By on April 14, 2012

Manual. Diesel. Hatchback. French. If this doesn’t tick all the boxes, I don’t know what will.

Up for grabs near Albany, New York is a 1977 Citroen CX Prestige. Outfitted with a diesel engine, a 5-speed manual and the famous hydraulic suspension.

This CX is not one of the CXA auto cars. Instead, it appears to have been privately imported, after spending its life in Algeria where it was owned by the French Diplomat Corps. The car has 63,243 miles, suggesting an easy life in the dry climes of North Africa, though it has spent 8 years in the United States. For just $3975, it can be yours.

Link via Bringatrailer.com

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55 Comments on “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité – Yours For $3975...”


  • avatar
    Vance Torino

    … and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Well the only thing that would worry me would be parts availability.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Wikipedia says 1.2 million produced (obviously only a fraction were diesels). Nonetheless in the era of the internet, if you have the $$, there’s likely a place to buy parts.

      • 0 avatar
        tonyola

        There might be plenty of parts but probably not in North America. “If you have the $$” is the operative phrase here. Anyone care to guess the cost of shipping, say, a windshield across the Atlantic?

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        @tonyola, I was just thinking of the mechanical bits including that amazingly complex suspension setup.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        It would not surprise me if the fraction that were diesels was nealry 1/2. The French LOVE diesels, and have since the 60s.

        The suspension is not all that complex really. It is the same thing that is under the back end of every Mercedes station wagon. High pressure pump, self-leveling valve, and a couple of hydraulic rams to adjust height. The actual dampers are oil over gas spheres connected to those rams.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Why would you get a windshield shipped? Just have a local glass company make you one. The most expensive part to ship would be an axle or possibly a new bench seat if they completely snapped their supports. Those two would probably cost about 150-200 dollars to ship. Still if you want something unique and interesting to drive to cruises that would be a pretty fun car to have.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        What do you mean have a local shop make a windshield? There are a few places that can create a curved windshield, but they cost more than this car is worth. There are current cars with designs that promote broken windshields that cost teens of hundreds of dollars to replace each time, but you don’t see anyone bothering with having their own made to save a buck.

    • 0 avatar
      twotone

      Most parts are readily available at your local machine shop.

      • 0 avatar
        indi500fan

        Checked Rockauto.com

        I was astounded at how many parts are shown for this car, including diesel stuff and a lot of the hyd suspension stuff.

        How about a water pump for $29, brake caliper $109, a KLARIUS/QUINTON HAZELL suspension “sphere” for $57, or a head gasket kit for $62?

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    Manual, diesel, hatchback. What’s not to like? Add to that advanced hydropneumatic suspension and futuristic instrument panel. OK, the hydropneumatic suspension thing might actually be a deterrent…

    Though the lack of droopy butt suggest that the suspension is in good condition.

  • avatar

    BEautiful. But I’m looking for a Peugeot 404

  • avatar
    kablamo

    That shot of the interior blows my mind. What’s with those gauges? It looks too simple to be a “Prestige” car.

    You’d have been a big deal driving this around Northern Africa 30 years ago.

  • avatar
    david42

    Diesel, French, manual: Oui.

    Hatchback: Non. These are sedans. The rear glass doesn’t move.

    Nonetheless, j’adore.

  • avatar
    cannyfriar

    A fantastic(al) car, one of my favourites. I presume (and hope) the buyer can change the registration plates in the US (in the UK the plates stay with the car for life)?

    • 0 avatar
      ciddyguy

      Look at it again, there are New York plates on top of the original plates, no need, just register it in your state of choice is my guess.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Those plates look like they were Photoshopped on. Especially on the 3/4 rear shot. Unless maybe the camera’s flash hit the plate just right.

        Makes me worried that the owner “touched up” some other things in the pictures.

      • 0 avatar
        gettysburg

        @ajla

        The plate does look a little funny but I suspect that it due to of the reflective paint used on license plates

  • avatar
    Colinpolyps

    I would like one in chartreuse please, not the city, the color.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    My dad bought a used one of these back in the late 80′s (in Austria at the time). To a 6 year old boy, the raising/lower of the hydropneumatic suspension system that made this thing feel like a spaceship from the future was possibly the coolest thing of all time. I remember the interior of these things were pretty funky too.

    Still the coolest car we ever had.

  • avatar
    BMWnut

    I was going to vote crack pipe, but then I realized I’m not on _that_ website…

  • avatar
    FrankTheCat

    Oh damn it, that’s a 20 minute drive from where I’m sitting. I wish I had $4000 in spare cash right now.

  • avatar
    Chipper Carb

    Who else is singing the Target commercial in their head?? Probably just me :(

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      How bout “Lady Marmalade” instead… although I’m just picturing the video from when the song was remade not actually hearing the words and music.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Can’t speak for diesel but body integrity was the CX weak spot – not the complex mechanicals. Which that speaks best of I’m not sure…CX got Peugeot hooked mid-life with a more conservative make over of the interior.

  • avatar
    sco

    I like it but am just about to drive home from work in my Peugeot 504 and cannot afford any more nonsense in my life. That interior is just Elroy Jetson cool however.

  • avatar
    volvo_nut

    I need 4 grand, a ride to upstate NY…and a garage.

    dammit.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Fail Wheel Drive, no V8 and a level of mechanical complication only Sheldon would love.

    I love the style of these (it reminded me fondly my small Majorette cars from my childhood), and would love to be able to drive or sit in one some day or even see its guts, but as an ownership proposition, no gracias.

    I already saw how they put together the Xantia (it is still in production, somewhere), and although VERY interesting, it is not something I’d like to fix or pay to have fixed.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Fail wheel drive? Really?

      • 0 avatar
        MrWhopee

        Indeed, Fail wheel drive? Really?

        There are instances were some cars ought to come in rear wheel drive, like sports cars, full size pickup and vans and such, but for more general car application, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with front wheel drive. Do you want the likes of Camrys and Corollas and Yarises be rear wheel drive? What for? These aren’t bought for sublime balance and for carving corners. FWD means much better space utilization. As one that grows up with a RWD small car in the family (1982 Toyota Corolla), for that application, RWD is the fail wheel drive! Not enough power to have any fun, none of the good, sublime handling of a sports car, numb steering, the RWD configuration just taking up interior space making the passenger room incredibly cramped. Not to mention huge tunnel in the middle taking up legrooms.

        BTW, you remind me that I think I also have a CX Marjorette in my youth… Fond memory.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      Platform bigotry sucks, and so does a narrow world view (no V8?)

    • 0 avatar
      svenmeier

      All Citroens have been FWD (with a few AWD options in the ’80s and ’90s) since after World War II. Citroen was and still is an innovative company and back in the ’30s and ’50s FWD was seen as the future. FWD is also the reason why the CX handled well and was so roomy inside.

      No V8? Why does everything need a V8? French horsepower taxation in those days meant that most cars, even large cars, had relatively small and weak motors. By the standards of the day the CX actually had a big engine (2.0 and later 2.5) when most French cars had sub 1-liter motors or in the 1.1 to 1.3-l range. A 2.0 motor was BIG in those days. Most of the Renaults I drove had 1.2-l engines and they were slow but they weren’t underpowered in the sense that they couldn’t get up to speed quickly and so forth.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Depending on what you want, this is a hell of a deal.

    A couple of S&M sessions with a dominatrix can easily add up to thousands.

    This will torture you in the same way, perpetually.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    Is this the one with the rear axle in the trunk? I remember seeing a citroen (during my college years) with the rear axle clearly visible in the trunk. The only thing protecting your stuff from that axle was a bit of folded cardboard over the aforementioned axle.

    On the topic of odd designs – the upright radio in the center console. I remember many 90′s CD players would not function in these cars since they were not designed to operate in that plane. Of course, no one knew that until the first CD played in the unit got destroyed – along with the CD player.

    I think I’ll pass on this one….

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    After having the displeasure of driving a 2CV I’vr pretty much tossed out the idea of buying any French car. Most French cars rust, have no guts, fall apart at any moment, and parts aren’t so easy to find.

    These Citroens were known for having more leaks than any other car at the time, weak bodies, and being pricey to service.

    I’d sooner pick up a Citation or a Pony than anything French.

    • 0 avatar
      volvo_nut

      You’re missing the point.

    • 0 avatar
      svenmeier

      “After having the displeasure of driving a 2CV I’vr pretty much tossed out the idea of buying any French car. Most French cars rust, have no guts, fall apart at any moment, and parts aren’t so easy to find.”
      ———————————————

      The 2CV is one of Citroens most reliable products ever and was one of the most advanced small cars in the world at the time. Its design is simple and utilitarian but underneath all that is intelligent design and engineering. Any person who criticizes this car based on appearances simply has no clue.

      I owned one. It was my first car. It never let me down. Never ever. It was not fast but it got me from A to B with minimal costs. Even in its day the 2CV was an expression of individuality and happiness in life. It was a simple car for people who didn’t need much to enjoy life. I sitll have a soft spot for them today and would gladly buy one as a classic daily driver but they now start at 15,000 EUR for a good example and I have no need for a classic car.

      You have no idea about French cars if you claim they rust quickly and fall apart. In France in the 1950s and 1970s consumers demanded cheap cars to get them around. Cars were cheaply made but they were reliable. The French horsepower fiscal tax system meant cars with big engines and big power were expensive to own and run so smaller engines and with low power were the norm. Cars back then were light so the low power wasn’t really an issue. And the cars got you from A to B so you could work or have a family vacation. A French family in the 1960s and 1970s drove all over Europe in a simple Renault 4 or Citroen 2CV/Dyane for example. And these cars had less than 30-horsepower.

      And even so French cars were durable for the standards of the time surviving the harsh conditions in North Africa, Middle East and South East Asia.

      “These Citroens were known for having more leaks than any other car at the time, weak bodies, and being pricey to service.”
      ———————————————–

      They were expensive to service because Citroen generally offered more premium oriented products than their French rivals. However they also offered cheap cars that were very reliable ans easy to fix like the 2CV, Ami/Ami 6, Mehari, Dyane and many more.

      “I’d sooner pick up a Citation or a Pony than anything French.
      ———————————————-

      Many French cars from the ’50s up to the ’80s are still running strong and reliably in places like North Africa, South East Asia and the Middle East. Let’s see your Citation survive in those conditions.

  • avatar
    silverkris

    This brings back memories of riding in a BX in the late 1980′s in Taiwan. First impression was of the car rising and lowering their air suspension after my luggage was loaded into the trunk.

    And it had an incredibly comfy ride, too.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    I’m surprised nobody mentioned WHAT the NY plate says, that this diesel may have been run on hamburger grease – or french fry oil. If that doesn’t bother anybody, what about the trailer hitch?

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      Why on earth should anybody be concerned about either? Biodiesel is not “french fry oil”, and towing a trailer is not intrinsically damaging or abusive.

  • avatar
    360joules

    It’s the super Chevy Citation! What’s not to love?

  • avatar
    righteousball

    This is my all-time favorite car, period, with early-model Citroen GS a very close second.

    Most people who enjoy Clarkson-era Top Gear will gasp at the sight of a supercar of their choice. Not me. This is what makes me gasp and stop in my tracks. And this is the car I would buy and pay big money to restore.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Sure looks like a hatchback at first glance, but that rear photo seems to show a “split” in the rear window trim where the trunk (?) lid seems to hinge.
    The “D” after the CX looks like an applique (hey, FRENCH) – I wonder what that’s all about? “Gun Trigger” door releases?
    Supposedly, this model was a “stretch limo” model that served to motor Jacques Chirac around, so in addition to a cushy ride, it probably needed to be capable of being driven hard (should the need arise).

  • avatar
    Dr.Nick

    For some reason, the DS, SM and CX series really do it for me. I think they’re all fabulous.

    I also have a soft spot for Studebaker and AMC.

    I think I may have a problem.

  • avatar

    I bought one of these (a ’79 CX Pallas in enthisiast-friendly brown) and had a love-hate relationship with it. I was only 19, and didn’t have the financial means to really maintain it. It was an awesome car to drive on long trips, and the hydropneumatic system (not just the suspension – the steering and brakes all are part of the same system) is an amazing piece of engineering. Add in the bathroom scale gauges, spare tire under the hood with the engine, and weird switchgear, and it’s a geeky kid’s dream.

    But there’s a particular circle of hell reserved for the person who has to push-start a CX after it’s been sitting for a while. Eventually, mine had to go to the junkyard.

    But I’ve been looking for another one – I’ve got another 20+ years of wisdom, and really should know better, but I do love these cars.

    And no, it’s not a hatchback. That’s a trunk.

  • avatar
    Joss

    This project will be MORE than $3975. Why Citroen engineers carefully concealed 2 CV progress from the invaders…

    Fail wheel drive sans the trans hump: Couldn’t agree more and firsthand experience as piggy-in-the-middle, back seat, two sisters either side. Rover P6 to Renault 16.

  • avatar
    FPF422

    You will have to get used to the Diravi steering which is quite peculiar, other than that it’s a flying carpet ride on all road surfaces…

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    During this era and well into the eighties I remember seeing small ads for these in the back section of car magazines . These were offered new through an importer in Austin , Texas- don’t know if they were gray market or emision certified or not – certainly they have always been a rare sighting here . The last one I remember seeing here in Houston was a slightly later one that I saw in the parking lot for a body shop with a banged up front fender and it sat there for many months . This was possibly ten years ago .

  • avatar
    ekaftan

    Its an early series one Prestige with no air conditioner… a rare car.

  • avatar
    svenmeier

    Ah, this brings back memories. I’ve always admired the Citroen CX. No other car in Europe in those days offered such massive interior space and comfort (along with the Peugeot 505). Not even the mighty Germans with Mercedes could match these cars for interior space (and payload capacity).

    I drove only French cars in the ’70s and ’80s (mostly Renault company cars, but I privately owned a Peugeot 505 Break diesel) and I had some experiences with the CX, but not the diesels. I drove two CX Series I’s with the 2.0 motor and they were not bad. The cars were heavy so performance was a bit on the slow side, but not underpowered in that sense. The steering response was surprisingly tight and “almost BMW-like”. The CXs handled well for such a long and heavy car. Manual transmission was relatively smooth and had short throws, but the clutch was vague and light. Interior ergonomics were terrible but typical Citroenish in those days. Cabin build quality didn’t look impressive but they were built to last. A unique thing about the CX was that the blinker stalks had to be manually put back into non-blinking mode after you signaled and turned into your direction. I remember that well because at first I thought there was something broken with them! But I later learned that this was normal on all CXs.

    The hydropneumatic suspension was actually quite reliable by the standards of the day. They were generally capable of reaching 200,000 km without issues before the LHM gas had to be replaced and if they were checked every 25,000/50,000 km and if the car was used on a daily basis. A CX that isn’t used means a potentially problematic hydropneumatic suspension suspension. It was the same case with the Mercedes 450SEL 6.9.

    I have fond memories of the car. Back in ’70s and ’80s Europe this car was highly respected and sought after. They were considered very reliable and comfortable. Major downsides were expensive spare parts if something broke and had to be serviced, but the big Citroens were never cheap to own in that sense. They were also big cars for European standards of the time so they couldn’t be parked in many garages or parking spots in cities!!


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