Sunday, 18 November 2007

Meet the new boss…

… same as the old boss.

Having spent the best part of the last two years with a white Citroën BX you would think that I would fancy a change. So I went out and bought another white Citroën BX. I didn’t go out and choose a white BX; rather a friend of a friend had one that was surplus to requirements. It is 3 years newer than the old car and has done just over 50,000 miles rather than just under 150,000. Unlike the old car, which is a generously equipped 19TRS with a big engine, the new one is pretty the BX14TE St Tropez – near the bottom of the range. Instead of enjoying the torque of the big engine loping along in the high top gear of the automatic transmission I have a small-ish 1.4 litre engine and a very low-geared manual transmission. Instead of infra red central locking I have a different key for doors and ignition and have to unlock each one individually. Steering is manual and takes nearly 4 turns to go lock to lock where the old car with power assistance needs just less than 3 turns.

One of the biggest shocks was the reliability of starting with the manual choke. Just pull it out, turn the key and it starts. Compare that with fiddling round, wondering if you should pump the accelerator and the general uncertainty of the worn out old automatic choke and it is far better. The second shock is the effort needed to turn the wheel; no lazy swinging from lock to lock with the car at a standstill and the engine running. How did people ever consider this acceptable? I don’t like the clutch – like so many clutches the pedal travel is too long and the arc does not correspond with the natural movement of the human ankle. The gear lever action is typically older French car, slightly floppy and vague but quick, flickable and easy. I have also satisfied myself that the left foot can easily find the brake pedal (at least they haven’t changed – still the same short-travel pedal) and the clutch pedal is not necessary for changing gear on the move.

As you might expect there are a few things that need attention. The wheels need balancing, or something as there is a perceptible wobble through the wheel. A new steering wheel would be nice as the old one is breaking up possibly because of the grip required to turn the wheel at low speed or full lock. There are a couple of scratches that could do with touching up and the driver’s sun visor doesn’t’ want to stay up. On the whole it does carry its years well, which hopefully means that a few more years won’t be a problem.

I’ll try and post some pictures soon.

No comments: