Having recently bought a Citroën BX 16Valve as a restoration project, I started to look into its past. I am the 9th registered keeper, with the last four having had a registered shell. While the details are limited and no service book is present, the history of XPO seems worth sharing.
The birth of a Citroën BX
Going by the ORGA number, the car rolled off the production line in Rennes on the 22nd of September 1989. Thus, making this Citroën BX 16Valve just 31 years old. From leaving the factory, it was some four months before the car was first registered. However, on the 31st of January 1990, it was registered for the first time. And it was at this point Citroën BX gained the registration G553 XPO. Since then, XPO has had a varied history.
XPO’s early history
In its early life, this Citroën BX 16Valve was more than likely a company car, possibly to a travelling salesman. Clocking up 81,000 miles in its first three and a half years, 23,000 per year, with its earliest owners. It was then in regular use up to 1998, with its second and third owners having more than annual servicing carried it. Going by the service history, XPO was evidently loved, but it must have been one expensive car between servicing and fuel.
Based on the history is appears this Citroën BX fell out of use in 1998. The history with the car becomes a little vague at this point. It’s not clear if the car had a fault and was relegated to driveway duty. Perhaps simply taken on by a new owner as a part-time plaything. There are, however, notes in XPOs history file that suggest it was off the road and untaxed between 1998 and 2003.
The descent into becoming a shell
The cars last recorded MOT was in September 2008. Shortly after, it was sold to the 6th keeper and the engine and gearbox removed. These went on to live in a Peugeot 205. Fortunately, the removal was sympathetic to the car. Seemingly no damage was done, and steps clearly taken to preserve both electrical and mechanical systems.
The remaining shell was bought by the 7th owner shortly after the engine was removed in late 2008. The cost was a mere £150, cheap even then, with the new owner planning to restore the shell back to the road. Unfortunately, the then owner lost their storage space before work could begin. For some time, the shell was advertised on the usual forums. In a final hour act, Kitch bought it in 2013 to save it from the crusher.
The changing times at Southways
Initially intended to be a breaker to supply parts to ‘BAH’, the shell on XPO was in excellent condition. Too good to be broken. The plan to break the car started to change when the rotten ‘G-SEG’ arrived as a stablemate.
Unfortunately, as is all too often, life gets in the way. Fast forward seven years, and the restoration hasn’t been started, further adding to the history of XPO. Worse still, there is a challenger to the head of the restoration queue. A black phase one Citroën BX 16Valve. And this created an opportunity I couldn’t refuse.
I’d first seen ‘XPO’ back in 2013, shortly after joining Kitch’s stable down at Southway’s. The BXClub.co.uk had been invited down to use the rolling road, and there she was, tucked in between a few other cars. At first view, it looked pretty much immaculate. Then some of the minor cosmetics started to show. Eventually, you find yourself stood at the driver A-pillar, wondering how on earth the rot is so bad.
Returning XPO to the road
In early 2021 I seized my opportunity to buy the car. Through the wonder of Shiply, had the car brought up to BXProject HQ from Southway’s Automotive. I’ll spare the details, but you can read about it here. Many thoughts have gone through my head about what to do with the car, from splitting it to provide spares for my own BX to making an EV conversion.
The reality is this is just too good of a car to do anything but return to standard. It won’t be a show car, and I’ll only tackle the bodywork, which absolutely must be done. This should end up as a mechanically sound car. One that can be taken on a good long trip around Scotland with no worries or problems. If I get my chance, that’s exactly what I’ll do.
I suppose I should stop writing about the history of this Citroën BX and concentrate on getting XPO back on the road. Hopefully, it will have many more Automotive Adventures.