Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Citroën BX 4TC

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The Citroën BX is a modern marvel. (Well, I say 'modern' - it was in production from 1982-94 - all about perspective, innit?) It took the pillowy, cushiony ride of the DS/CX's mould-breaking hydropneumatic suspension and combined it with some magnificently angular design, with creases so sharp you could juice a lemon on them. And while those in the know may remind you that the silhouette is technically a Volvo in spirit - Bertone designed the Tundra in '79, but Volvo didn't want it after all - you can't argue that the entire bonkers whole isn't unquestionably Citroën through and through.

...and in 1986, they decided to turn it into a Group B monster. Well, what could possibly go wrong? Renault had successfully achieved the same with the 5 Turbo, and Peugeot were taking all kinds of scalps with their 205 T16. So, with tongues poking out of the corners of mouths, Citroën set about reworking the BX into the 4TC.
The rules of multiplication for turbocharged engines (a factor of 1.4, with an overall ceiling of 3.0-litres) saw the 2,155cc engine downsleeved to 2,141.5cc, and the unit was mounted longitudinally rather than transversely, leading to a cartoonishly long nose. The hydropneumatics comprised the unique setup of the SM and, thanks to homologation rules, they had to build 200 streetable versions too.
OK, the 4TC wasn't very successful. It managed a sixth place finish on the 1986 Swedish Rally, but the model only actually competed in three events before Group B was cancelled. The rumour is that Citroën were a bit embarrassed by the 4TC, and sought to recover and destroy as many of them as possible. Whether or not that's true, it's pretty unusual to see one these days.

This one was growling menacingly at the Goodwood 72MM event - click here for more photos.

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