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MR_BOL'S EUROSHITE SCANS - New Jan 2018 - EARLY CITROEN GS 1015


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#61 ONLINE   Mr_Bo11ox

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:15 PM

Anyone up for another of these? Maybe the holy grail of shite cars will tickle your fancy.

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The Tagora was supposed to be the most luxurious and powerful of the French saloons, and should have battled with Mercedes and BMW. But, the purchase of Chrysler by Peugeot and the oil crisis brutally cut short its ambitions in ways it could not resist. A great shame, as it was in some ways an exceptionally capable vehicle.

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1981 - Top of the Range

The Tagora, did it ever even have a tiny chance of success? With the benefit of hindsight, its easy to say ‘no’. But even in its heyday, observers were making dubious noises about this top-of-the-range saloon that was supposed to take on Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, the Peugeot 604….. and so on. Certain folk wondered about what interests there were for PSA to proceed with the launch of the Tagora, right in the middle of the oil crisis when Iran was on the verge of its sad ‘revolution’.

But when it bought Chrysler, Peugeot found amongst the packing cases the ‘c9 project’, partially developed by the British wing of the American manufacturer and styled under the guidance of Art Blakeslee. A 3-box, 4-door saloon with a resolutely American look, that Peugeot would revise to give a more European air and to help integrate its own mechanical components. It had a large glass area, with very thin pillars that penetrated below the level of the scuttle panel. The pronounced waistline decoupled the upper and lower halves of the car and accentuated the slope of the bonnet, which led to an almost-vertical front grille, with wide headlights that had a sort of 604 look to them. There was no rear hatch, just a classic boot arrangement and a swage line that joined the front lights to the rears, not unlike the Horizon. With a length of 4.63 metres (11cm longer than an R30, but 9cm shorter than a 604), and a record (for a French car) width of 1.81 m, plus a wheelbase of 2.81m, it was possible to offer a limousine-sized cabin. The interior featured a high level of standard equipment, comfortable, well-designed seats and a very modern dashboard layout with 2 large dials (one of which would be a rev-counter or clock depending on trim level) and an impressive battery of warning lights. The rear view mirrors were adjustable from inside, the headlamp height could be adjusted by the driver, the front windows were electrically operated and central locking was included on all models except the GL. The Tagora could also be provided with an on-board computer, which gave you the time, elapsed time, tripmeter, and average and instant fuel consumption. More original, a console was fitted on the dashboard which informed the driver of the condition of the rear bulbs, oil level, coolant level, and brake pad wear. All these lights were supposed to light up on ignition then go out after 5 seconds. If one stayed on, then it would point you towards a problem.

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'General Tagora': Whilst researching the history of Peugeot/Simca/Talbot, a top manager of the day (now sadly deceased) who’d been working at Simca-Talbot in the late 70’s early 80’s told me an interesting anecdote: “when in 1980 we had to come up with a name for the new big car, we made a deal with an external specialist who, for a not inconsequential sum of money, used a computer program to generate for us several dozen name possibilities. One of these was ‘Tagora’ which seemed well suited due to the ‘Ta’ element matching with Talbot. Later on we were bemused to see one of our directors with a video cassette that he’d confiscated from his young son – it was ‘100,000 dollars to the sun’ made in 1963 by Henri Verneuil which featured a charater named General Tagora operating in Ouarzazate in southern Morocco, where Jean-Paul Belmondo and Lino Ventura were playing adventurous truckers undertaking trans-saharan voyages. However without knowing anything about this film, the top managers of PSA chose the same Ouarzazate location to preview the new car to the global automobile press! I wrote to Henri Vernueil to ask him where he’d got the name from, but he never replied. Perhaps he thought it was a joke, much like I did in 1979 when I learned Simca was going to be renamed Talbot.”


Presented in October 1980 at the Salon de l’Automobile, and then released to the press shortly afterward in Ouarzazate, southern Morocco, the Tagora was modern underneath as well, with 4-wheel independent suspension despite its RWD chassis. A transaxle layout was considered but was ultimately discounted on the grounds that it would have necessitated an entirely new drivetrain and floorpan design. So no FWD, but a transmission layout which necessitated a transmission tunnel. Disc brakes were employed at the front, drums at the back (except the SX which had 4-wheel discs), floorpan and suspension pinched with minor revisions from the 505 and 604, 4 or 5-speed box. Engine wise, the Tagora featured a 2155cc development of the Chrysler 2L unit, which itself soldiered on in production in Spain. This engine is an inline 4-cyl unit installed at an angle of 15° to the vertical, making 115bhp at 5400rpm. Arguably an ‘antiquity’ with its iron block, though which had proved pretty reliable in its earlier career, it was spruced up with electronic ignition and improvements to the carburation. A second option was the PRV (Peugeot, Renault, Volvo) V6 unit which was already available in the R30 and the 604. IN the case of the Tagora it was uprated to 165bhp rather than the 144 in the 604. Still with a capacity of 2664cc, but fed with two triple-choke carburettors. Finally a diesel option using the 80hp turbocharged 2.3 indenor unit, as found in the 604 was proposed.

As well as the different engines, four different trim levels were offered, these being GL, GLS, DT and SX. The base model was the GLS, which could only be supplied with the 2.2 engine and came as standard with a 4-spd box (5-spd was available as an optional extra). On the dash, the rev-counter was replaced by an analogue clock. ON the GLS, the 5-spd box was standard and it also benefited from power steering, trim strips round the waistline, rear seat belts, velour seats with headrests in the front, electric rev-counter, digital clock and electric front windows. These two models hit the market in February 1981. The DT model was similar to the GLS, but without the rev counter and of course had the diesel engine. It had a 60Ah battery instead of 44Ah and weighed 100kg more than the petrol equivalent. Finally, the SX was of course the best-equipped, with the 2.6 V6 engine, 5-spd box, rear disc brakes, uprated rear suspension, alloy wheels with metric tyres, tinted glass, height-adjustable drivers seat, rear head rests, on-board computer, and additional dials for the oil pressure and ammeter. The DT and SX models appeared in July 1981.

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The ‘Presidential’
It was at the 1981 Frankfurt Salon that Peugeot unveiled a unique Tagora variant (actually 3 examples were produced, the show car and two others with interior modifications only) conceived by PSA’s Advanced Styling Bureau. The Idea was to offer to captains of industry an executive vehicle that was also a full-on communications centre. Mechanically, the Presidence got the SX’s 2.6 V6 and a 3-speed automatic gearbox with floor shift. On the outside, a unique shade of metallic blue was employed, with metallic highlights in the trim strips, alloy wheels and unique badging. But it was mainly the interior that came in for special treatment with a top-notch in-car Dolby hi-fi system including a 100W amplifier installed under the bonnet, 4 speakers and individual headphone sets for the rear passengers. Elsewhere, there was a colour TV with VHS video cassette and Teletext plus a radio telephone and 2-speed cassette Dictaphone recorder. A telescopic roof-mounted aerial with its own signal amplifier and another aerial on the rear wing completed the techno-splurge. The interior was retrimmed by a british coachbuilder, mixing soft leather, pure wool fabric and thick wool carpets. This version would never get beyond prototype stage and is today displayed in the Peugeot-Simca-Talbot museum at Poissy.


The Tagora did not fire the enthusiasm of a customer base already perturbed by the fusion of the Chrysler and Peugeot networks. Various dealers took up new concessions with competitors or went independent. That didn’t help sales of a model which found itself in direct competition with the 604, with which it now shared showroom space. In parallel, the 1100 range was discontinued (except the commercial variants), the Horizon range given a shake-up, the 1510 (alpine) and Solara ranges streamlined, and the Samba was getting ready to appear. Basically the new alliance was not looking like great news for Talbot-Simca customers, who stayed away in droves.
Anyway, in July 1981 the SX and DT Tagora models went on sale as expected. But with a few bonus options in the catalogue: Auto gearbox on the GLS and SX along with a cruise control system identical to that of the Solara, leather trim on the SX (the electric sunroof option was seemingly listed but impossible to order!) Unfortunately the social situation at Talbot-Simca was looking dire and there was talk of 3000 redundancies. It was the time of the first big strikes which would hit production hard and send customers scurrying. During 1982 alone, Talbot lost an estimated 65,000 customers and fell dangerously into the red. Faced with this situation, development of the Tagora was compromised and it was clear to all parties that this top-of-the-range car was coming right at the wrong time, especially with the oil crisis taking hold as it was. Even the Tagora DT was thirstier than its competitors, the Garrett turbo generating 0.6bar of boost above 2000rpm helping to temper the fuel economy, along with the 100kg of extra ballast.

1983 – The end already!!!

Not much luck for the Tagora. Sales dropped to ‘symbolic’ levels, and by 1982 the GL version was already deleted from the brochure. Space was being made in the Poissy factory for the Peugeot 104 coupé, which would begin production there in March ’83. The SX bumped along unchanged, and the DT gained an auto gearbox option and cruise control. The manual box version saw its taxation class reduced by one notch due to a new diff ratio, which further dented the performance. Also on the DT, central locking was adopted as standard. All these models had just a few months left to live, with the model being canned in June 1983. Total production was 20,133 units. What a disaster!


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Luxury, badly presented

2 years and a few weeks of production, its not much. And if the commercial failure of the Tagora is obvious, its all the more regrettable considering how close it came to being a great car. But, the time of its arrival and the deliberate will of Peugeot not to overshadow its own 604, conspired heavily against it. First evidence of problems: The lack of care taken with the finish. For a supposedly luxurious car, its extremely poor: thin, cheap carpets, interior plastics as brittle as glass; fragile instrument stalks; sunvisors that drop off; door trims and dashboard that age and discolour faster than a TGV. Generally the finish is B+Q standard and even if the soundproofing is of a high standard, the creaks and rattles from the centre console betray it. The keen owner minimises trim rattles by carrying a few screwdrivers so he can frequently tighten everything up. Frankly its a bit of a disgrace.

Clearly, savings had been made as far as possible with the Tagora, taking costs out in order to make savings in the supply base and on assembly costs. An example? Headlamp lenses coming adrift. On prototypes and even on early brochures its possible to see the headlight lenses clamped in with 4 metal spring clips. But, although the headlamp casings included the moulding features for these clips, the clips themselves were obviously deleted as a cost saving and never appeared! Another example is the door trim mouldings, which aged very badly and often dropped off by themselves. Or the floormats, which had such tiny edgings on you could quickly destroy them and slip your feet inside like a big slipper! Or the rear parcel shelf, initially made from a horribly fragile vinyl which could be ruined after one summer, then ‘upgraded’ to a plastic moulding that quickly discoloured. The final 300 Tagoras featured an upholstered shelf which does actually last a reasonable amount of time. And don’t start of the electric windows. They’re of an appalling fragility, as there is no means of automatically cutting the power at maximum or minimum opening, making it short work to burn out the motor. And the heath-robinson system of cables and nylon pulleys is totally inadequate to support the weight of the glass. Even our readers who are fans of the Tagora, admit that the interior quality would be unacceptable on a 2CV, never mind a luxury car. As if to hammer the nail in at the spot where it will do most damage, here are a few other annoyances. The door mirrors are not only fragile but generate an infuriating, whistling wind noise. Replacement LH ones are rare and the RH ones non-existent. The ‘control centre’ warning light device was unreliable when new, so is guaranteed not to work properly now. The same goes for the on-board computer, for which the flow meter that permits calculation of fuel economy, never lasts more than 3,000 miles. The headlamp adjustment never worked, so forget that. The headlining is fun, being glued onto a fibre backing which degenerates over time before dropping down on your head while driving. Never get the headlining damp! Other issues: The door handles, shared with the solara, seize up. If you force them, they break rendering the door impossible to open! And the wipers develop a ludicrous amount of play in their nylon gears.

OK, you get it - the Tagora is a luxury car, cheaply finished. Or, a luxury car that needs finishing off! In line with this, Talbot made an effort to protect the Tagoras metalwork with a cataphoretic coating. Sadly, the panels themselves were often of a low quality, with a lot of recycled steel included. Its why, underneath the paint, even (almost) straight out of the factory, Tagoras often featured odd, isolated rust marks and stains in the paintwork, right in the middle of the bonnet or a door skin! So the Tagora is far from rust-resistant. But today, if it hasn’t been badly repaired, its not the end of the world. And there are only two really common rot spots; behind the rear wheels, where the mud builds up behind the mud flaps, and the front shock absorber mountings. Its worth also checking around the rear window, and the front chassis legs where the bumper bolts on. You can see it through the cooling vents in the bumper. On the other hand, if there have been repairs in this area, expect to see rust around where welding has been done as it may well not have been painted or treated properly afterwards. Finally on SX models, check the battery tray which is often eaten up by acid spillages.

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That’s about it for real gripes with the Tagora, though you could add a comment about the cheap, flimsy fusebox causing electrical problems or the tendency of the rear lights to go opaque. IN terms of the ownership experience, it’s a bit different to the 604. We’ll start by putting to one side the GL version with its non-assisted lorry steering and its extra-miserable interior. The 2.2 engine had been deliberately stifled to some extent by Peugeot, the air filter being particularly restrictive. However it’s a tough, reliable engine, almost unbreakable with several of our readers reporting kilometrages above 200,000 without any mechanical problems at all. The same goes for the diesel, which can even pass 400,000 km without difficulty. The gearing is slightly lower than the 604 diesel, which does no harm at all.

Its with the V6 engine however that the Talbot engineers really achieved miracles. Even if the engine looks much like a R30 or 604 unit, its actually significantly different inside. The camshaft has a totally different profile (identifiable by a ‘T’ stamped by the bearing surface on the chain end) and the cylinder heads are unique (marked D61 on the right and G60 on the left) with different, better-breathing inlet valve seats. The exhaust valves are unique to the Tagora. The green valve springs are harder than R30/604 items and the pistons (which themselves are forged, mahle items and unique to the Tagora) have a 3mm boss on their upper surface which boost the compression ratio to 9.5:1 instead of 8.6:1. This adds up to a marked difference in the character of the Tagora SX engine and the ‘ordinary’ PRV V6. Its only the gearing, identical to the 604, which dulls the response of the SX and stops it feeling like a bit of a racer. It can still touch 130mph however while making an impressive Ferrari-like noise! Don’t worry too much about the rev counter at these speeds as it will be totally inaccurate. The downside to the V6 is that it dislikes sitting about unused, and it hates driving in town. The 3 carburettors flood, leading to coughing, spluttering and hot starting problems. The SX needs to be caned!

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Final point, on the tyre situation. Talbot supplied the SX with 365mm TRX wheels, not unlike the Alpine A310. Opinions today are split on whether it’s a good idea to persevere with these tyres today, as they are rare and expensive, or whether to change to 15in wheels to provide more tyre choices. IN any case, its recommended to use V-rated tyres and add a little toe-in if the tyres wear quickly on the inner edge.

On the evidence, if the finish had been better, the Tagora could have made quite an impact on the French market as it offered a standard of ride and roadholding better than any of the competition. Even today, it seems amazingly modern, and is cheap and easy to maintain. And if the SX (1038 examples built) is the most sought-after version, the 2.2 GLS is an attractive compromise and very good value for money, for a top-of-the-range car sacrificed at the altar of short-term cashflow. It’s a car which deserves to be re-discovered urgently.
  • TagoraSX, Taff, inconsistant and 1 other like this

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#62 OFFLINE   garethj

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:38 PM

Top scanning, bo11!

From the write-up, owning one of those Tagoras nowadays makes a Panhard look sensible. I still would though

#63 ONLINE   Mr_Bo11ox

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 01:03 PM

Hey I've just realised I've missed a big chunk of that Tagora article. I'll sort it out later

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"THE 2.3 POWERTRAIN IS A SILENT IS AS A FISH, AND IT PULLS LIKE A GREAT"
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#64 OFFLINE   shedvan

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 01:48 PM

Great posting Mr Bo11ox these French magazines seem to outdo their UK counterparts quite easily don't they, more detail and insight in comparison.

That does make a bewitching case for the Tagora, sounds riddled with just the right amount of aggravation and virtue to make a top Shite car.

Incidentally was that right that the Ford Taunus had a 2.0 V6? Don't suppose that ever made it off mainland Europe?
Eating Quavers
Hard like Nigel Havers

#65 OFFLINE   garycox

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 04:42 PM

These are great, cheers for translating!!

1967 Simca 1301
1981 Austin Morris Mini 1.0 HL

1993 Peugeot 205 STDT

2000 Ford Mondeo 2.0 Ghia X Estate

2006 Ford C-Max 2.0 Ghia Auto


#66 OFFLINE   Luxobarges_Are_Us

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 07:55 PM

Mmmm what a way to celebrate my return to AS after a few days with limited to no access to the internets! :D

Merci Beaucoup, Misteur Bolleaux!
SHIT: The way you move!

#67 ONLINE   Mr_Bo11ox

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 09:36 PM

Text now updated to include the missing pages! :roll:

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#68 OFFLINE   TagoraSX

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 09:43 PM

Fantastique!

#69 ONLINE   Mr_Bo11ox

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 09:53 PM

I've got a wodge of these mags, I always buy one when I go over the channel. They are absolutley chocka with Qualz0rz euro-shite, this months had an 8-pager on the Alfa 6 which I will probably get round to eventually.

next up: Borgward Arabella, I had never even heard of this car, great story though.

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CHECK OUT MY AWARD-WINNING SHITE-FIXING BLOG HERE

"THE 2.3 POWERTRAIN IS A SILENT IS AS A FISH, AND IT PULLS LIKE A GREAT"
"The engine has airbrushed skulls on it"

"Car shows are full of mentals talking tosh"

"I promised her I would waxoyl her Polo"


#70 ONLINE   phil_lihp

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 10:03 PM

Nice work with the scans, thanks for taking the time to do it, that must have taken a while to translate. The 604/Tagora really did seem to be deficient in just about every aspect and therefore doomed from the start, madness really considering it was up against cars like the CX, I really can't see a reason why anyone would have bought one. Obviously that means muchos respect to anyone masochistic enough to own one now with the additional problem of 25+ years of decay.

50's chod's not normally my cup of tea but I passed an older gent driving a lovely off-white Isabella a little while ago and was pathetically excited not only to see one, but to recognise it.

#71 OFFLINE   Shep Shepherd

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 05:56 PM

I bought both Youngtimers and Gazoline in Dunkirk today - GR11 for brushing up on my French reading skills. If only we had equivalent magazines in the UK.

Cars come and cars go, but The Volvo abides.

 

The Volvo - 1990 Volvo 740 SE 2.0 Dogmatic estate.

 

The Aero - 2000 Saab 9-5 Aero 2.3 HOT manual estate.


#72 OFFLINE   pompei

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 06:26 PM

GR9 work, thanks for taking the time to scan and translate :D
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#73 OFFLINE   carlo

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 07:38 PM

Looking forward to the Alfa 6! Then perhaps I could commission a translation on one of my Glas V8 articles...

#74 ONLINE   Mr_Bo11ox

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:50 AM

I would, but theyre in German right? Sadly I suspect it would end up looking like a 2004 Babelfish effort.

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"THE 2.3 POWERTRAIN IS A SILENT IS AS A FISH, AND IT PULLS LIKE A GREAT"
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"I promised her I would waxoyl her Polo"


#75 OFFLINE   carlo

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:17 AM

I would, but theyre in German right? Sadly I suspect it would end up looking like a 2004 Babelfish effort.


Yes of course they are, didn't think of that. I'll just keep looking at the pictures!

#76 ONLINE   Mr_Bo11ox

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 10:02 PM

Alright shiters, here a new Euroshite box for you to soak up - no-one does any work on christmas eve so I sat in my office today and translated this for your delectation instead. CITROEN LN!

 

 

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It was the first child of a forced marriage between Peugeot & Citroen. And to be honest, it was not a star child. Illegitimate, hurriedly conceived under a cover of shame during an unenthusiastic honeymoon. The big dreams of the firm with the Chevrons were over, as it read the last rites to its two star players, the DS coming to the end of its career and the SM, for which so much had been hoped facing an abrupt chop. The hopes of maintaining a 1-year technological lead over competitors with the rotary engine as seen in the GS birotor and Ami M35 were buried once and for all. Peugeot had other plans for its princess in rags. The manufacturer from Sochaux had purchased Citroen as a means to attack the bottom end of the market. Was it a petty revernge effort from a company which had for years lived in the shadow of its flamboyant compatriot? Who knows. But in view of the ‘rejeton’ which came out of this (mis)alliance between the prudish and bourgoise Sochalienne and the elitist and inventive Javelienne, one can glean a rough idea…. Even if Peugeot made out to have dreamed up the car to ‘save’ its partner.

Unveiled in 1976 the Citroen LN was nothing other than the bodyshell of a Peugeot 104, the little 2-door ‘coupe’ hatchback, at the time selling itself wantonly as the car for a young and active clientele.  The LNA took all the 104’s attributes, only distinguishing itself with a pair of chevrons on a remodelled front grille plus revised headlights, indicators and front valance. Hardly enough to actually give the car its own personality. On the interior too, a quick makeover was carried out with the Citroën monospoke steering wheel and chevron logo being the only changes. IN fact, the only real feature which made the LN into a car in its own right was the engine: the 2-cylinder 2CV in its 602cc version, making 32hp at 5750 rpm. It was coupled with a GS 4-speed box which allowed the LN to couch 75mph approx. Not a lot there for a car which was to be stamped with a double chevron. No hydraulic suspension, to high technology…  It was just a 104, with a 2-cylinder voice that was its sole identifying feature.

 

LNA1.jpg

Built in both the Aulnay-sous-Bois factory and another in Forest, Belgium, the LN was shunned by the public despite an advertising campaign from the studios of Hergé. The suggestion was a little forced, making a point of the car’s young and friendly qualities, ‘the car that simplifies your life’. However sales were more symbolic than had been hoped for. Was it the fault of a straightforward lack of charm? Almost certainly. Although also the weakness of the car’s mechanicals were a factor. In November 1978, the LN became the LNA and was given the 652cc engine of the Visa, which brought 3 more horsepower but a remarkable 25% more torque. The public reacted ‘gently’ to this upgrade. But PSA battled on and in july 1982, a final development, the LNA 11E and RE were born, using the 1124 4-cylinder suitcase engine from the Visa, Talbot Samba and…. 104. Thus was finished the particularity of the car! The LNA joined the range until summer 1985, when all derivatives were quietly pulled. A total of 129,000 LN’s and 220,000 LNA’s were built. A dismal number for a car that was supposed to bring Citroen back to life. And the beginning of the end of the technological era for the firm from the Quai de Javel , reduced to being a subcontractor for the next 20 years.

 

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Saved from destruction - Bruno Viet’s 1981 LNA

Bruno Viet’s clock is stuck in the 1980’s. But, its not really his fault. Just a few years back he was already well into old cars, but more specifically 1950’s 2CV’s. But during the 90’s a succession of government scrappage schemes encouraged motorists to replace their old car with a new one. For Bruno it was a time of great joy and misery. Misery, because any number of interesting older cars went over the weigh bridge. Joy, because they could often be bought for a pittance, barely more than scrap value. “Sadly I didn't have enough space, money or time to save all the cars that interested me. But it was the scrappage scheme that brought this LNA into my custodianship as it was deemed too old! It was in much the same condition as you see it here, as it was very sound and driving perfectly. All I’ve done since is service it now and then. terrible to think it was going to end up flat!!!

 

Nevertheless, looking at it in the 21st century, it’s a car not without appeal. “I’ve never really known why, but ever since I first saw the LN, I felt it was a Citroen” says the owner of the 1981 LNA in our pics. “I remember that despite its appearance sat here, you never mistook an LN on the road. You could tell at once that it wasn’t a 104, with its short wheelbase and chopped-off coupe tail which never seemed to quite work as a Peugeot. What was the difference? The vertical indicators outboard of the headlamps? The 10-bar grille with tiny plastic chevrons barely chromed? The thin metal bumpers with their rubber strips and their corresponding rubber side strips? The side windows which looked bigger than the 104 versions, but which had just lost their vertical deflector strip? Or maybe the vinyl strip across the tail with a little ‘Citroen LNA’ monogram? No doubt it was all of these little things, plus the note of the engine which was of course nothing like the 104’s.

LNA2.jpg
 

On board, the sensation of belonging to the Citroen world is equally sparse. The seats are trimmed in a unique fabric, named ‘cockerels foot’.  No doubt a more masculine version of the ‘chickens foot’ name often given to this type of fabric with its repeating pattern evoking the footprint of our feathered friends. Its neat enough but quite forgettable. The comfort of the seats is pretty good, although some headrests wouldn’t go amiss. The general ambience inside is very restrained. Painted steel, plastic trim pieces and black leather-look vinyl. On the floor, a combination of rubber anti-slip mats. Nothing luxurious, functional above all, like the door trims with a simple armrest, a slightly obvious window winder handle and a form moulded around the winder mechanisim in the upper part of the door.

The dashboard is lifted from the 104, with a little tweak specific to the engine; the speedometer has 3 red sections and yellow markings to help the driver change gear at just the right moment. From 1979, the odometer changed to a six-digit unit. You’ll find this little nugget in the second gauge, on the left, where theres also warning lights for charging, main beam, sidelights, oli pressure, indicators. The other key difference from the 104 is the single-spoke citroen steering wheel. Everything else is 100% Peugeot and a lesson in vacuum-formed and injection moulded plastic. 80’s, before the 80’s arrived. The heating system, with its levers that direct the hot air into the drive’s face or feet, is good, though of course the the cold air comes straight in from outdoors. In those days of course manufacturers were not in the habit of integrating a complete climate control system like they are today. Such as it is, the efficiency of the heating system is excellent. Defrosting the screen is a quick operation and even in winter you can boil yourself up inside the cabin. The rear window gained a heating element from July 1980, which was more a necessity than a luxury as the angle of the rear window did not defrost itself terribly well even with the interior well heated. On the floor, a sort of console made for a token transmission tunnel feature, although it was only there to provide a home for a speaker in the event that someone fitted a radio (itself fitted at a not-very-ergonomic knee-height in a dedicated slot beneath the dashboard).

LNA3.jpg

 

Like the 104 coupe, the LNA is really a 2-seater, though the rear seat can accommodate, with some promiscuity, two passengers for a short while. It’s a proper seat, of which the back rest can be folded in two separate halves, helpful in view of the compact boot space. You get to the rear seats by folding the front ones, though it requires a certain flexibility of course to install yourself without clocking your head or an elbow or whatever. Basically the rear seat is really no good for anyone over 1.69m!

 

But, the most interesting feature is elsewhere. When you get behind the wheel and fire up the engine. There, you’re certain to notice something. The chuffing of the air-cooled twin is not at all what you expect from the ‘modern’ two-box bodyshell. It’s a bit like if you went to see a film and the sound was totally out of sync with the picture, the square-jawed hero speaking with a high pitched squeaky voice! Bizarre. “I told you, it’s a Citroen!” says  Bruno, noticing my slightly bewildered look. The gear lever is on the floor, which confuses the hardcore 2CV’er I think myself to be. I take a breath and set off into the traffic. “A bit weird, eh?” says my co-driver. “You’ll see though, you’ll soon take to it”. In fact, within a few minutes I’m completely at ease, ambling along the backroads of Laon, appreciating the small dimensions of the car. Very few people even notice the car let alone question the 2cv engine noise coming from it. The LN is not yet recognised as a ‘classic car’ of any note. Its nevertheless a very reliable, practical, and manoeuvreable little thing. Parking it is a treat, you can sneak it into a space no bigger than a handkerchief. Its very much a car for a housewife needing to take kids to school and fetch the shopping. A sort of French Fiat 500 if you like.

ScreenShot2013-12-24at215659.png
 

Driving

Any sort of driving sensations are limited by the clipped behaviour of the LNA’s chassis. One thing you do notice is the size, especially if you are taller than 1.9m. My head is brushing the headlining and the steering wheel is almost touching  my thighs. The seat is set as far back as it will go of course. Its not much bigger than a pencil-sharpener! But after a while I settle into a position which is comfortable as we bowl along the country lanes. The gear ratios are well chosen, although you have to take care with the gearlever due to a very wide neutral plane. The car lacks torque and power of course. To get up to 70 on the dual carriageway, takes time and commitment. No chance of battling with any GTi’s. I can just about hope to burn off the scooter that’s clogging up half the road in front of me. To get anything worthwhile out of it you have to gun it and make use of those orange markings on the speedometer. The twinpot revs up willingly and the sound tells you it’s loving being caned. The roadholding is excellent and braking (front discs, rear drums) really sharp despite the lack of servo and the whole set up encourages you to row the 706kg ensemble along enthusiastically. One downside is the ride quality. Theres no spheres or combined spring/damper units (like the 2CV) here and you’re a long way from the comfort they offer. You’re back in a Peugeot. Perfect on a smooth, well-surfaced road, downright harsh on the cobbles and rough surfaces. The car feels like its about to enter into some sort of resonance. “all four wheels are independent – very independent and you notice it particularly when you come across a hidden copper with a radar gun. Then you end up with your head in the headlining and a bashed coccycx. You’ve no chance of getting your eggs safely across a ploughed field in this car” confirms Bruno. 

A few kilometres later, we stop to have a squizz under the bonnet, opened with a little handle beneath the dashboard. The very least you can say is that  space is at a premium, even with a small 2-cylinder unit. Opening the bonnet the main thing you see is the spare wheel, lodged between the strut top to one side and the air filter to the other. To see more, you have to lift that out. Even so, its not easy to see beneath all the tubes, cables and other hardware,  the Visa’s aircooled unit, buried right down low. It’s lifted from the contemporary Visa club, although  supposedly develops an extra 0.5 horsepower at a slightly lower speed thanks to a twin-choke Solex carb and integral electronic ignition. The oil filler neck, breather system, front-mounted alternator are clearly visible and you are fairly sure you can see a GS gearbox under there too. “Its certainly the most compact front-drive set-up of any Citroen” says Bruno. The steering rack is also very discreet. Its also one of the cars best assets, with quite a high ratio giving a sharp, precise turn-in but never feeling heavy.

 

As my host says, “You can always criticise the idea of taking a car, giving it another car’s mechanics and hoping to create a big deal at little cost. But you have to admit, the car is much less awful than was claimed at the time”. The press, its true, was never easy on the LN. With the exception of ‘l’Automobile’, one of the few who found the car ‘very honest, and as good as it could be’ in its November 1976 edition, commenting on the disparity of the elements that had come together to create the LN. “Its not a poverty version of the 104, and its not a ‘grand touring’ version of the 2CV. In our opinon it’s a car with a personality very much its own, and which would be even more so if it just had a little more oomph. As it is, its an excellent town car, willing and friendly”.

With the LNA, PSA partially responded to these comments. But, only partially. They really needed to tray a lot harder to give this car its own personality, as peugeot tried to do with the 104 ZS. But Peugeot had other ambitions for this car which would ultimately come to fruition on another hybrid car, the Visa. With notably more success, thanks to a more considered gestation and a much more marked identity, both technical and aesthetic.

 

 


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#77 ONLINE   Pillock

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 10:07 PM

Wow, thanks Bol!

#78 ONLINE   Mr_Bo11ox

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 10:33 PM

Got another serious pile of shite coming up......

 

ScreenShot2013-12-27at222244.png


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#79 OFFLINE   ProgRocker

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 10:51 PM

I wish I had access to French car mags like these 19 years ago - I reckon that these could have helped me pass A Level French in 1996 and make the subject more enjoyable. Quel dommage!


Current shite: 2003 Nissan Almera SXE 2.2 dCi. (my dad thinks it's a sports car)


#80 OFFLINE   Alexg

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 12:56 AM

You translated all that? Amazing work, thanks!

1979 Allegro Estate S2

1985 Sinclair C5

1974 Renault 5 TL - SOLD

2001 Rover 75 Connoisseur SE 2.5 V6

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#81 OFFLINE   hauserplenty

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 05:12 AM

Top translating sir! Somebody ought to Youtube this stuff indeed!

 

Lovely bird...beaut'iful plewme-idge:

 

 

Right, he'll be taking the Wrecko exit here shortly:

 

 

Bad guys? Drive French cars? We?:

 

 

"OK, well you drive now:"

 

 

All aboard the Autoshite party bus:


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#82 ONLINE   Mr_Bo11ox

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 09:19 PM

Hey we've not had one of these for a while have we. I bought a copy of Gazoline while I was away so here is a little nugget about a grade A shite box which I am sure will interest you espiecially if you are one of our many Renner lickers. I knew nowt about these but they sound like top level shite, I bet they make a bloody awful daily. Want!!!!

 

P1060678.jpg

 

 

A MINIMALIST 4x4 - The renault 18 4x4 Break!

 

The world was not yet speaking of SUV's when, in 1983, Renault introduced its estate car equipped with a 4wd system. Only a few details differentiate it: A large stonechip band round the lower sections of the bodywork; a pair of indicator repeaters; a little 4x4 badge on the tailgate and a slightly taller ride height. It was hardlty a radical 4x4, but its capabilities were appreciated in mountainous regions for its increased safety on icy and slippery rough roads.

 

The Renner 18 4x4 was amed at a clientele who didnt want a big heavy traditional 4x4, but who couldnt stomach a mere pair of driven wheels. A sort of compromise, capable of performing as a conventionnal family car but up for a bit of scrambling now and then. Ambitions were modest and based on experiences learned with former 4x4 collaborator Sinpar. This time, the manufacturer opted for an in-house integral 4x4 transmission so as to minimise costs and achieve the simplest 4x4 package; an OT1 rear axle taken straight from the Trafic van and mounted on coil springs and modified twin-output gearbox with no transfer box or low-range gears, although the ratios were revised compared to the standard R18. The gearbox had a revised rear housing with the rear output flange engaged via a synchromeshed selector operated by a simple lever between the seats. The floorpan of the R18 needed some fairly major surgery to integrate this new layout and featured a new transmission tunnel, modified rear crossmember, revised suspension mounting points, exhaust and rear seat!!!

 

P1060675.jpg

The rear axle is a very slightly modified Trafic unit. To the right, the lever which engages the rear drive elements of the transmission.

 

Engaging the rear-drive is a little disarming as there is only a very short travel on the lever and a large force is required to operate it. But it can be done rapidly which is useful and it can be done on the move (with the clutch depressed of course). Handy if you encounter some unexpected ice ot whatever on the road. in 2wd operation, as there are no freewheeling hubs or diff, the rear transmission is always being 'towed along' as you drive which brings penalties in terms of noise, inertia, fuel consumption and performance. Its of course the downside of such a simple 4wd system. 2 4-cyl engines were available; the 1647cc/74ch petrol (actually replaced in 1986 by the 1995cc of the R18 GTX) or the 2068cc/67ch diesel. The petrol could achieve the slightly higher top speed of the two, in the region of 90mph. The diesel had better low-speed torque availability but was also heavier (particularly noticeable under braking).

 

P1060679.jpg

Good points: Performance on rough ground, comfort

Bad points: Underpowered, body roll in normal use

 

 

From inside, beyond the 4x4 lever and the 4x4 indicator light on the dash it was standard R18 fare. Where the interest comes, is in the driving. ON snow and loose surfaces, and steep slopes (up to 37%!) the traction is really impressive. Clearly you're not going to win any fights with a Land Rover of course, mainly due to the lack of any low-range gearing and the relatively large F & R overhangs. The R18 4x4 can quickly run out of steam in soft sand if you don't give it the beans which can seem a little brutal, and on undulating surfaces the pendular motion of the soft rear suspension can be a bit unpleasant. Its difficult to avoid that, and the rigidity of the rear axle can also induce oversteer and put you in a slide. This is entertaining if you want it but probably not if you are trying to get down an icy country lane. On top of that, to aid articulaion of the wheels Renault deleted the front anti roll bar. This works well at its intended function but on the road you certainly notice the increased wobbliness of the front end. LAst point is the ground clearance. Too low (16.5cm) for serious off road yomping. You have to approach obstacles slowly and take care not to belly the car out on its sump or floorpan! Take care with that or it'll be you who has to dig/push/shove it out.

 

P1060673.jpg

A little higher on its feet that the standard R18, the 4x4 also has a distinctive aesthetic treatment with the lower sections of the bodywork painted with an anthracite-coloured anti-stonechip coating.

 

In summary: A good car for playing at being a runaway! No more, no less.


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#83 OFFLINE   Split_Pin

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 09:25 PM

I enjoyed that, didn't know this car existed. Pity they don't make this instead of the Duster nowadays!

#84 OFFLINE   Alexg

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 10:00 PM

Top work again. I'm off to Leboncoin...


1979 Allegro Estate S2

1985 Sinclair C5

1974 Renault 5 TL - SOLD

2001 Rover 75 Connoisseur SE 2.5 V6

@alex_the_beard

 

 


#85 OFFLINE   catsinthewelder

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 10:06 PM

Top chod with a factory tidemark  EPIC WANT  !!!11!!  :D

 

Thanks for translating this Mr B


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#86 ONLINE   Felly Magic

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 10:11 PM

Slight cock up in the article though, the Renner Tragic was front wheel drive, so I doubt its the van rear axle somehow, otherwise its megashite


Yer can't beat a bit o' Autoshite

Felly :P

#87 ONLINE   Mr_Bo11ox

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 10:16 PM

Hey you're right!!!! I never thought of that.


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#88 ONLINE   Sandie

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 10:22 PM

There was a 4x4 version of the Trafic too, wasn't there?



#89 ONLINE   dollywobbler

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 10:34 PM

There was a 4x4 version of the Trafic too, wasn't there?

 

Yes. It used the rear axle of a Renault 18 and therefore created a paradox. This lost it some sales.


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#90 OFFLINE   catsinthewelder

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 11:01 PM

Heres a 4x4 Tragic

 

 

 

ES1vJ.jpg

 

b6JS1.jpg


96 Disastra Estate in Vulgalours hat purple
94 Peugeot 405 Estate
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