The Way We Were
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.