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

  • clubsportguy 12 Sep 2013

    I remember working at a Citroen dealership back in the day and the 16v BX being my fave car to drive.Sadly not many left on the roads.

  • pilchardthecat 12 Sep 2013

    Had one. Loved it. Everyone thought i was weird. Which i am.

  • TheGnome 12 Sep 2013

    Fantastic cars! My folks went through 4...which possibly explains why there's none left!

    First one from new to 200k, eventually it became uneconomical to repair (suspension and gearbox I think?). We went all over Europe in it several times. Lots of memories as a kid in that one! Then had a series of high-mileage rotters which lasted around 18 months each. That period also earned us a reputation with friends for being late, and denied membership of the AA for the number of breakdowns we'd had! Great fun - yes, reliable - not so much...

    My outstanding memory was soon after i'd passed my test my parents had put me on the insurance but mum had always been apprehensive about actually letting me drive. One night dad said "don't tell mum, but come with me to get some milk" he chucked me the keys and we went for a late night drive around the ring road! I remember accelerating through 1st onto the dual carriageway and changing into 2nd around 3000rpm (as I normally did from learning). Dad laughed and said, don't change, keep your foot down, dont change! To me it sounded like the engine screamed it's way around to the redline, I was sure it was going to go bang! My first real experience of a power band and acceleration from a drivers seat. Cracking fun!

    Enjoy the car!

  • Adrian E 12 Sep 2013

    I may have a spare parcel shelf if you need one to cut for speakers - disconnecting the c pillar speakers and some decent shelf mount speakers make a massive difference. If you can find any quality speakers to fit the front doors you'll want to dynomat inside the door!

    Does your new radio switch on and off with ignition and dim lights when you switch headlights on? If no to either there's a very simple wiring mod you can do with little effort smile

    Glad it was only the switch - diesel one fitted I presume?

  • Lowtimer 12 Sep 2013


    I'm so glad you're putting in the effort to bring this back up to a proper state, even though it is of low capital value. It's a car I like very much and I am enjoying reading about it. Hope it gives you a lot of pleasure.

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