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Exceeding BXpectations - Now With Added Renault 4

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The Smartphone has enabled us to do a great many things previously impossible. Perhaps the greatest of all is the ability of people on this little corner of the internet to provide live updates on their epic missions to collect epic* motors. Unfortunately this is what my phone looks like:

 

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Therefore I can't guarantee live updates on this one. I realise this is equivalent to John Simpson not bothering to visit a war zone, and instead reporting what happened from the studio three weeks after the war's ended, but it's the best I can do.

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Initially I thought even greater excitement would be added to the proceedings (not that they needed added excitement, of course) when it started to snow. Luckily the sun won out in that battle and most of the snow had melted off by the time I met my first conveyance of the day, ready for the 1h 45m journey that only takes 20 minutes by car:

 

 

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It's a Class 323 and aside from the noise they make I can't think of anything interesting to say about it, so moving swiftly on...

 

Arriving at Manchester, my first diesel transport of the day appeared, ready to whisk me over the Pennines to the strange land they call Yorkshire.

 

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Achievement unlocked: Huddersfield.

 

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For some reason, Harold Wilson's statue chose this moment to run away.

 

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And so to the end of the public transport round, the final piece of trainchod being this one. Verdict: if you're looking for comfort, quietness and refinement, don't catch a Pacer. Even a mega rare Class 144.

 

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I don't think that passes Euro VI emissions, somehow.

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So where was I before some slight IT issues? Ah yes, car collectioneering.

 

I made my way from the train station to the industrial unit on which my new steed was being housed. Having met the previous owner (who should really be on Autoshite) and looked round his mate's turbocharged Delorean (sorry, no pics) it was time to hand over the keys and off I went.

 

So, here is my new set of wheels.

 

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Yes, it's a BX TZD Hurricaine. It's been my (admittedly rather sad) childhood dream to own a BX someday, ever since I first saw one rise like a slumbering animal from its bump stops. Growing up in a seaside town in the 1990s, BXs were everywhere and I always had a weird fascination with them. Now seemed like the best time to buy one, just on the cusp of prices escalating.

 

It's not perfect, and slightly cosmetically challenged in some areas (hence it was so cheap). But pretty much everything electric works, there's no rust and the interior's immaculate.

 

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Unfortunately it's not out of its running in period yet.

 

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So, plans? Firstly to sort through its little niggles. Somebody's crashed into the offside front wing in a car park so that needs replacing, and the driver's window doesn't work. Then I'll see if it'll run on veg, rustproof it and maybe fit it with a set of comfort spheres.

 

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It was pretty icy up there today despite the sunshine. Going up was fun, coming back down was a bit of a buttock clenching experience in a new car of unknown provenance. The old BX made light work of it though.

 

For comparison purposes here's its predecessor in the same spot:

 

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I liked my BX 19RD (an early one with the rolling drum speedo). Bought it at 26k, sold it three years later at just over 100k, and it was great all the way through. The only real problem I had was that a vertical strut which formed part of the accelerator pedal support split and needed re-welding. Not a big deal but I was driving from Blighty to Southern Spain when it started, hence had around 2000 miles to go until I could get it fixed.

 

Was never fast, but other than that one-off issue (and a dead battery) it was faultlessly reliable, did circa 50mpg, and cruised wonderfully. Shit radio though.

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I'm going to have a shufty under the bonnet at some point to see what pump's fitted. If it doesn't have a Bosch pump it'll be getting one, there's no shortage of takeaways round here and the idea of not lining the pockets of the oil companies and the treasury is most appealing.

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Wow. So that's who you are! Saw your post in the BX Club page on Faceache. 

 

To a lot of people, the Hurricane is the ultimate BX this side of a 16 Valve. You get the great 16 valve bodykit and nice paint. Looks a nice buy.

 

If you haven't already, do chuck a load of wax at the rear subframe mounts. It's the biggest weakness on these at the minute. 

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Minus points, you missed Felix the Huddersfield station cat, she's now pretty famous & been on the tellybox n'at

 

I'm surprised, usually I'm a bit of a cat magnet so to have not seen her is weird.

 

Wow. So that's who you are! Saw your post in the BX Club page on Faceache. 

 

To a lot of people, the Hurricane is the ultimate BX this side of a 16 Valve. You get the great 16 valve bodykit and nice paint. Looks a nice buy.

 

If you haven't already, do chuck a load of wax at the rear subframe mounts. It's the biggest weakness on these at the minute. 

 

 

My only requirements for a BX were turbodiesel and triton green. For a Hurricaine to have come up locally at a price I could afford was an added bonus and too much to resist.

 

This one shall be receiving the full Daihatsu-spec rustproofing treatment as soon as payday arrives, I want this one to last.

 

That's a smart looking car, those front seats look great to sit in too.

 

They're immensely comfortable. Out of all the cars I've experienced, only the SD1 has bettered them.

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This morning I gave it its first proper drive. It's an excellent cruiser, I'm truly impressed by the refinement and comfort on offer. That and the general glassiness, the spaciousness and the big sunroof make it a genuinely pleasant old thing to punt about in.

 

Unusually for a diesel, it can't just be left in a high gear and rowed along on the torque, it needs revs to really get going. Having said that, even bouncing it off the redline doesn't upset the zen atmosphere, so I don't mind all that much.

 

I think this one's a keeper.

 

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A timeless motoring icon, seen here with a Ford Mustang.

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That's the thing with the turbo diesels. They don't really get going until 2000rpm, so you have to fight a bit to keep them on boost. On the non-turbos, you just leave them in fifth all day. Downchanges just make things noisier, not quicker.

 

I'd read in road tests before I bought it that peak torque was at 2100rpm so expected it would have to be worked harder than most. I quite like its more revvy, get up and go nature and 2000rpm is hardly screaming VTEC territory, yo.

 

At least it's not like many a modern diesel where there's absolutely nothing until the turbo kicks in. I drove a 1.6 HDi Peugeot 3008 up to Scotland a couple of weeks ago, and one could expect to be beaten in drag races by mobility scooters until the engine got to 1,750rpm. It made smooth driving in town a right old chore, whereas this has quite a nice spread of power off-boost.

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With a bit of pump tuning (Lucas or Bosch) you can help the turbo boost at lower RPMs.

 

They are pretty punchy on-boost and excellent on the open road, but crap in stop-start driving where it feels like you're fighting with the turbo. You can put variable nozzle turbos on these with a manual controller, that could be interesting.

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So today I'd expected to go for a drive in the Citroen, write a full in-depth review for you all, tell you how wonderful it was then sit back, safe in the knowledge that I'd done the whole car buying thing brilliantly this time. Alas, fate had other plans.

 

All this week I'd been trying to find somewhere to get the BX's tracking and balancing done. Responses from garages had ranged from telling me to get the settings then come back, to one place whose mechanic simply stated 'can't touch that mate, it's got air ride suspension, 'an't it?' before he'd even found out what I wanted doing to it. Eventually a willing garage about 10 miles away, who had the settings and didn't seem to have a payroll made up of mongtards, agreed to do the work today.

 

Five minutes after setting off my hopes of an uneventful and enjoyable drive were shattered as the 'STOP' and coolant warning lights began to glare a piercing glare at me. With no obvious signs of anything wrong, I limped to the nearest car park and opened the bonnet expecting to simply curse rubbish French electrics and carry on as before.

 

Unfortunately when I checked the coolant I discovered the cause of the little lighting show. The coolant, which had been clean the other day, now looked like the orange cream filling they put in cheap chocolates. Things only got worse when - to add to the tragicomedy of it all - a group of lads in a Rover Metro pulled up and started to take the piss out of me.

 

Undaunted, I decided to chance my luck and try to get to my destination regardless. The various dashboard lights of doom stayed unlit, the car ran perfectly at normal temperature, and I was struck by an eery sense of normality. This leads me to wonder, is it full-blown OMGHGF, or could it be something much more minor? Surely with HGF I'd expect something more than a cursory flash of a coolant warning light and otherwise business as usual? Would a coolant change and nothing more do the trick?

 

Anyway, I reached my destination trouble-free and asked the mechanic to check the engine over, to which he responded he hadn't the time and to come back another day for anything beyond the task at hand. After giving the BX a world-weary stare and muttering something about old Peugeots under his breath, he set to work, coming back into the room two minutes later to say 'can I have a word?'. He then proceeded to inform me that both front tyres were at their legal limit and therefore he wouldn't do the tracking unless I changed the tyres as well. So, I now have to wait for a pair of new Michelins to be delivered to him, and then take it back during the week to have them fitted.

 

I sure know how to pick 'em.

 

TL;DR I bought a French car, and it's broken.

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I changed a BX TD headgasket in the middle of the winter of 2014 outside, It was a very bad time so soon after I repaired it I sold it and spent the next several years ran only air cooled cars.

 

Of course the cars new owner then managed to get about 10 years reliable service out if it with minimal issues.

 

Best of luck, they're lovely cars and go very well.

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