Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars

French Friday: Wedges and Flowers Edition

Jobjoris was right! I did say I’d bring out a Citroen Xantia last Friday and, as I’m almost exclusively a three-inch collector, it’s the Siku model from the ‘90s! Sorry Jobjoris, this one’s no Activa V6—on the base it reads “Citroen Xantia 1.8X; 1761 ccm; 81 kW; 5500 U/min; 4 Zyl.; 110 PS; and 194 km/h.” That’s the trouble with German diecast! Too much attention to detail leaves out some of the imagination involved in playing with toys!

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Outside the topic of Citroens for a second, I decided to take the photography outside today as it’s finally spring in the Bay Area, albeit a very windy and not terribly warm one!

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As for the cars, well, I hate to have just one casting each day as too much of my 1:64 collection revolves around what cars group well together. For the Xantia, it’s a no brainer with Majorette’s XM, the big brother of the little hydropneumatic family hatch!

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I’m very poor at botany so don’t expect me to be identifying any of these lovely blooming flowers, but I can identify that Siku had a minor quality lapse here—misaligned tampos!

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So what about the Xantia itself? Well, Jobjoris did a great job describing it this morning; essentially the ZX came out as a disappointment to Citroen loyalists and PSA promised to make the Xantia extra “Citroen-y” as a result.

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Enter the latest Hydractive II, a new system which used computer commands to either relax or pressurize the system according to driving conditions. Hydractive II also supposedly brought AWS to the Citroen range, with the rears turning in line with the fronts as necessary.

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Though this is just a humble 1.8X, the mighty Activa employed active anti-roll bars that were marketed under the “Activa” name. Although it sounds like a yogurt brand, the Activa system brought two extra spheres and cylinders which worked in companion with the entire suspension to eliminate body roll entirely!

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Still, while that did vault the Xantia to become the world’s best car at the Swedish elk emergency lane-change test at 85 kph (52 mph), beating even new Audi R8's and McLarens, that was largely just a party trick as it would hardly become a volume seller as heavy and pricey as it was.

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In fact, why the Activa technology wasn’t equipped on the XM is a mystery of history as anyone willing to pay Activa money probably wouldn’t have wanted a car that looked the same as the neighbor’s 1.8 petrol hatch!

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What’s sad is that today we have no more of these great cars. The C5 is on its way out, and Citroen is moving towards entirely one-box cars; no more berlines, fastbacks, or estates, or even hydropneumatics. No more Bertone lines, no more plush leather and wood interiors. Citroen’s turning a page, and while that means leaving behind its history, I’m excited for its future—possibly even in America! Thanks for reading, have a great weekend, and I’ll see you around LaLD! Now I’m off to practice for an orchestral seating audition tonight! ;)

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