by Arian Smits, images by Doug Breithaupt
In continue of the Citroen History, here is the last episode.
In 1968 BMC (British Motor Corporation) introduced a prototype that was called BMC 1800 Pininfarina. This name must be familiar with Matchbox collectors because it's an early 70's Superfast. But what does this car do in a Citroen story? This prototype inspired Robert Opron the designer of the CX, the car that had to succeed the world famous DS.
In august 1974 Citroen introduced the CX model. This big comfortable car had the tough job to fill the gap that was left by the DS in 1975. It succeeded because the car was beautifully shaped and had a lot of qualities in road-holding, steering and comfort. The long-lined body, its inclined rear window, one large window-wiper that washed the enormous windshield and headlights in a never seen shape, made it a European luxury car of the 70's.
Production increased after the DS was taken out of production in 1975 and the very large break (station wagon) and diesel were introduced in 1976. This diesel CX was the first ever diesel engine Citroen passenger car, (trucks had diesel engines before WWII).
After the facelift in 1985 the CX could stand the competition until in 1989 when production stopped after just over one million cars were built. The XM took over. The CX break stayed until 1991 when the equivalent XM model was introduced.
The Models in 1:64 Scale
There have been some 10 different CX models of which the Majorette berline (sedan) and the Matchbox break are the best known models.
The Italian firm of Polistil was the first to introduce a CX in 1976. This model has a good body shape and is well detailed.
The Majorette model was introduced strangely late in 1979 as was the Matchbox. The Majorette CX is one of my favorite 1/64 cars. The metallic silver car I have must have traveled thousands of miles over the table and the carpets mostly with or sometimes without its boat trailer. The detail is perfect with its black grille and clear rear lights. And its suspension is like we know it from Majorette, perfect.
The Matchbox also features a good suspension to confirm a comfortable ride for the passengers in the seats of the break or the wounded in the ambulance. The ambulance is not just a white break but has closed side panels and off course, the blue warning lights on the roof. This version was also available in a double pack as a Police marine division towing a boat on a trailer.
Other CX's are made by the French firm of Norev. A good model although a bit narrow. Guisval and Mira of Spain made their examples for their mainly Spanish market. Which make them not easy to find today. But they will not cost a fortune. The same goes for the Greek Polfi-toys model.
More internationally known are the Yatming, Playart and Wheeler Toys cars from Hong Kong.
The Wheeler Toys model is quite crude but the CX is typical enough to recognize. It is the only model to feature what n the 70's was enormous popular "louvres" over the rear window. These louvres held the sun outside and were seen on many cars in the 70's and early 80's.
A common misunderstanding is that the CX models of Playart and Yatming are the same castings. Their overall lines may look the same but when you look closer you can see that the cars differ from each other. The Playart does not have any body casting below the opening front doors and the when you look close you can seen that the rear windows and panel between the rear lights do not have the same shape. The fender between the front wheel and the bumper is also not the same.
It looks like they have the same front though. But who was first, the Playart. The quality and detail of both cars is good. Although they both made the same silly mistake with a base that shows a rear wheel driven car! Citroen did not make any rear wheel driven cars after the 1934 Traction Avant.
With the last Citroen imported in the USA we have come to the end of the Citroen model car history. One last image of the current Citroen Xsera Rally Car by Guisval, is shown here. This image was not available for the original installment of the Citroen story.
Ambulance - Matchbox
Wheeler Toys (W.T.)