The Citroën BX Reversed Its Way into the British Market in 1985

How do you let the car-buying British public know that your new compact hatchback is the best car on the market for their hard-earned pounds Sterling? At Citroën, the answer was obvious. Just send everything else backwards.

Of course, most buyers were aware that the wedgy, angular Citroën BX was unlike most other cars on the market. The basic design, penned by Marcello “Lamborghini Miura, De Tomaso Pantera, Lancia Stratos” Gandini, was so considered avant-garde that it was rejected for production by Volvo after they showed it as their Tundra concept car in 1979.

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Citroën, a company known for taking a few more risks than the safety-minded Swedes, decided someone ought to make the most of Gandini’s handsome wedgy shape and brought the shape to market in 1982. The BX replaced the GS (an originally rotary-powered oddity in its own right), becoming the second Citroën to be developed alongside a Peugeot equivalent (the more conventionally-styled 405) since the two firms merged in 1976.

The BX was already nearly three years old when this advertisement hit British televisions, but marketing it as ahead of its time was hardly a stretch. Its sophisticated (and incredibly difficult to service) self-leveling hydro-pneumatic suspension system was a unique feature in its class when the BX came to market and Citroën knew it was the car’s claim to fame (alongside its styling, of course).

Though the trick self-leveling suspension was unique, it wasn’t new. Citroëns had featured the pressurized balls of suspension fluid under the hood for decades before the BX dropped. Maybe that’s why someone got the idea of staging a near-collision with a directionally-confused cow against a vaporwave breakbeat. The Italian lines can only go so far, after all.

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Max Finkel

Max Finkel is a Weekend Contributor at Jalopnik.