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Citroën BX – Scrapper Caper

6 min read

A little over three years ago, G553 XPO arrived at BXProject HQ. What I had intended to be a 6month rebuild and sell has run somewhat over the original (optimistic) timeline. I’ve herded all the usual excuses in from their pasture. A change of job and young children heavily affect the lack of BX play time available. However, the availability of parts has been a significant time drain. Fortunately, at the start of 2024, I was offered a job-lot of spares and set off on a scrapper caper.

Finding parts for XPO

When ‘XPO’ arrived, I knew it was incomplete, but I felt confident I could find most consumables off the shelf. I was also fairly convinced that any missing trim would be in my extensive stores. How wrong I was!

The parts situation, or lack of parts, was starting to get to me. And that is despite some amazing, above-and-beyond support from BX community members selling their prized stock or actively searching out missing parts. I think I’ve mentioned before that the level of camaraderie within the BX community is one of the reasons I still have my BX. It would also appear that my BX parts stock wasn’t as extensive as I first thought. A front downpipe for a BX 16Valve formerly in my loft has vanished.

Off on a scrapper caper

Towards the end of 2023, I visited an almost local gent who was breaking an F-reg BX that had been recovered from a garden to transfer the turbo diesel powerplant to his BX Estate. While I’d gone with a shopping list, I came away with nothing. Well, almost nothing. I understood that once the current owner had taken the parts they needed, I had first dibs on the rest of the car. Over the winter break, the engine was pulled, and the remains of the shell were made available to me.

A BX parts car completes its penultimate journey, arriving at BXProject HQ.
A BX parts car completes its penultimate journey, arriving at BXProject HQ.

In the first few days of January, a date was set to go and collect the remnants of the F-reg turbo diesel shell. As collection capers go, this one was relatively straightforward as the remains were only a forty-minute drive away. Towing a BX with a BX never ends well, as those who have known me long enough will know I have some unsuccessful experiences! So the Land Rover was despatched as the tow vehicle of choice, dragging the twin axle trailer I bought (mostly) for this job.

Breaking Down The Scrapper

One downside to a January scrapper caper is the potential for less-than-ideal weather, and this January was no exception. From the time we set off in the morning until bedtime, rain continued to fall. Suffice it to say, it was a bit soggy out, so we started inside the cabin.

Stripping parts while hiding from the incredible weather.
Stripping parts while hiding from the incredible weather.

There wasn’t a considerable amount to scavenge. However, I soon harvested most of the critical parts I needed for XPO. The boot carpet and all three side panels were in good condition, so I added them to the ‘keep’ pile. Many small trim fittings were also gathered in. Quite the haul for XPO.  

Scrapper caper continues with other wanting BX's in sight.
Scrapper caper continues with other wanting BX’s in sight.

The tear-down didn’t stop in the cabin. Before darkness settled, we even managed to pull the rear subframe out. I plan to refurb this and use it on my BX for a little while until I have time to restore its original rear subframe. Hopefully, the corrosion is only surface-deep.

By the end of day one, the donor car has given up a lot of parts.
By the end of day one, the donor car has given up a lot of parts.

By the time darkness fell, this rotten donor had sacrificed to benefit many other BXs. Doors were off, the interior, including the dash, was out, and the rear subframe was recovered. In fact, the rust in the back end of the car was so significant that the rear subframe practically fell out. Every single interior screw or fixing was corroded. Both A-pillars were beyond salvage, and the passenger door was only connected to the check strap. I’m more than happy that this BX would not have been salvageable.

Parts a plenty

This Citroen BX’s sacrifice will keep many others on the road. Parts from this donor are already in the other three BXs I own, and trim and mechanical parts have been posted to another four BXs across the UK.

Many parts from the scrapper will live on.
Many parts from the scrapper will live on.

When breaking cars, I try to take that porcine approach, stating that everything should be salvaged, including the oink. After a post on the BX Club Facebook page, I had a long list of parts requests. Many of the enquiries were for body cuts, a section of metal removed from the vehicle’s body. Fortunately, I have access to a plasma cutter, so separating suitably large sections of the car is relatively easy.

Body cuts will live on in other vehicles.
Body cuts will live on in other vehicles.

Generally, I find it easier to extricate more than requested. You may have seen in the BXProject@ Rustival articlethat one requestor may have gotten quite a surprise. Many of the recovered parts were simply cleaned, sorted, and crated up for another day. This is the fourth BX that I’ve parted since 2004, so quite a lot of parts are amassed.

Complete Scrapper Disassembly

While I did my absolute best to recover everything useful from the scrapper, there were some parts I couldn’t find storage for. If we had already moved, I may have just kept the whole shell and removed parts as I needed. But time was of the essence.

Plasma cutter is engaged to cleave parts off the scrapper.
Plasma cutter is engaged to cleave parts off the scrapper.

On day two, a plasma cutter sped up the complete disassembly of the car. While I usually employ the liquid metal maker on tractor jobs, it worked really well on the BX. The (remaining) metal was so thin that the plasma cutter could cleave sections of the car with a stroke of the torch nozzle.

Almost everything, including the ‘oink’, is stripped from the car.
Almost everything, including the ‘oink’, is stripped from the car.

The complete dismantling of the vehicle took less than 48 hours from the point of collection. I did have some help, and I think it may be apparent from the pictures that I may have some experience dismantling BXs as well as putting them together. I’m unsure if in-depth knowledge of BX dissection is good or not!

Scrapper Caper Finale

The donor BX had one more journey to make, off to the ‘metal processing’ site. As the shell had stayed on the trailer throughout the scrapper caper, all that was needed was to strap back down and drive across town. A game of ‘what the **** is it’ was played, with only the older staff recognising the shape.

One last journey to the metal processing site
One last journey to the metal processing site

I have surprised myself with how fast the donor has pulled apart, the harvested spares installed in XPO, and the remains suitably disposed of. With the shell gone, we are brought nicely to the apparent discussion point of what has happened to all the parts. Well, the majority of the ‘keep’ pile was installed in XPO late in the evening. The rest, well, I’ve had to hide it in the loft. And the shed. Some parts at a local friend’s farm. And in their loft. You get the idea.

I just have to keep all the parts out of the other half’s eyeline, especially when I promised not to buy more red BXs. Oops.

M


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