Archive for hydractive suspension

Hydractive suspension – some anecdotes

Posted in Car conception, Desirable machines with tags , , on 13/06/2016 by Alexander

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Hydractive was the fancy marketing name for Citroën’s now-defunct hydropneumatic suspension. Unlike other cars that rely on shock-absorbers and springs for ride quality, a Hydractive-equipped vehicle has a system of LHM fluid that self-levels the car, allows for a driver-variable ride height, and ironed out bumps, holes and all the other crap bad roads throw up like no other system. It also ran the power steering, which made it incomparably easy to steer a Citroën, and was used in the brakes, which made it safer than most other cars on the road since brake fluid was incredibly flammable.

If that isn’t enough to convince you how good Hydractive was, then a few real-world examples might. I had a lovely Citroën BX as a first car, and that fancy suspension got me out of a few tricky situations.

#1 The street thugs
One day upon leaving work, I got back to my car and found it was being used as an impromptu bench by some street thugs. I asked them to piss off (though not in so many words) and this seemed to annoy them and their stance gave me the idea I was in for a whooping. I got into the car and started it up, and it began to rise as it always did, and the street thugs little faces suddenly lit up. They gestured me to go higher so I did – no, wait, I decided not to pander to their whims so I gestured that it didn’t rise any higher and drive off without getting whooped.

#2 The lake on the slipway
A sudden and intense shower in the middle of summer in the city where I live caused a sort of flash flood on a slipway to get on the motorway. Part of the tarmac was submerged where the terrain dipped, mainly due to a clogged drain. There was one part of the road that was juuuust shallow enough for an ordinary vehicle to pass, as long as they stayed very, very closed to the guardrail and didn’t stall, as the water reached the cars’ door sills. The resulting queue of regular saloons and hatchbacks was tremendous, while lorries and 4x4s all took a shortcut and simply ploughed through the middle of the gigantic puddle, as did a certain Citroën BX with its hydraulic suspension set to maximum height.

#3 Crap but unpunishable parking
I was late for work, but it wasn’t my fault. It was one of those days where it seemed half the city had decided to drive to wherever it wanted to go, and I couldn’t even find a decent illegal parking spot, i.e., a place that will get you fined, but doesn’t really hinder traffic or pedestrians. I only found a spot beyond the pavement, on a patch of unkempt, wild and weedy grass. I drove the BX onto it, then slotted the suspension setting into its minimum height, and literally slammed the car into the weeds. Result: I could get a ticket, but there was no way I could get towed away. This became a favourite trick of mine.

Some more stories will be furnished at a later date!

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