Dream garage #7 – Citroën CX

Perhaps readers who are a more than distracted may have noticed a motif (that is, if I actually had any readers). In seven cars, four are French (five if you count the Bugatti, it’s made in France and named after a Frenchman) and three of these are Citroëns. There’s a reason for that, and it’s probably embodied by the Citroën CX.

This was the car I grew up with. My father owned more than half a dozen of these big beauties, and the impression it made on a young car fan was, to say the least, indelible. The looks, the size, the interior quirkiness were enough to make me believe that all other cars’ design were simply wrong. Why do other cars have indicator stalks instead of the clever boxes? Why do they use large, round dials instead of the space-saving revolving drums? Why do they have levers to pull to open the doors instead of the trigger-like mechanism of the CX? I could go on and on, since one of the advantages of having observed this car so much as a child is that my attention to detail was obsessive.

The CX had big shoes to fill. It had the task of replacing one of the most revolutionary cars of the 20th century, the DS. Now I won’t go into the debatable realm of whether it succeeded or not, but I think it will suffice to say that the CX’s run lasted for fifteen years (the DS had a twenty year stint), in an age where automakers had to keep changing, evolving and continuously upgrade models in order to stay afloat on the market.

The overall design was the brainchild of Robert Opron, who had joined Citroën under Flaminio Bertoni, the man responsible for the design of the DS. Opron appreciated the importance of aerodynamics, and implemented the DS’ swivelling headlamps that were glass-covered, as part of the DS’ 1967 makeover. This design element was also present in the Citroën SM, which, when looked at closely, heralded some design characteristics later included in the CX. In fact, personally I think it’s easy to see the similarities and Opron’s designing consistency in his Citroën designs, from the revamped DS passing through the GS and SM and on to the CX, what with them all sporting the same swooping rear and slightly curved-ness and horizontal-ness of the front.

I’ve always thought the CX as one of those cars that has stood the test of time extremely well. I remember how 80’s youths such as myself absolutely loathed the 70’s, yet this very openly 70’s car was irresistibly attractive even in the thick of the Thatcher years. It’s beautiful, sleek profile and tapering end gave it the necessary reminiscence to the DS to remind the drivers of the huge shoes it was filling. And like the DS, at the heart its look was the drive to find as aerodynamic a shape as possible, hence the name “CX” (“Cx” is the acronym for drag coefficient). I loved the curving shoulder-line, the long bonnet with the single, asymmetrical vent, the huge sloping windscreen, the rubber bits beneath the front bumper, the slightly concave rear windscreen on the saloon models, and especially those smiling front headlamps.

And that interior. I could dedicate an entry to the inside of the CX alone, such was the attention to detail and uniqueness bestowed by the geniuses who dreamt this car up. The single-pronged steering wheel, the absence of stalks behind it, the revolving drum speedometer and rev counter, the trigger door handles, the space, the comfort, even those crazy door-mounted ashtrays.

But enough of my slobbering praise. I’ll save some of my opinions for the captions in the following pictures.

Citroen CX gallery


2 Responses to “Dream garage #7 – Citroën CX”

  1. Citroen CX Safari Estate.
    Superb looking and practical transport.
    The “kick” in the roof made a once seen never forgotten feature and was wonderful for bulky loads.
    Great styling and the estate especially in white was a sight to behold.
    A good one hard to find now and prices seem steady and will possibly rise.

    Derek Stocker.
    East Sussex

    • Alexander Says:

      Thanks for the comment, Derek. I’m glad you reminded me of that wonderful mannerism along the roofline only Citroen could pull off!

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