Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
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French Friday: Anciennes berlines exécutives

Illustration for article titled French Friday: Anciennes berlines exécutivesem/em

Alright, since Jobjoris seems to think I’m lacking in the French Friday department (and because this is my last French Friday before Uni), I’m going to take advantage of today a bit more than usual so please excuse my consistent postings. Anyways, this time we’ve got three competing French executives from the turn of the ‘70s/’80s.

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Anciennes berlines exécutivesem/em

Looking at these three cars, one thing becomes immediately apparent: the Citroen CX is the only one that anyone ever talks about. Now why would that be?

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Anciennes berlines exécutivesem/em

Well, the double chevron car was the only one that sold in numbers worth giving a damn about. The last real Citroen before PSA ownership, it sold about 1.2 million units and had all those Citroen trademarks from hydropneumatics to even a double-rear window to shield passengers if the trunk was opened in the rain.

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Anciennes berlines exécutivesem/em

In comparison, the sad-sack Renault 25 seemed promising when it launched a decade after the CX, but the similarly designed fastback-hatchback didn’t have a chance with a truly beige exterior and pretty awful transmission reliability.

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Anciennes berlines exécutivesem/em

Interestingly (and perhaps typically Frenchly), it was reliability that brought down the other car here today as well. Released a year after the CX with Pininfarina-styled lines, excellent handling characteristics, and a more common and popular three-box design, the 604 nevertheless sank in the market thanks to its high price, lack of prestige, and awful engines. Ok, the engines were decent, but that was only when they worked, and your options were a PRV or a hard-starting turbodiesel. Yeah.

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Anciennes berlines exécutivesem/em

Thus, this hunchbacked and awkward spaceship was France’s best hope in the executive sales department for the ‘70s and ‘80s, and its a good thing it soared well enough to prove that the French did know how to create luxury.

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Anciennes berlines exécutivesem/em

But then again, the 25 was one of the plushest cars around on its arrival and it was considerably more advanced than the CX given its appearance a decade later, but the Citroen more than likely outsold it still with this grey box having no reputation, cachet, or style.

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Anciennes berlines exécutivesem/em

In this corner, the 604 had all the reputation and style (less so on the cachet), but the major problem was still price and reliability. Perhaps with the 605 they solved that, but removed all of the former, producing just another square box from the ‘90s.

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Anciennes berlines exécutivesem/em

It’s funny how this model is the only one with an opening hood, it’s almost as if Majorette (who made all three of these), predicted the Pug’s crippling engine nuances and made sure that kids of all ages could replicate real-world scenes with this 1:64 diecast.

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Anciennes berlines exécutivesem/em

Anyways, that’s just part one of the French luxobarge story; hopefully I can finish the tale before the end of today, so as of now I’m off to shoot some pictures of the next executive saloons from the Gallic three! Thanks for looking, I’ll see you around LaLD, and a very Happy French Friday to you!

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