As a companion piece to Paul’s CX article, I dug out a few pics I took this summer when I went back to the old country. I spent a little time down south, where the relatively dry Mediterranean climate is conducive to keeping old iron on the roads – kind of like California, I guess, but less affluent. So said old iron is usually in less than mint condition.
Citroën CXs are definitely no longer part of daily life in France. It has been 25 years since they’ve stopped making them, so that’s pretty normal. But they’re not exactly rare either. Down south, seeing a CX (or a Méhari, a Renault 4, a Peugeot 505 or even the odd Talbot) is not unexpected. I bumped into this tired but well-cared-for CX Evasion around noon.
Glare from the Provence sun did not help my feeble photographic abilities. Interior shots were downright impossible. But you play the hand you’re dealt. As soon as I started snapping away, I heard a voice calling out (with a typical Provencal French accent): “She’s beautiful, eh?” The owner of the beast was observing me from a window two floors above the garage – directly above the CX. I replied that she was, indeed, beautiful.
It seems this Series II CX Evasion (“One of the last ones”, as the owner pointed out) might be going elsewhere soon. The owner said it had over 360,000 km (about 224,000 miles) on the clock and that he preferred using his newer Audi. But he also said the CX was unbeatable in terms of interior space and comfort.
I forgot to ask what kind of engine this car had. It should be a 2.2 or 2.5 litre Diesel, as it seems the CX “break” (wagon) only had those after 1987. The 1990-91 model Citroën CX were only in wagon form, as the new XM had replaced the CX saloon. Citroën farmed out the final CXs to clear the way for their new model: about 4500 CX Evasion like this one were made by Heuliez, a coachbuilder in western France, in 1990-91.
It’s getting late here. So no, I won’t trawl the never-ending web to find interior shots of a Series II CX. Instead, I’ll end this post with a couple of pictures that I took years ago of the Projet L – Citroën’s first draft of the CX, made exactly 20 years before this Evasion. That way, you’ll have both CXtremes: the very first and the very last of this very weird and wonderful automobile.
Hood for miles. Its like a minivan backend, with a brougham length hood.
I believe the hood was the reason it got the nickname “the toad” in my parts.
Wasnt there a higher end version, so grand, it was called “the Palace”? Or “Pallas”.
The top line CX was the ‘Prestige’. It shared the 122′ wheelbase with the breaks.
That’s an interesting looking mini-type van in the background of the first photo. Any idea what it is?
That’s the Citroen Berlingo/Peugeot partner/Ram Promaster City.
It is a first generation (post-facelift) Berlingo/Partner, but the Ram Promaster City is a rebadged Fiat Doblo. (which is also sold by GM in Europe as the Opel/Vauxhall Combo)
That sounds right, I was wrong.
Citroen ZX on the other side the direct forerunner to my car
“Evasion?” Quite an unfortunate name.
Citroen later had a minivan called “Evasion”, but renamed them “Synergie” for the UK market.
They were built by the joint venture Sevel Nord, and the Fiat version was called “Ulysse”. When I worked at Avis, they were generally referred to as a “Fiat Useless”.
The new stylish Citroen is named Cactus and in Australia if something is stuffed,broken,had it,ceases to be,many people say it is cactus.
Looks like a hearse to me.
They were used as hearses and ambulances in Europe.They were not sold in Australia but one weekend I drove down to Sydney to look at one for sale,a private import,and in the metal they are an interesting shape.I was sorely tempted to buy it but needed the 1970 Peugeot 404 ute for work and at that stage wasn’t ready to part with my beautiful 1963 Fiat Multipla.Otherwise I would have bought it in a second.
Does that make me a White Hearse correspondent?
This is my White Whale.
In the late 1980s, Citroens were sold (in tiny numbers and through private importer) in the US, and I had the opportunity to ride in a CX at that time. Unfortunately, I didn’t drive it, but even so it was one of the high points of my automotive life. My father did get to drive it, and he described to me in great detail the brake button, the self centering steering wheel, etc… and I of course experienced the mesmerizingly supple ride myself. I was immediately hooked. And never sat in another one.
If I ever do see a CX here, I will do everything possible to track it down an photograph it. This is a car I never tire of reading about.
This is the CX series 2 interior.
Sorry, emjayay, what you have there is a series 1. Probably a Pallas or a Prestige.
That’s a series 2 interior (from a GTI, hence the fancy seats): square pax vent, no more clean / concave space between said vent and instrument pod, rounded black plastic console, different door cards with electric window buttons, normal gauges instead of the square “bathroom scale” ones, etc., etc…
Series 1 interiors are wonderful. Series 2, not half as cool. But still kinda nice.
Wholly unscientific, but in our two weeks in Perigord, deepest France, this summer, I reckon we saw more active CXs than XMs or C6s.
I saw one XM in a station car park, tried to photo it but the angles and light were wrong. I also tried to like it, but I still can’t. It always looks like late 80s origami, clumsily pasted over the divine CX concept.
C6s are pretty rare, but we are regularly in South Kensington, London’s little France, so there are always a few to be seen around there. A nice car with rear lights that prefigured the current Jaguar XJ. But the XJ is heavy, and a lout. The C6 floats.
The most impressive
The space ship fom an analogue era.
They drove so dar good af speed, newspapers were flown in from the US at night and were distributed by road
They only drove Cx
They’d tried Chevy C10, Mercedes, but the Cx Turbo Diesel was best.
These cars would do over 300000 kilometers per year, srarting at Charles de Gaulle airport via Brussels Amsterdam to Frankfurt
In the pre internet era
Still one of my 70s favourites, and always welcomed on sight.
One question, though seeing that Project L from 1971. Do you know when the styling of the CX got fixed, and when Pininfarina get involved? This post dates the BMC Aerodymanica by a few years, and the CX is often said to be based on that Pininfarina style.
It’s kind of complicated. The Pininfarina BMC did hit the trade mags in 1968, but Citroen were already working on a revamp of the DS that had CX elements in 1967.
The Pininfarina BMC Aerodynamica was unveiled at the 1967 Turin show. It’s pretty universally acknowledged to be the direct influence on the CX. If you can show otherwise, that would be quite a coup.
Fioravanti’s 1964 student proposal that led to the Fioravanti/Martin PF 1800 Berlina Aerodynamica. The DS was sort of already using the fastback idea, but GS/CX fastback seems to have been derived directly from the work of PF.
Thanks Don. Is it me or ifs there some Lancia Gamma in there, especially around the rear quarters?
Thanks; that DS/CX cross looks interesting, if bulky
When it was decided to go with a completely new platform, they did Projet L in 71. But by that point, both the SM and (much more significantly) the GS were in production.
By ’72, the L car looked like a CX (the front end was final, see below) with SM cues at the back. PF didn’t “get involved” per se. Robert Opron was coming up with a roof design (see that ’67 up above) quite close to PF’s BMC either on his own, or he had good sources at PF who showed him the concept. I don’t really know. Either way, the PF design pushed Opron towards a cleaner shape.
Question remains: was the overall shape a case of convergent design or not? I’ll do a bit of research on this and get back to you / CC with a piece on Opron, as per “popular” request…
Unfortunate name but what a great car. And, with that raised roof and all that length, there must be a truly massive amount of cargo space!
I’ve heard of the Citroen CX, but I’ve never seen one in person. I find it the most attractive car since the Citroen DS/ID series.