Wednesday, May 8, 2019

1982 Citroën CX Pallas

The Citroën CX is an oddball French sedan/fastback (don't call it a hatchback because it has its own trunk in the back) "executive car" that combined a complex hydropneumatic self-leveling suspension with 4-cylinder powerplants to replace the venerable ID/DS in Citroen's lineup.  Find this 1982 Citroën CX Pallas offered for $2,500 in Richmond, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!

From the seller:
1982 1982 Citroen CX 
VIN: VF7MAMM0016MM3887 
condition: fair 
cylinders: 4 cylinders 
drive: fwd 
fuel: gas 
odometer: 118000 
paint color: white 
size: mid-size 
title status: clean 
transmission: automatic 
type: sedan 
I purchased this car back in 2017.

I had been driving the car for the last year, and it was running reliably until I went on vacation for a few weeks. When I got home, the battery was dead. I replaced the battery, (and fuel filter and fuel pump) and the the Citroen would turn over, start, but then immediately die. 

After many months of tinkering with it I've become too frustrated to continue. My loss is your gain.

This car was featured on Jalopnik's "Nice Price or Crackpipe" last fall by Rob Emslie, 11/13/17

Paraphrased from Rob's article;

"You never forget your first time driving a classic Citroën, and if you never have then today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe CX might just be a great opportunity to do so. That is, if its price doesn't make you say, aww, forget it!

Have you ever driven a REAL Citroën? I don't mean one of those watered down post Peugeot-purchase cars, I mean the all-in, wackadoodle hydropneumatic tour de force cars of the fifties, sixties, seventies, and early eighties.

Radically innovative, Citroën's executive class cars of those eras were like nothing else on the planet. Well, save perhaps for the awesome rides of the Lowrider community.

Here we have a 1982 Citroën CX Pallas IE, and it's crazy for cocoa puffs with unique styling and amazing hydraulic systems. Well, it's one system actually, as a single high-pressure pump provides the motivational speaking for the self-leveling suspension, speed-sensing, self-centering (DIRAVI) steering, and the braking, which on the earlier DS models was effected via a magic mushroom on the floorboard.

Those brakes are so unique in their activation that the general rule provided to neophyte drivers is to hold you foot just above the 'sroom pedal and think "stop." The CX has a proper pendulum pedal but the brakes do still require accommodation.

The hydropneumatic suspension offers a ride quality that's otherworldly smooth but which may require Dramamine over undulating roads should you suffer from motion sickness. I'm totally being serious about that.

Powering the car is a 136-horsepower 2,499-cc inline four with Bosch fuel injection. That's paired with a three-speed automatic transaxle. That should provide for adequate performance for the 3,050-pound car. The ad claims 11,000 miles on the clock, however those are most likely kilometers and I'd guess it's made one trip around the horn."--Rob Emslie

--Since taking ownership, I've done a bit of work, including refitted a headliner, installed a nice radio/CD, gotten the power door locks and windows working, replaced the shoddy seat belts and fixed a number of electrical gremlins. I also replaced the battery and cold-start injector and it comes with a new coil. 

The Citroen had been reliable (I've done many trips from Richmond to Livermore) and even took it to Radwood in Oyster Point last year.

The car also includes a pair of BRAND NEW FRONT DOORS I picked up from a fellow in Sacramento. 

But, I just have too many cars and not enough room. (Citroen, Studebaker Avanti, Mercedes CLK55 AMG, Subaru Baja).

$2500 or best offer.


  1. Of course this one calls out to me. I seem to have missed the boat on the Citroen DS, before it sailed up the mighty Price River, but the CX provides a very similar driving experience. If this thing is relatively rust free, then it is a good buy at $2500. The Citroen hydraulic system is not really as complex as people think. It just takes an afternoon of reading descriptions and looking at some schematics. That electrical gremlin likely will be not harder to figure out than on any "normal" classic car. Sadly (or luckily) California is still a long haul for me, especially with a trailer. But dang, $2500..... no, I must resist.....mustn't I?

  2. I am a broken record about this but how would a bunch of classic Peugeot bicycles look on the roof of this?
    Mount a retro bullhorn speaker on the roof and tell Alle, Alle!

    1. I think we still have the Peugeot bike in the shed up at the lake... My brother initially bought it used around 1970, and I used it from the mid 70s to early 80s.

  3. Hmm I’m sort of nearby.
    Starts but then stops, battery went dead...

    Is there some sort of big ass capacitor involved in the fuel injection?

    It has enough fuel , spark and sit to start then it runs out of one, probably not air. It has some sort of slow drain aka short in the electrics, but not enough to set it on fire.

    Seems easy enough, these don’t have much proprietary computer stuff do they?

    The only thing that would have me freaking out is that if this were a car that was imported new to the United States which would mean that it had a whole lot of non-Citroen electrical and other parts.
    There was company called CX cars that imported these and put Pontiac headlights and the like on them. They sold a bunch in NYC, and I still see some in Chelsea. I’d avoid one of those Frankencitroens like (metaphors fail me here, but STDs and that guy that fixed the ice rink would work)

    A 25 year rule car from Canada would not be too scary.

  4. For a Craigslist ad you have to give props to the seller. He's trying hard to bait the hook and obviously knows something about this sui generis speedboat. The issue is are there any Froggie loving loons out there brave enough to take this on after the admittedly due diligence doing present owner cries "UNCLE!". Not me...I'm too lazy.

  5. The fuel injection on my CX is Bosch, they had two different versions depending on the year. The only difficult part would be finding a replacement ECU if that's the culprit. I'm on the look-out as my idle air control valve isn't receiving voltage.

    1. Double check all your vacuum hoses. Those Bosch FI's act just like that when there's a leak. On my Alfa I had to replace the hose from the air cleaner which didn't appear bad until you flexed it and then had one that I fought for weeks which was a tiny diameter hose that had dried out. I didn't realize it was bad until I tried to remove it to test a component.


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