Conservatoire Citroën is an incredible place. Housed in a dull, unmarked industrial unit north-east of Paris are Citroën’s crown jewels dating back over a century.
The docent for the day is Denis Huille, who waxes at length about each entry, before briefly pondering the 1985 BX 4TC homologation special. He harrumphs and moves on when I ask him about it. All he will say is “this car was a disaster.” He has a point.
Citroën was late to Group B rallying, but rather than adopt best practice of a mid-mounted engine, Citroën decided its BX weapon would retain a front-engined platform. Out went the transverse layout and in came a longitudinal arrangement. However, the 147kW 2.1-litre 8v Simca-Chrysler four was pushed so high and far forward that weight distribution was goosed.
To further compound its dynamic shortcomings, it weighed 1280kg, around 200kg more than its rivals. It used a modified SM transmission and had no centre differential, so on anything other than loose, low-friction surfaces the front and rear axles would engage in open hostilities. The rally version fared little better, competing in three events, scoring a best of sixth and then having the rug pulled from beneath it when Group B was cancelled.
That it was even permitted to compete was a miracle. Coachbuilder Heuliez needed to build 200 cars for homologation, but only around 110 were ever made, with just 86 finding buyers.
Citroën went into damage limitation mode and tried to buy back the road cars, offering double the original asking price. Only around 40 survived, with Citroën stripping the buy-back vehicles and destroying them.
You’ll find no mention of the BX 4TC nor its Group B involvement on the competition section of Citroën’s website. Yet despite the company’s efforts to erase the car from history, we love an underdog and they don’t come much doggier than the BX 4TC.
1985 Citroen BX 4TC specs
Engine: 2141cc inline-4, SOHC, 8v
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