#WorstOf – France, The Citroën BX 4TC.

The dodgy eighties were beautiful, motorsport was great, rallying at its peak and Group B sounded and looked fantastic… Then came France, Citroën and the BX 4TC… Oh dear, I don’t like being French when talking about that car…

Group B was introduced in 1982 by the FIA to replace the Group 4 and 5. All in all, it permitted almost anything providing the manufacturers would produce 200 cars in order to homologate the car they were willing to race. It produced some of the most fearsome machine of the time and still to this day like the Audi Sport Quattro, Lancia 037, Lancia Delta S4, MG Metro 6R4 to name a few. France was well and successfully represented with the Peugeot 250 T16 and its Evo 2 but well, Citroën thought they could maybe have their play but it was probably the biggest fail ever.

Guy Verrier being Citroën head of competition department, you would be thinking he was a bit stupid… Believing a BX would make a good rally car, well you had to be dumb as fuck. A four door heavy load, even if throwing a bunch of money and a crazy engine, well, something must have been missing from the head of the people within the offices and not only his…

Citroën as part of the PSA Group is Peugeot sister brand, clearly, one was intelligent enough to chose the 205 as a basis for their Group B homologation special…

The Citroën BX 4TC exposed.
The Citroën BX 4TC exposed.

Anyway, the Citroën BX 4TC is no normal BX, it is an homologation special as well as all the other cars that took part in that fantastic era of rallying. Citroën had a limited budget, yeah, it didn’t start well… So yeah, they started developing the BX into the BX 4TC in order to get into the WRC for 1985.

In situ, the BX 4TC was a sort of short wheel based version of the normal four door road going version, engine was sourced from the Peugeot 505 Turbo, a Simca-Chrysler engine…  But a reliable and cheap four cylinder 2.2L Turbo reworked to be put within the front-end of the car. It would produce 200 break horsepower in “Série 200” Homologation version and 380 break horsepower in “Evolution” rally version using, in both version a Garret T3 Turbo . Funny is how it was put into the car.

The normal BX had a transverse installation and you would think that making the BX into a sort of short wheel base version you would also reduce front and rear overhang ? Well not at Citroën. They actually decided to install the engine longitudinally and therefore, they had to stretch the whole front-end of the car to 1,10m to get that engine in… 28cm more than the normal version and a weight distribution of 62% on the front…

Gearbox was a 5-speed unit, same as the Peugeot 205 T16 and sourced from an old PSA Citroën model, the SM. Actually, it was the only gearbox available and which could have coped with the power and torque of the engine. The four-wheel drive system, or let’s say part-time system as the car wasn’t a full four-wheel drive car and used a transfer box in order to power the rear wheels was developed using a Peugeot 505 differential and bits and pieces from other PSA Group models.

Suspension side, it was the last of all competition Citroën to use the hydropneumatic system which was, it was said, the cause of a massive understeering problem. Well, I just think it’s how the engine was put in the car… Brakes were 4-pot calipers sourced from the CX GTi Turbo using ventilated discs at the four corners.

Then came the styling, as the budget was low, many of the styling parts were sourced from other models as well. The wheels came from the CX GTi Turbo, the rear wing from a BX Sport. All in all, the cars were put together by Heuliez, they were the guys behind the BX Break so they were talented enough to do the job ! But no, quality was very poor.

And basically, everything was poor and bad for the BX 4TC, when introduced to the press, journalists were not impressed and wrote it down. The car was under-developed, not well conceived with the front-end being completely wrong and well, not even the four-wheel drive system could help defend the car…

Anyway, Citroën still and against all odds went tackling the likes of the Audi Sport Quattro, Peugeot 205 T16, Lancia Delta S4 in the WRC, their effort proved hard, the car being disliked by the drivers and the crowd. Conception was wrong… With the two cars entered in the 1986 Monte Carlo Rally both failing to finish it wasn’t a good start. Then, they scored a 6th place finish in Sweden and again a complete fail during the Acropolis Rally with the three entered cars failing to finish… Citroën decided to sit out and develop the car but would actually never return. Of course, 1986 would also mark the end of the Group B rally cars…

But being the biggest piece of crap that Citroën has produced, nobody really knows about it. At the time and when Citroën actually stopped its program, they tried to sell the cars with discounts of 40% but nobody would take them. The racing pedigree would never have helped, there wasn’t any… So they scrapped the cars and even offered to buy them back as apparently the special service needed would be too costly for the manufacturer… Well I just think they didn’t want that big, huge, heavy, unbalanced piece of crap to be terminated like it actually never existed !

And actually, we understand it but well, maybe I would buy one, one day, only to listen to Such a Shame by Talk Talk, it would fit perfectly ! Oh dodgy eighties…

Cheers,  Louis.

One thought on “#WorstOf – France, The Citroën BX 4TC.

  1. You shouldnt be so harsh. How many Group B rally cars have you designed??? Always easy to see problems in hindsight. They did the best they could with limited funds. Their Hydropneumatic suspension is brilliant and still miles ahead of anyone else.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s