SOTW: Citroen AX GT-5/TVR S2

Working with SOTW's miniscule budget sometimes forces you to consider some rather offbeat choices. A Citroen AX GTI, though it isn't everybody's cup of tea, would arguably make a fun car for a grand - but sadly most of them have been crashed or chavved to the hilt by now, and many of the dwindling number of unmodified survivors are now 'collectors items', bringing their value just above the SOTW £1k threshold.

But there is another way. The AX GT was not to the AX GTI what the Saxo VTR would be to the VTS. Though the two were briefly produced together, the AX GT was really the GTI's predecessor. And if we can completely ignore 'underdog syndrome' for a moment, consider the facts: the little GT had a lighter aluminum version of the 1.4-litre 8-valve engine found in the GTI (the same also found in the Pug 205 XS at the time), and its 15bhp deficit (85bhp in total) isn't so bad when you consider that the GT weighed over 70kg less than its replacement.

And speaking of weight, at just 722kg the GT had a power-to-weight ratio of 118bhp per ton - almost exactly the same as a Mazda MX5 from the same year. That's not to say it's a roaring beast (0-60mph takes 9.2secs and it's all-out at 110mph), but the single Solex carb-fed four-cylinder unit must have been great fun, with peak power not coming until 6500rpm. And although we'd never encourage the sorts of modifications that people abuse these cars with, the AX's tuneability is famous, and some gentle tweaking to this very simple car would pay dividends for sure.

I remember watching a tacky American Police car chase programme a few years ago, and hearing the narrator exclaim that "On these winding streets, the cops' powerful cruiser is no match for the agile European car". And what was this 'agile' Eurobox aiding the savvy perp's getaway? You guessed it - a Citroen AX, looking glorious in 'old fridge' white. The willing chassis is famous, and promises many "sacrebleu!" moments for an owner who won't need to be too careful with a car they've paid Shed money for, and that reportedly costs peanuts to fix.

The GT is getting pretty rare these days, and this particular example is the even-rarer 5-door variant (hence 'GT-5'). The bodywork looks nice and tidy, even if the now-tatty-once-lovely period alloys let it down a bit, and the sharply geometric '80s shape is beginning to look good again. But this car's real trump card is the interior, which looks terrific, with its neat red highlights and sports seats with intact bolsters (we rang the dealer about the plastic bag on the driver's seat - apparently they do this after valeting and the seat is fine).

We're not suggesting that this is the very best way to spend a grand (heck, it may not even be the very best way to spend the £699 list price). But it certainly does look like a lark, and there's bound to be some wiggle-room in that price. There's a fresh MOT, but no tax. This could offer some very cheap fun, and you could sell it a few months down the line for at least the same amount you paid for it. Shed-errific.

And now for something completely different...

Shed loves variety, so this week we thought we'd bring you an extra SOTW, in the form of something distinctly less sensible. (you mean less sensible than an ageing French hatchback that could crumble at the mere site of a pothole?- Riggers.)

This TVR S2 is coming up for auction on the 9th February at Barons auction house in Esher, with an estimate of just £800 - £1500. The car has been in storage for three years and apparently needs 'cosmetic attention' and a new gearbox, so its a restoration project rather than a drive-away shed - but it does demonstrate that you could conceivably end up with a working TVR for very little money if you're willing to do the leg work.

The 2.9-litre V6 from the Ford Sierra wasn't massively powerful at 168bhp, but the fibreglass-bodied car only weighed 987kgs, so it was no slouch. 0-60mph is said to have taken around seven seconds, but as an S-series fansite proudly reminds us: "No two TVRs are the same - except they always break down."

Ad for Citroen reads:

Citroen AX GT-5 = Rare 5 Door!
1.4 8v Cheap tax and insurance
Exellent condition inside and out for the year
Very solid tidy bodywork
Exellent original interior very clean with no rips or tears. Carpet in exellent condition.
New disks and pads.and radiator
The front number plate is only missing due it a replacement being orders as it was crackedWill come with 12 months MOT No Tax can be taxed at buyers cost.
Any inspection welcome
Electric windows and central locking
Ideal sporty first car.
I true classic thats only going to go up in value i know how rare the 3 doors are never mind a 5 door
Can be delivered anywhere at buyers cost

Ad for TVR reads:

This TVR S2 has been in the vendors care for 10 years and has been stored for the past three years. It requires cosmetic restoration and a rebuild or replacement gearbox. It is said to be mechanically good, apart from the gearbox and the electric's are said to have been sorted.

Finished in blue with cream leather the car is equipped with the Ford 2.9 V6 engine and a 5-speed, manual transmission. It sits on alloy road wheels. The car is said to have covered just 80,000, warranted miles.

This TVR is sold as a restoration project and will require to be transported away.

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Comments (134) Join the discussion on the forum

  • redstu 05 Feb 2010

    oooh a cheap TVR, I could spend a lot on that!

  • CampDavid 05 Feb 2010

    Will anyone be heading down to Barons for this? I must confess, I'm tempted by the W124 Merc lots

    The AX GT is awesome. A couple of mates bought the GTI and took it to the ring. the rear beam had a pretty epic fail through the fox hole I believe causing them tom spin on the exit. Amazingly they didn't hit anyhing

  • Podie 05 Feb 2010

    Good mate of mine had an AX GT 5 door. The car was completely stripped and rebuilt, after which is was relatively solid hehe

    Good fun little gokart smile

  • useyourdellusion 05 Feb 2010

    Ah the AXgt. A friend of mine had one from new in '89. Great fun! He drove it 10/10ths everywhere and it just lapped it up! Good SOTW.

  • G0ldfysh 05 Feb 2010

    Damn shame the AX GT is bit of a trek away would seriously have a look at that, as a second car.

    Had one as first hot hatch years ago fond memories of a car giving good fuel economy while happily cornering on 3 wheels would mean definitely buy another one.

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