The Modern Classics
Please follow the links below to navigate to the different models of the Modern Classics.
GS & GSA - Launched at the 1970 Paris motor show, the GS redefined the mid sized saloon category.
CX - Like the DS, the CX questioned automotive conventions with CX being initials for co-efficiency of drag.
Visa, LN/A, Axel & C15 - From small family cars to GTi hot hatchbacks, and also a very successful van.
BX - Designed by Bertone, the BX is widely regarded as the car which saved Citroën from bankruptcy.
XM - Unfortunately not a commercial success for Citroen, the XM tried to replace the CX as an executive car.
As time moves on the Xantia is starting to move into the Modern Classic category with promising attendance at shows and events that we hold. More and more enthusiasts are keeping hold of and maintaining their Xantias for the future, with less being available on the open market. There is an enthusiastic following towards the Xantia in the CCC and it is only a matter of time before it can be classed as a Modern Classic.
The Swinging '70s - GS, SM & CX
During 1970, all other small 'family' cars were instantly outdated with the release of the GS. Taking many of the larger DS's technological breakthroughs (notably the suspension), and repackaging it into a small yet capacious aerodynamic shell, powered by a 1-litre aircooled flat four giving performance the equal of most cars half as big again, the GS became another long-lasting technological success for Citroën.
1970 also saw Citroën reveal the fruit of their ownership of the legendary Maserati - the SM. This luxurious grand-touring coupe, powered by a typically Italian quad-cam v6 caused a storm on release, with more technology packed into one car than ever before.
All good things must end sometime, and so it was with the DS in 1974. The CX was revealed, questioning automotive conventions again, and bringing the effect of aerodynamics closer to the motoring public than ever before - even the name CX refers to the french initials for the co-efficient of drag. Using the fully-powered variably assisted steering from the SM, and a highly ergonomic yet individual cockpit layout, it was said of the CX that 'after 10 minutes, you never want to drive one again. After an hour, you never want to drive anything else again.'
With three major new models being relased in such a short period of time, Citroen were betting the house on their success. While all three were superb cars, none were particularly economical - especially the GS. At the same time, Citroen were investing heavily in the Wankel rotary engine, and had very publicly tested the concept in the hydraulically suspended Ami M35 coupe, before releasing the GS Birotor. A tri-rotor engine was in development to replace the old DS motor the CX had been launched with - then the oil crisis hit, bringing the company to the very brink of bankruptcy again...
The Chevrons go from strength to strength - The PSA Group years
Saved this time by a merger with Peugeot to form the PSA Group, Citroën gained a new set of priorities.
The first visible sign of these new priorities was the LN. Things didn't look great for the grand chevrons, as this was no more than a "shortcut" Peugeot 104ZS with Dyane headlights and a 2cv engine. In fairly short succession, the project to develop a new mid-size car was rejigged, and the Visa was brought to market. On the 104 floorpan, this was a very conventional looking (once the first facelifted had removed the "pignose" bumper...) small car, replacing the Ami 8. Powered by a range of engines from an expanded 2cv motor to conventional 4-pots, the Visa developed into the long-lived C15 van. The late 115bhp GTi was a true hooligan car, being little more than a reshelled (and far lighter) 205GTi.
As the 70s turned into the 80s, the BX brought Citroen sales volume once more. Sitting on hydraulic suspension, the lightweight and elegant body featured some of the earliest use of large plastic panels in a volume car. The company has not looked back since.