Papers Please - Citroën CX Tissier Loadrunner
Citroën used to be a dominant force in the field of large executive cars. The iconic DS revolutionised the segment with all its luxuries and quirky features that would be uncommon on modern cars, let alone 1960s ones. The spiritual successor to the DS was the CX, which shared its father’s success and proved staggeringly popular, with Citroën selling over one million examples in the 15 year (17 for the estate) production run.
The last successful ‘big Citroën’ was a seemingly odd candidate for a delivery vehicle, then. Surely, if you wanted to make a delivery, you’d be better off going for a van or truck instead of a French saloon of questionable reliability. Coachbuilders Tissier thought otherwise. They saw a niche market for a high-speed delivery vehicle to transport items such as newspapers across continents within days, and deemed a converted saloon the perfect option, as opposed to a cumbersome van. A number of options were considered, though the obvious winner was the CX.
Other saloons of the time, with their conventional suspension systems, would have simply not worked. They would collapse on the floor in a twisted, metallic heap, and this is where Citroën enters. Their legendary hydropneumatic suspension was more than capable of carrying the extra hundreds ot kilos of weight, making the CX Safari (estate) the perfect car for the task. The conversion was less complex than you’d expect; a new rear suspension crossmember was added for the 3rd pair of wheels support the added weight (along with its own set of hydropneumatic spheres) and the car was cut from the rear doors back to be extended 690mm, before having the hatch and 4 rear wheels re-installed to complete the vehicle.
The suspension proved so robust that Tissier started to offer more CX variants, including car transporters like above. Two engine options were offered across the range; a Citroën turbodiesel 4-cylinder (33 US mpg) and a 2.5 litre fuel-injected petrol 4-cylinder (17-20 US mpg, also a Citroën engine). Both of these could be had with a choice of either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission, and were fit for gliding across Europe for hours upon end at comfortably over 100mph. Just don’t mention that last bit to le gendarmerie.
Sadly, once they had finished their service, it was a common practise to simply abandon the vehicles. Due to this, they are increasingly rare today, and tend to sell for rather a lot of money. So if you see one for sale, don’t hesistate. Be a hero. Like whoever owns this one-off CX ‘Penthouse’. Just forget parallel parking, and all your issues with it will disappear.
So, the Citroën CX. One of the coolest luxury saloons ever, dare I say, and as it turns out also one of the best delivery vans. High speed delivery vans. Now, isn’t that a title you’d love to have with your work van?