Citroen CX – 1974

Voted European Car of the Year in 1975, the Citroen CX was the last car built by this quirky French maker before a forced merger with Peugeot ended the company’s famed independence of thought and deed. In common with Citroen’s other new offerings in the early 1970s, the CX was designed in house by Robert Opron. The car’s flowing lines are derived from those of the Citroen GS and the CX’s fastback shape contributed to extremely aerodynamic contours that allowed the car to achieve performance comparable with that of vehicles with bigger engines.

The CX was Citroen’s entry in the lucrative executive car market and — naturellement — this meant a mechanically advanced vehicle, with transverse engine and the company’s unique self-levelling suspension system, plus speed-sensitive power steering. The interior featured a ‘spaceship’ dashboard with rotating speedometer and an extraordinary steering wheel with a single half-spoke that allowed the driver to operate key controls with both hands on the wheel. These large saloons had wonderful roadholding and offered the smoothest of rides. There was a Safari estate car version and a stretched Prestige limo for those who wanted to be chauffeured.

Sadly, the CX’s build quality left something to be desired, though this improved over time, but the car was originally designed for a compact rotary engine. When this was abandoned the CX’s engine bay was too small for the six-cylinder engine the car deserved, so it was therefore fitted with a succession of four-cylinder engines that left the car somewhat underpowered.

In 1985 the styling was revised to create the Series 2, and the CX series was finally discontinued in 1991. By that time, over one million of these innovative cars had been produced to guarantee an honourable place in the pantheon of postwar French cars.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

France

FIRST MANUFACTURED:

1974 (until 1991)

ENGINE:

Various, including 1,995 cc, 2,165 cc, 2,347 cc or 2,500 cc Straight Four

PERFORMANCE:

With 2.1 litre engine – top speed of 114 mph (184 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 9.7 secs

YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Citroen’s hydropneumatic self levelling suspension system was possibly the most efficient ever made – so good that it was licensed for use in the Rolls-Royce Camargue and top-of-the-range Mercedes luxury cars.

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