Citroen BX GTI 16V: PH Fleet

While the occasional excitement of spurious bits of the BX's trim falling off has undoubtedly provided some amusement over the past few months, I have been keen to get a more traditional form of in-car entertainment working. The BX came with an aftermarket stereo that emitted static and those annoying little pips that remind you the faceplate's still attached when you kill the engine. And little else.

The ICE is cutting edge, even if the car is getting on
The ICE is cutting edge, even if the car is getting on
So when car audio specialist Peter Huet got in touch with an offer to sort the system out, I decided to book her in. The journey down to Huets' base in Shoreham was uneventful, with the exception of a slightly frantic period of sitting in traffic on the M25, watching the temperature gauge climb (more on which presently).

As I'd suspected, the culprit was the head unit itself, so Peter recommended an upgrade to one of the latest Kenwood units he had in stock. For the audio buffs among you, it's a KDC-BT73DAB, a string of numbers and letters which, translated into English, means it's has capacity for Bluetooth and DAB, as well as USB inputs front and rear, and if you pair it up to an iPhone 4 or later, it'll even allow you to use Siri. Plus, of course, it'll play CDs and pick up old-fashioned analogue radio too. The best part, though, is that you can tweak the colour of the display and buttons to match your car's instruments, a feature I particularly like as it means it looks far less like an aftermarket add-on than I'd feared.

As if it didn't look Gallic enough already!
As if it didn't look Gallic enough already!
So, happily, I now have every kind of music I could wish for in the BX though it sounds as though it's coming out of a portable radio that's been thrown down a well. A return visit to Huets to talk speakers is on the horizon.

While I was down on the South Coast, I decided to drop back in to Southways in Fareham, to get those radiator fans looked at. The diagnosis was pretty simple: a £10 switch - contrary to what I'd been told by a chap from a well-known breakdown provider. Still, that suited me better than a replacement of the entire fan, or possibly even the wiring, that I'd expected. No longer do I have to fear traffic jams or drive around with the heater fully on in the middle of summer. Excellent.

I'm also pleased to be able to report the BX has attended its first PistonHeads Sunday Service, naturally endowed with a smattering of PH stickers. Duly liveried I'm hoping this will be a more regular excursion.

Joining the throng at the Luton Sunday Service
Joining the throng at the Luton Sunday Service
Oh, and there's been one more small tweak this month. A friend pointed out that you can now buy yellow headlamp bulb caps on eBay these days, of the sort that were mandatory in France until 1993. They are legal for use in the UK, so I ordered a couple and popped them in to see how they look. I rather like the effect and, eventually, I'd like to emulate the proper, French-spec headlamp setup by swapping the yellow fogs out for clear items with yellow bulbs, too. Why? No reason other than I think it looks pretty cool.


 1989 Citroen BX GTI 16V
Run by: Scrof
Bought: April 2013
Purchase price: £800
Last month at a glance: "If music be the food of love, play on..."

Previous reports:
Alex indulges a long-held dream ... yes, a white Citroen BX
BX gets a tidy up ahead of daily driver duties
'Character' traits aplenty with Alex's Citroen
The BX is back on the road ... sort of

Main images: PrimeExposures

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (20) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Kitchski 16 Sep 2013

    Still reckon it needs the right interior and wheels though hehe

  • Neil G60 13 Sep 2013

    Great to hear the guys at Huets and specifically Peter being mentioned here. I've been using them for over 10 years for all my car audio and I wouldn't let anyone else touch my car. They did a great job with my current car doing a complete stealth install and integrating a double DIN headunit with all Bluetooth, iPod, CD etc all built in.

    Sad to hear the usual car audio haters coming out with the usual drivel - there's only one opportunity I get to listen to my own music at highish volumes and that's in my car when I'm on my own, it's part of the enjoyment I derive from driving. There's nothing wrong with spending a bit on your car's system. It's no different to spending thousands on a premium Cyrus or Naim home system.

  • williredale 13 Sep 2013

    There's been a BX (I haven't enquired what model) in my work car park since the start of the month. It looks rather different amongst the more usual blandness. smile

  • mrpushrod 13 Sep 2013

    I had totally forgotten about the awesome security system for the head unit, the drop down plastic cover, lol. Saying that, I suppose most toe rags would assume there would be something fairly crappy in there rather than what you have. I thought my Mum's 16RS and Dad's 8v GTI, Turbo diesel estate and 4x4 estate (all now sadly cubed) were not to bad for sound quality. I think there may be a rose tinted hearing aid at work here though, it was quite a few years back.

    I can't believe you ended up at Huets! They are literally 5 minutes away from my work. If you look around some of the Hove side streets (just off Portland Road I believe) there is/was a late 16v with the tea tray rear spoiler. Randomly I also got picked up by a different one when I broke down a few years back. He was looking to make a track day car out of it which could have been interesting....

  • Adrian E 13 Sep 2013

    defblade said:
    NEVER ruin staging with rear shelf speakers, please.
    They are hateful things pretty much incapable of delivering either enough bass or clear mids/highs; yet they are certain to muddy the sound at your ear.
    All true from an audiophile persective - have you seen the size of the speaker housings in the doors on these things? They are absolutely tiny! From memory the speaker layout is a pair of front door speakers with very limited depth (under 5" from memory), nothing in the rear doors, pair of tweeters on the dash and a pair of really silly and utterly pointless ones in the C pillar which you can't buy anything to fit due to the shape of the housing.

    Biggest issue with any French car of this era is the amount of noise inside the car anyway....

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