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French Import Project: 1986 Citroën CX Prestige

Citroëns have been seen all over Europe in the 100+ years the brand has been around. But they’re lesser seen in the U.S., and such is the case with this 1986 Citroën CX Prestige which the seller lists as an AX (mini-van). It was a luxury offering that came with almost anything you needed but a chauffeur. Described as a “barn find” in Simi Valley, California, this Citroën has had some recent work done but looks to need a lot more. It’s available here on eBay where no one has been brave enough to submit the opening bid of $1.750.

The Citroën CX was a large, front-engine, front-wheel-drive executive car manufactured from 1974 to 1991. CXs were known for their hydro-pneumatic self-leveling suspension system and its low coefficient of drag, underscored by the nameplate CX, which refers to the aerodynamics symbol. The car was ultimately voted “European Car of the Year” for 1975 and would end up being the last successful model of the “big Citroën” era, dating back to 1934.

Available as a fastback (just one iteration), the first of the CXs has minimal rear legroom, so in 1976 they added 10 inches to the wheelbase and called the car the CX Prestige. Headroom was also improved through a raised roofline. It appears as though this Citroën is one of those cars, but background information here is minimal. We’re told the car was parked for many years and required some mechanical work to get it to this stage.

The seller has added a new battery, fuel pump, computer system, and more to get it running. But we don’t know how well. While the seller believes the car to be “beautiful”, its appearance suggests some body work is needed to the rear along with new paint. And the interior requires a thorough detailing. I don’t know how difficult a restoration may be on this auto, you have to wonder just how hard it will be to find parts for a 37-year-old-car that had limited distribution in the U.S.


  1. alphasud Member

    There are only a couple of parts sources for this model. CX Basis in Germany is undoubtedly where you will need to go to rebuild the hydraulics and find other parts needed to bring this car back and it’s going to be a long road to recovery and a lot of money. Unfortunately this might serve best as a parts car.

    Like 1
    • Carlos Bonifacio

      Very doable restoration from the description but an inspection is always advisable. As long as there is no major rust, the mechanicals are robust and simple with everything available in either the UK, France or Germany.

      Even in South Africa there is a parts and knowledge bank that keeps them on the road. Remanufacturing of hydraulic parts is not uncommon and I would say the least of any restorers’ worries. The electrical side can be iffy.

      Simpler than the DS to restore by a long shot and now coming onto their own. Give it 5 more years and they will appreciate more than Berkshire Hathaway.

      And they ride as well as the C5 and C6, the last hydropneumatic suspended Citroens.

      Like 1
  2. Steve

    Buy it for $1,750 and spend $50,000 on parts (if you can find them) for restoration.

    Like 0
  3. Pugsy

    This must be the only car company to bat 1000.
    Every one of their cars is ugly.

    Like 3
  4. Big C

    Is that a camouflage design on the front bumper? Or just black mold?

    Like 1
  5. Troy

    Wow someone actually kept this hideous thing 37 years, you drive that thing around and you will constantly be pulled over because the cops will think nobody is crazy enough to keep insurance on it

    Like 0
  6. Beyfon

    A few comments:
    1/ No, the regular CX do not have “minimal rear leg room” – but as Citroen already had the lengthened Wagon chassis it was easy to make the Prestige for the people with chauffeurs.
    2/ Yes, this would appear to be a genuine Prestige with the non-turbo 2.5 four. This engine coupled with the auto is a good choice. The engine is torquey and works well with the auto. And it’s less complicated than the turbos.
    3/ It looks decent enough but it would be costly to restore. Presumably a parts car at this poit.
    4/ Rims look like the TRX rims that often came on these. Beware, the tires are metric, very expensive and have very short life.

    Like 2
    • Quidditas

      Replace with Alfa 164 rims – yes originality may go pout of the window, but cheaper when tyre replacement comes round again.

      And they look way better.

      Like 0
    • alphasud Member

      Those are not TRX wheels. I have that wheel on my CX. They are 14” the turbo wheels were TRX 390mm. I bought some turbo reproduction wheels in 16” for my car.

      Like 0
  7. Ken Nelson Member

    Hydraulics on the CX are only slightly different from the DS series, and it’s just plumbing – not as complex as lot of folks like to think. If you can handle household plumbing, with a little practice and guidance from Cit club members, it’s easier to work on and keep running than the modern electronic jumk we’re being saddled with these days. These cars have the best ride in the world – been driving them since 1962 and the comfort and ergonomics are superb. As for expense, I recently learned that GM’s fancy Magnaride electronic suspension, using an electrorheological fluid -meaning there are magnetic particles suspended in the shock fluid – is a helluva lot more expensive and is harder to fix than a DS or CX. A new owner of a Caddy with the Magnaride had to have a front strut replaced under warranty by the dealer, and the cost??? $2100.00! On a DS or CX, you can buy a new gas spring sphere with integral, never wearing shock, for under $100 and install it in 10 minutes – take that to the bank! Plus – a Citroen leaves breadcrumbs to help the owner or mechanic find the issue – it leaks! Trace the puddle back and you find the issue – no need for $3k shop computers to figure things out. And having been an outside consultant to many of the worlds largest car builders, I’ll put up a CX or DS against any socalled modern car or other earlier brand with the claim that Citroen build the most innovative cars ever designed. As for appearance, anyone snubbing the shape should see them in a wind tunnel, where the DS has better aero performance than a
    Porsche 911, and I do believe the CX beat that record. You may not like its looks, but the shape works with Mom Nature better than most other cars.

    Like 6
    • alphasud Member

      Early in my automotive career I looked at the Citroen and in my ignorance I thought the maker made strange cars that didn’t make any sense. Out of my ignorance I started doing research on the company and my eyes were opened. These cars were so innovative and brilliant which could be said for the other models. I always thought the Beetle was one of the most brilliant designs but I believe the 2CV to be even better. The CX was made to replace the DS which took the world by storm and when you look at the 2 models the CX is a modern interpretation on the DS. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I’m sure those who talk bad about the car have never driven or ridden in one.

      Like 0
      • Ken Nelson Member

        Alfasud, here is a perfect example of why and how Citroen’s engineers thought, and the brilliance of their designs: The French seem to go back to basic physics in all their products – and take a different and often BEST approach to solving what they see as a problem – and this might account for what some people think of as “arrogance” – but often they’ve earned their “arrogance”, as they can point to their products as often superior in one way or another to what everyone else is producing – see below on Tumbleweed – the BEST video of a 2CV suspension vs a Bug:


        Like 1

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