The Way We Were

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - THIS WEEK -

Novem­ber 1984, Brighton Clas­sic Car Show

If the Axel looks fa­mil­iar, that’s be­cause, de­spite not be­ing sold in Bri­tain, it does bear a strong re­sem­blance to a car that was – the Visa. How­ever, this lit­tle-re­mem­bered Ro­ma­nian-built small hatch sur­pris­ingly didn’t have any pan­els in com­mon with its sib­ling. Dur­ing the 1970s, Citroën and Fiat co-de­vel­oped Pro­to­type Y, a pro­posed Ami re­place­ment. This even­tu­ally emerged in 1981, badged as a Ro­ma­nian Oltcit Club, with Visa two-cylin­der and GS four-cylin­der en­gines. Then, in 1984, Citroën de­cided to also sell the car in West­ern Europe, pri­mar­ily to claw back some of the cash it had in­vested in Ro­ma­nia that the gov­ern­ment couldn’t re­pay. It didn’t re­ally work – for de­spite be­ing ten per cent cheaper than the Visa, it lacked the build qual­ity of even a French-con­structed car – and that was say­ing some­thing! Just 60,184 were made un­til 1990. French farm­ers ap­par­ently loved its low rear load­ing sill.

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