It's been around two months since I actually owned a car. That's an odd feeling, having had 30 or so of the things since I started driving, often with two or three on the fleet at the same time.
16 valves in Scrof's wagon
After the troubles I had with
whether to hold off and save up for something newer and more reliable, or whether to jump in with both feet, put past troubles behind me and get myself something now. The sensible option would have been the former but sometimes you just can't say no to something.
That something, in this case, is not sensible. At least, it doesn't seem that way at first sight. But there is some method in my madness, which I'll come to anon. First, though, I present to you the car itself: my 1989 Citroen BX GTI 16V.
It feels pretty damn good to say that, for a number of reasons. Firstly I've a noted weakness for old French tat. The BX is one of my favourites, too. I've been smitten with them since I saw one at a garage where my folks were second-hand car shopping in 1991. Sitting there was a white GTI with a black leather interior, and I distinctly remember my dad telling me that it could rise and fall with the aid of a lever. He didn't buy it; instead he opted for a Rover 800 (which, incidentally, prompted a whole new chapter of misplaced loyalties), but the discovery that this car went up and down at the flick of a switch was all it took to earn it my lifelong affection. When I learned of the 16V a couple of years later, it immediately went on my 'must own one day' list. I've since had two TZD turbodiesels, but never quite made it to the top-rung XU9J4-engined model.
Stanced? Yep, got that. Sort of.
Until now, that is. My 16V feels like a good'un too and this time I've gone with a car I know, or rather, know of. A late Phase 1 car, it was formerly owned by Keith Adams of Octane fame. Keith's words have also appeared here on PistonHeads of course, his PH Heroes piece on the
including a cameo appearance from my BX.
I bought it from his son, Evo writer Matt Hayward. So it's had the right sort of people looking after it and comes with a ring binder full to bursting with history. Matt's been kind enough to put it through an MOT, too, so it comes with a fresh 12 months, and as a result I get some assurance that there's no structural rust to worry about. It isn't perfect, I'll admit, but the work that needs doing is cosmetic, and runs to some touching up of the paintwork and the grinding down of a few spots of surface rust. A reasonable 116,000 miles, a new alternator, and an aftermarket exhaust that I may or may not change complete the picture.
VOT's first appearance on PH
How, though, is a 24-year-old Citroen a sensible used purchase? It isn't really. But I'm lucky enough to have known PHer Rich (
) for around eight years now. Rich has had
for roughly the same amount of time, and in the intervening period has bought, sold, rebuilt and saved a fair number of others, so he knows his way around them. He also happens to run Southways Automotive, a Fareham-based firm specialising in kit cars, as well as TVR and (since Rich's arrival) Citroen restoration and repair. Rich has kindly offered to look after the BX for me and help as and when things split, snap or fall off, as is their wont with a car of this age. And having a mate who knows his stuff is a huge boon when you're about as competent wielding a spanner as a great crested newt.
So there we have it. It's a warm welcome to the fleet for something old, French and slightly odd, and I'm filled with anticipation of a summer spent going up and down, as well as forwards and backwards. More on my plans for the BX next month; for now, I'm off for an exploratory drive.
Car: 1989 Citroen BX GTI 16V
Run by: Scrof
Bought: April 2013
Purchase price: £800
Last month at a glance: Here it is, then: Scrof’s new car. Nobody say anything about newspaper...