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French car anomalies


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1 hour ago, grogee said:

My "need" for a CX is not being sated, and I keep wondering if an XM isn't a better* idea. I guess it might be possible to get one with functioning A/C?

I never really liked my XM V6 as it didn't seem to be a proper quirky Citroen like I was expecting...

Looked nice though...



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I came home from the maternity ward in an orange "phase 1" Renner 14 TL which was less than a year old at the time.  Featuring black vinyl seats for maximum mingebag points, by the time my parents traded it in for an early Fiat Uno it was rusting quite nicely.

More than four decades later I was gifted a 1989 R19, which I haven't got rid of yet. Its rusting quite nicely, and various electrical things don't work.

In between those two events, my dad briefly had a supa-basic AX 10E with static rear belts and no wheeltrims or radio, followed by a brand new face-lift AX GT which was an absolutely great car and kept just about long enough for me to snag a cheeky drive of it round the estate while my parents were not at home.  I think that's it for French car ownership in my immediate family, though before I was born there was apparently a corrugated-dash R5 and a Simca 1100 on the driveway simultaneously. 

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My scenic auto lasted 2 years in my ownership...as did my pickarse dizzel....this is the longest I have ever owned a vehcile!!

but had owned a few frog chod before and must admit None gave me any hassle, including a Ren 14 that froze...and when defrosted was found to be in 100% running condition...even tho my Astra that froze at the ame time  needed another engine fitted...

my current English/German/Italian chod seems to be solidly thrown together (the german bits) and the italian parts are currently working fine....the Badges (english) are looking tatty tho!!

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I've owned a few* French cars, and I have to say my Citroën Xantia is one of the best cars I've ever owned! 

French car manufacturers "went their own way" in design terms after WW2.  André Citroën's Traction Avant (although designed before WW2) was a world first in many ways; front wheel drive that worked and monocoque design to name but two. Yes, Citroën went bankrupt as a result, being rescued by Michelin, but went on to design the DS range of cars, with a unique suspension system and hydraulically controlled almost everything in a body that was, quite literally, God-like! Let's face it, the DS range of cars must be the most beautiful cars ever manufactured! 

Renault were similarly idiosyncratic and stuck with rear engines long after other manufacturers stopped (4CV, and later the Dauphine, and Caravelle) using the identical engine and gearbox design, albeit reversed, in their front wheel drive cars (R4,5 &6, to name but a few) long after other manufacturers had changed to "east-west" engines. 

I just LOVE the French way of life: cars, food, way of life, wine, weather, language and most other things! But I am partly French, so that might explain it! 

*= Renault 4, 6, 10, 25, Citroën 2CV, Xantia, Peugeot 309, 304 & 405

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Everyday vehicles(as opposed to stuff bought to sell on)

1983 Visa Super E

1988 BX 19RD Estate.          

1988 BX 16RS (which I converted to diesel using the bits from the estate)

1988 BX 19 RD hatch.

1992 ZX1.9D Avantage. 

2x 205 GLD 5 doors in Red

1993 BX 1.9D estate 

1990 305 GLD van 

2000 Xantia HDi 110 SX hatch 

2001 Kangoo D55 Van 

2x 306 HDi estates 

2005 C5 ll 1.6 HDi hatch 

2003 Kangoo Kar  1.2

2005 307 1.6 HDi estate 

2013 Mégane 110 estate 

2011 M59 Berlingo 1.6 HDi van 

Favourites, the 305 and the Xantia.



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10 minutes ago, grogee said:



I miss them both. The Pallas was the latest registered s1 in the uk, but was cruelly killed in a head on crash in France. It was an Australian spec car in French diplomatic Neptune grey. The DTR was a one owner car I took from 111,000 miles to 174,000 still on the original clutch.

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  • 2 months later...

While I’ve never owned une voiture myself, I’ve driven and have been driven many, many miles in them - primarily Renaults, as it so happens. In (mostly) chronological order:

Renault 19 (my dad’s - he bought it late ‘92, kept it for about 5 minutes and remembers precisely fuck all about it, so no idea on engine, spec etc)

1995 Renault Safrane 2.0 RN (UJI 3044) - bought new by my grandfather, and the first Renault which established a relationship with the dealer that has gone on until this day. Being about 3/4 when this arrived, I remember nothing of note about it, apart from it being a handsome brute in navy blue and the squishy velour seats.

1999 Renault Megane 1.6 petrol saloon (YJI 6177) - my mum’s first ever new car. Baboon’s arse red in colour, and from memory the spec was incredibly spartan (manual windows and no central locking stand out to me). Made even more French by the fact that about a year into ownership, a jar of crushed garlic smashed in the passenger footwell and the car stank for the rest of its life.

1999 Renault Laguna Mk.2 1.9dti Sport (AHZ 7023) - gramps’ second Renault, he px’d the Safrane against this. Remember being 8/9 years old and squealing with delight as he hit the ton down some horribly inappropriate B-road on the test drive. Was his last car before he passed away.

2005 Renault Megane 1.5dci dynamique saloon (GHZ 7743) - my gran kept the Laguna a couple of years and then px’d it against this one. Was the showroom model, bought with 7 miles on the clock. Was the car I learned to drive in, inherited upon passing my test and subsequently set about destroying in spectacular fashion; managed to grenade the gearbox doing reverse donuts in a car park, split the driver’s side front 1/4 panel on a lamppost being a daft cunt and handbraking around corners in the ice and then finally wrote it off on a mini-roundabout by t-boning a Volvo 850 (Volvo driver admitted fault straight away by not giving way to her right, but I was approaching far too fast and would never have gotten stopped in time). Airbags burst, front end in dust and car was written off at 5 years old and 22k on the clock. Typing out this account of automotive dickery makes me wince and cringe.

2016 Renault Clio 1.5dci dynamique - after the Megane met its demise, my gran inherited my uncle’s old ‘99 Golf TDI and drove it until it croaked in 2018, at which point it was replaced with the Clio. Bought June ‘18 with 16k miles, it now has just rolled over 22k. What surprises me about this is how long geared it is for being not very powerful; 2k in 5th is 72/73mph, and acceleration is practically nil at this point. Cruise control and Bluetooth audio streaming is nice, although the ‘metal’ film that coats some of the interior trim pieces has started to quite rapidly flake off, which is a bit poor.

2010 Renault Megane 1.5dci dynamique - the missus’ car. Bought in Nov ‘17 for £3.5k and we’ve added about 50k miles in that time (now at 122k) Treated as a mobile skip, never cleaned or washed, only gets services as part of its MOT once-over and otherwise run on a shoestring, it has yet (touch wood) to shit the bed on us. The only issue in that whole time has been a loose driver’s window switch - it still works, you just have to press it funny. That’s it. We’ll likely keep this one until it’s ground into dust.

(Dis)honourable mention: 2007 Citroen C2 1.1L. My mate’s first car, which I also spent considerable time behind the wheel of (as 17 year olds with cavalier attitudes towards licensing, insurance and general responsibilities tend to be). The ‘05 Megane mentioned above was treated with kid gloves in comparison to this one, this car got treated outrageously: one taxi-less night home saw 9 people squeezed into it (including 2 in the passenger footwell). Smoked in, drank in, hotboxed, fornicated in (if teenage tall tales are to believed…), handbraked, J-turned, wheels spun, redlined at every available opportunity - this little C2 got thrashed. All this adolescent scrotery eventually did lead to it’s probably-timely demise, with a four-wheeled jump down a bumpy backroad that saw its back axle give out. Think it was sold for spares or (very brave) repairs for a double figure sum. Taking the rose-tinted glasses off and viewing the car objectively, it was very crap. The 1.1 engine was truly gutless, and sounded like a sewing machine. Shutting the door gave a metallic thunk which sounded like someone stepping on a metal sheet. Driving position was wretched, too high up and the steering wheel was too far forward compared to the pedals. I wouldn’t mind a go in a higher-spec one with a peppier engine (I do like the look of a C2 code, with the biscuit-coloured heated leather),  but I wouldn’t wish a base spec one on anyone.

Apologies, this got much longer-winded than expected. Trips down memory lane tend to do that to you.

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8 hours ago, High Jetter said:

What are you going to buy then?

Ideally, I’d like a Ph. 1 Safrane (as said elsewhere as nauseum on these pages), and I’ve also been keeping an eye out for a Mk. 1 Clio 1.8 16V; there’s a couple on car and classic, but they’re projects beyond my spannering capabilities. Something 80s/90s anyway, maybe early 2000s if it’s characterful enough.  I’ve got an 11-plate Volvo S60, so it doesn’t need to be flawless and capable of the daily duties. 

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