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French Project Car: 1988 Citroen CX GTi Turbo

As someone who just exited French car ownership, I can say that I’m forever tarnished for finding these oddballs surprisingly cool. I sold my 1988 Peugeot 505 wagon not too long ago, and while it was the right time to let it go, I still got a bit misty knowing I likely wouldn’t find another one anytime soon. The seller of this rare-as-heck 1988 Citroen CX GTI Turbo likely feels the same way, as this isn’t exactly a car you see in the grocery store parking lot. While a few Citroen models were legally imported over the years by various organizations set up to do so, the turbocharged and intercooled CX is as rare as it gets. The seller has done an excruciating amount of work to make this one right, and it’s listed here on eBay with bids to just over $2,000 and no reserve.

Why did I enjoy the Peugeot: it was weird; it drove really nicely; it had interesting looks – neither graceful nor pretty, but oddly handsome; everything felt surprisingly well-built, from the doors to the interior switchgear; and most of all, people loved it. Despite the French car market not exactly being a success story in the U.S., plenty of enthusiasts have fallen for these quirky cars and trucks as evidenced by the numerous people who reached out with questions and memories of their 505. The seller’s car is perhaps even more obscure than the 505, as that car was at least sold through a domestic dealer network; Citroen models like these were imported by companies like CXA and Cina.

Now, while everyone assumes cars like these are impossible to find parts for, they really aren’t that hard to sort out if you’re just the least bit industrious. Sure, it’s not like finding a set of wheel bearings for a Silverado, not even close. But Facebook groups, foreign eBay sites, and general word-of-mouth between enthusiasts can help you get what you need. The seller purchased this car with plenty of evidence that the previous owner did not take this approach, as the car was band-aided together in multiple ways with various parts like radiators and hoses shoe-horned in from other makes and models. I won’t even get into it here, but the seller did a crap-ton of work to return this rare Citroen to OEM condition.

Sadly, despite all the work, the seller poured into this car, he has discovered coolant in the oil and compression testing revealed that he is indeed down a few PSI in cylinder number two. Now, there’s an off chance it could be related to a bad oil cooler, but it seems unlikely. This was the point I was always nervous about getting to with an obscure car like the Peugeot: what happens now, especially after you went down the rabbit hole as this seller did? If my E30 needs a head gasket, I can get the parts in a day and my German repair shop can have it back on the road in a week. With a car like this, you better be equipped to do your own work, or live near one of the few remaining mechanics that still remembers when these oddballs roamed the Earth.


  1. alphasud Member

    Reading the sellers description on eBay tells the story of a passionate car guy who is no stranger to odd cars. Apparently this CX is not his first rodeo. I’m not sure what the reserve is but I’m willing to throw my hat into the ring. My real passion lies with the DS hopefully owning one someday. The car is close enough that a long day’s journey would have my first Citroen in my garage. This could also be a good entry point since all the hydro pneumatic goodness has been sorted.

    Like 13
    • alphasud Member

      Many thanks to BarnFinds and Jeff for publishing the article. I’m a owner of a Citroen CX!

      Like 3
      • Fred Johnson

        Congratulations. The ride is a little firmer than a DS/ID but still magique.

  2. Pit Stop Pauly

    I totally agree with Alphasud, the DS is my dream car, but I would absolutely love this car. I would be all in if I didn’t have a 62 Studebaker Lark and a 90 Miata sitting here begging to be repaired and put back on the road, and a limited budget. You have to admire the French auto engineers and their use of “the road less traveled “ by the rest of the automotive world.

    Like 2
  3. Howie

    That has to be the longest description i have ever seen!! Cool car.

    Like 1
  4. T. Bittle

    I think the words “French-project-car”, say it all for me… :)

  5. Douglas Plumer

    Ii saw this a few days ago. I already own several Citroens, including a CX prestige which has this motor but non- turbo. He needs a head gasket. Not huge problem and easy to to get in a few days from Citroen – CXBasics in Germany via DHL. Someone will end up with a great car soon-and- No Reserve.
    Go for it!

    Like 3
  6. PSAguy

    What some call strange is for others a well balanced, technical solution. Indeed, a low drag coefficient which keeps the fuel consumption low. Yes, fuel consumption is indeed a selling advantage in other parts of the world.

    Then ergonomics, so everything can be reached effortlessly without having to stretch far through the interior. When Citroen used the hydro-pneumatic suspension, a modern chassis with disc brakes, American manufacturers were still using inefficient, thirsty engines and small drum brakes on the
    rear axle. Yes, progress can be strange.
    By the way, the neutral suspension setting means that the car has to be driven in this position. What also applies to Americans.

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