars in the last 25 years and the CXA along with my 300TD wagon are my only keepers.

Anonymous said...

I have a 1988 CX TRI Break Auto here in Mississauga, Canada , Ontario.
It truly is a great Citroën that glides through the roads as if you are on a magic carpet - the ride is like sitting in an Air plane when taking off and after taking off that wonderful feeling of avant garde ~ afloat just something that no vehicle on the face of this earth have a ride like this except the Citroens.
I have a 1986 CX Gti 5 speed that needs a body work as it was damaged due to a test drive incident.
Also have a 19866 CX 2 Douvrin , 4 speed manual , with carbs and a choke again this is a sedan and drives so well with its hydro-pneumatic suspension allows you to rest and look forward to driving this car for ever as it loves to hug the roads surface.
Last but not least I have a 1990 Citrën XM 3 Liter V6 Auto this one have a Hydra-active suspension - activa 1 suspension, awesome ride however more controlled via the bends and the ramps, it loves to hug the roads as well as it have 12 suspension modes in Auto mode.
lovely cars

Mike said...

Happy birthday Dad!