Quick: Think of your favorite Group B car. Is it the venerable Audi Quattro? The exotic Lancia Delta 037 or Delta S4? The sleek Ford RS200? Perhaps it’s the timeless Peugeot 205?
I’m willing to bet none of you answered Citroën BX 4TC Evolution, which competed in just three rallies and never finished better than sixth before the entire class was canceled. Yeah — one of those will soon be auctioned in Paris via Artcurial at the end of the month.
This BX 4TC Evolution is expected to fetch somewhere between $288,000 and $404,000. It was driven by Jean-Claude Andruet, and was acquired directly from Citroën according to the listing. It’s not a looker in the way some Group B machines were; scanning the BX’s exterior, you’ll find no hint of the 205's Coke-bottle proportions or RS200's chunky but softened edges. The BX was more like the MG Metro 6R4, in that it looked like a regular car transmogrified into something otherworldly by virtue of the many bits and bobs grafted onto it. As the listing explains, that’s basically what it was:
At that time Guy Verrier was in charge of the competition department at Citroën, with a mission to develop a competitive Group B car. Not an easy task with the sales department at Citroën requiring the car to remain close to the standard model. This left the engineers little room to design the architecture of the engine, restricted to a longitudinal front-engined set-up for example. As the original BX had a transverse engine, this required the installation of cooling radiators at the back.
Andruet himself says the BX was “much better that what was said about it, or what it was able to do.” The car debuted for the first round of the 1986 World Rally Championship, the Monte Carlo Rally. It made the subsequent trip to Sweden, then took a break for further development until the sixth round, the Acropolis Rally. All three of the team’s cars failed to finish in Greece. The BX 4TC never participated in another rally, and at the end of the 1986 season, Group B was shuttered anyway for being too dangerous.
Then things got weird. Citroën was required to build 200 BX 4TC road cars for homologation purposes, but never got around to completing the run or selling all of what it’d built, according to Rally Group B Shrine. So Citroën did what any rational company would do under capitalism: Buy the reminder back and destroy them. Which is really a shame because, in competition guise at least, the BX 4TC appeared to be a fine car. It just didn’t stick around long enough to reach its full potential, at a time when literally everyone — even Lada — was bringing their A game to the Group B party.
Today, Andruet remarks that the car’s gearbox and suspension feel excellent, which is surprising considering the BX 4TC’s suspension was of the hydropneumatic variety and was considered the vehicle’s most glaring weakness at the time. That was one of the brilliant things about motorsport 40 years ago — race cars and road cars could share the same wild technology, no matter how unsuitable it might’ve seemed for one purpose or the other.
The powertrain was decidedly more conventional, consisting of a 380-horsepower turbocharged inline-four that sent power to all corners via a five-speed manual gearbox. The BX’s nose reportedly had to be lengthened to accommodate the pivot to a longitudinal layout, from the passenger car’s transverse setup.
While the BX 4TC Evolution may never have garnered the respect all Group B contenders deserve, it probably won’t be ignored when the bidding starts in Paris. A BX 4TC road car with less than 10,000 miles to its name sold for $61,000 at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach auction in 2019.