Used Car Reviews – 1988 Citroën CX 25 GTi Turbo 2 times two

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I’m not in the market for a 1988 Citroën CX GTi Turbo 2. There, I’ve said it. Better repeat it: I’m not in the market for a Citroën CX GTi Turbo 2. I’m just telling it to myself, since I got offered not one but two Turbo 2:s and I really need to keep my wits with me. It would be a really easy way to dispose of my remaining funds and sanity.

Both of these cars were offered by the same seller, some 100km south from where I live. Call it a slippery slope: having lived with a French car for a couple weeks now, and not having died in a ball of fire, I saw it fit to enquire about the two Citroëns. This past Saturday, I had the time to drive down and take a look at them.

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Up until now, I haven’t openly considered buying a CX. I’ve tested a BX and a Xantia Activa, and talked to a guy with a good XM, but I’ve left the holy grail of Citroëndom quite untouched – yes, I prefer the CX to everything else with the badge. I wouldn’t be as happy with a DS, I just know it.

One of these cars was a Swedish import, which had sat in the garage for twelve long years. Despite that, it looked clean and free from dust, which probably means it has been dusted down a little while ago. The other was a Finnish car, with a replacement engine from a Swedish donor car put in some 15-ish years ago. My wallet would match the red one better, but the black one was in nearly-new nick.

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The red one had had some 300,000 km behind it when the first engine let go. It had now accumulated 145k on the new build, as confirmed by the service book and the underhood stickers. Along with the replacement engine, it had received a new turbo and CV joints, and it had been driven fairly regularly until garaged for the foreseeable future in 2007. The last two inspections had been passed with no downmarks, but that is not to say the car was in other than useable condition. It wasn’t a beauty queen.

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The body panels had rust and rust repairs on them, the hood didn’t sit flush due to some minor damage, the inside of the trunk had some welding performed on it and the headliner sagged quite considerably. The seats were clean and rip-free, but the dashboard had had some bits come off, unlike the black one. Then again, the car ran well despite having old gas in the tank, the trick suspension worked without problems and even the air conditioning seemed to have a little bit of puff left.

If I wanted a clean CX, I’d need to get the black one, and it was 4k – but crucially, it had sat for over a decade and would need another grand put in it for general refurbishment, like suspension spheres and engine gaskets and fuel lines: stuff that lets go over a lengthy period of sitting still. And it was still on Swedish papers, as the import tax hadn’t yet been paid, and that would mean yet another grand most likely. But it only had a legit 120k on the odometer, and despite a partial respray was in extremely original condition. Your perfect CX, then.

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The red one would require about a grand’s worth of cosmetic work on it, but then again: it could just as well be used as a rough-and-ready daily driver CX. Slap some more Bondo on it, recharge the A/C, get it inspected and road legal for another year: in a way, it would be the more worry-free CX. Just drive it, and forget about concours condition.

And drive it I did, on the short stretch of dirt road. For a car that had been used preciously little during the past five years, it felt surprisingly together, with the gearbox loose but manageable and the DIRAVI steering puffing and centering itself as the car went along. How about the brakes? Gentle press – nothing. Just a touch more – oomph, they did work very well. Citroën button brakes for you.

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The seller, in his wisdom, offered me the duo for 5000. Included would be a full set of summer and winter tires, plus a set of TRX wheels. It’s a tough deal, and one that’s hard to turn down for any other reason than overdoing my budget: I’d easily see a lot more money go into them than just the five.

But: I’ve now touched the surly bonds of CX ownership, witnessed the car’s presence, and I could see myself behind the wheel of one. The Sapporo wasn’t even close to these two. Or like my GF put it: “You should get the black one. It was the coolest thing ever – I thought it was cooler than the DeLorean.”

[Images: Copyright 2013 Hooniverse/Antti Kautonen]

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14 responses to “Used Car Reviews – 1988 Citroën CX 25 GTi Turbo 2 times two”

  1. JayP2112 Avatar

    There are a few Citroens around here and every time I see one, I want to drive it.
    Just figuring how to change radio stations is a puzzle.

    1. Manic_King Avatar

      I just noticed that radio is located between seats. Can't really fathom why so, probably the designers decided that cluttered radio would ruin their futuristic dash design.

      1. julkinen Avatar

        That has to be the only reason. And the logical place for it is taken by.. a coin holder and some other cubby holes. I can't think how difficult it would be to attempt to use a vertical, between-seats radio that wasn't the same as in one's other car.

        1. duurtlang_ Avatar

          They fixed that design problem in the BX (post facelift?) and XM. There was this slide you could move in front of the radio to totally obscure it from sight. Like in this early XM
          <img src="http://www.classicandperformancecar.com/front_website/octane_interact/modelpicture.php?id=8605&quot; width="600">

      2. JayP2112 Avatar

        Sounds like a new question to ask the masses: Illogical factory radio placement.

        1. Rover1 Avatar

          Except that, with Citroens they aren't illogical, It's just that the logic can be (is) quite tortured. ( As if by the Spanish Inquisition.)

  2. marmer01 Avatar

    Wait, the black one alone is 4K and the pair is 5K? And you can drive the red one now? Why is this even a question? 😉 Bonne chance!

    1. julkinen Avatar

      I can drive it but it has last been on the road in 2008 and would need to be MOT inspected.

  3. david42 Avatar

    Like you, Antti, I would rather own a CX than a DS. But being in the US, either one would be a truly brain- (and wallet-) melting affair. If someone offered me two for 5k euros, and could start driving with another 1k euros, I would dump my other classic in a heartbeat and make these my spaceships du jour.

  4. duurtlang_ Avatar

    Thanks for reigniting my unhealthy and obsessive lust for the CX, just when I was focusing on my upcoming roadtrip in the 406 coupe. Just what I needed, another distraction. Thanks again!
    But on a more serious note; the vast majority of CXs have been junked by now. Please don't use a half decent survivor as a disposable vehicle. It doesn't have to be mint, just keep the mechanicals in shape and exorcise progress of the rust daemon. If you do get it, please use it to swing by the Netherlands. There will be free beer waiting for you.

  5. Rasvis Avatar

    Your girlfriend has an exceptionally refined taste, mine would first laugh, then cry, and then laugh again. Lucky man.
    Nothing this cool hasn't come out of France for a quarter of a century. World has gone all wrong.

  6. mac350 Avatar

    I dig the mo-ped in picture 2. It looks like a vintage Mobylette, maybe?

  7. SteveL Avatar

    If you buy them, you'll be sorry. But if you don't buy them, you'll be sorry. I say go for being sorry AND being able to go up and down at stoplights.

  8. sam cutajar Avatar

    I am looking to buy a Citroen CX GTI Turbo series 2 so if anyone has any contacts please email on sam91050@go.net.mt.
    Thank you

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