CX Grief

Citroën CXs are usually pretty reliable for old cars, but, given their age, I like to keep a couple on the road. At the beginning of December ’02, I had four legally driveable.

“Safety from breakdown and choice of driving pleasures”, I thought. You’ve probably guessed what happened over the next three months:

  • SOF (1977 Prestige): ignition key breaks: RAC sorts out, garage fix;
  • Turbo (1986 Saloon): pick up after restoration; fuel pipe leak: RAC rescue; garage fixed;
  • Turbo: another fuel pipe leak: garage rescue and fix;
  • Turbo: radiator water leak: RAC rescue; car off road;
  • ATM (1985 Pallas): coil fails; RAC quick fix; coil replaced by garage;
  • ATM: air intake unit (?) fails as a consequence of coil failure; RAC chewing–gum, creep to garage for fix;
  • SOF: only one end rises; ride to garage; MOT requires welding; car off road;
  • Turbo: high pressure LHM leak whilst being put on truck following radiator leak; garage fix; don’t trust car; still off road;
  • Presidential (1977 Elysées Palace Prestige): key breaks in lock;
  • Presidential: put in barn for the remainder of winter;
  • ATM: key breaks in lock as I’m about to go to garage to get locks replaced;
  • Presidential: out of barn; it’s been under cover for a whole four hours; it’s now my only drivable car;
  • A Citroën specialist was thrown out of his premises by his landlord. Amongst other things, that specialist received three months notice, but only gave me a week’s notice to remove a 1961 DS awaiting restoration. I had paid for most of that restoration seven years ago, which hadn’t even been started. This man has moved recently, and mysteriously seems to have forgotten to tell anyone his new address. Does is anticipate legal action? If my understanding of the law is correct, I’ll have to join in to avoid losing out completely;
  • ATM: can’t get old ignition barrel out; takes me three weeks and much anglo–saxon; car off road;
  • Presidential: puncture—I can’t get the wheel off; RAC fix;
  • Discover the unstarted restoration job has vanished;
  • SOF: back from garage yesterday; alternator belt breaks today.

For three weeks I only had use of the Presidential.

The RAC have written me a rather nasty letter for excessive use of their service; I can’t really blame them. Fortunately, I’ve been a member for yonks, so I didn’t quite fade beyond their pale.

The Turbo was fresh from restoration and thus liable to have problems. CX coils fail regularly, but I’ve never heard of one causing an air intake unit to fail too (if that’s what it is) which is probably why it wasn’t checked. Most of the remaining problems were caused by three of four sets of car keys breaking in locks. I don’t think I can really blame the specialist garage I use for this run of bad luck, so I haven’t named them.

You know that story in the bible about a chap called Job? They guy whose faith in God was tested by Satan: his sons were slaughtered, his life and livelihood destroyed, but Job kept faith despite Satan’s efforts? Well, I seem to have become an auto–Job. Like Job, my faith is undiminished, although perhaps it’s a little excessive to compare compare Job’s faith in his God & the loss of his family with my refusal to drive anything but big old Citroëns despite some irritating auto–inconvenience.

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