DTW looks at a Special Edition that was remarkable for its ordinariness.
I feel duty bound to contribute something on the above theme, having agitated for it a couple of themes ago. I mentioned then a particular special edition that lodged itself in my mind, kind of like a piece of apple-peel between two molars: the AX K.Way. On scraping the back of my mind as to why this particular special had held a certain fascination for me, I think it was the very fact that, come to think of it, I could not detect what exactly was so special about this edition.
In the scholastic year ’90-’91, I was a very English student attending a very French university in Paris. A direct consequence of deciding to pursue this opportunity was that I gave up ownership of a beloved AX which I had purchased and owned from new. I recall a pining for said Alpine (?) White 11RE (4-speed – I have always regretted not paying the extra for 5, in spite of being a poor-ish student) and, hence, noticing these similarly attired cars that were quite prevalent on the streets of the City of Light.
Brief research reveals that the Citroen AX K.Way was the product of a brand collaboration between innovators in, respectively, automobiles and pac-a-macs. Given that the latter were successful with young French students (I am assuming because they were cheap, versatile and managed a hint of what passed for style in the 70’s and 80’s), it seems that enough marketing thought was given to this special AX to ensure that it would be, above all, affordable.
Hence, the car was based on a basic, 4-speed, 954cc AX in “Blanc Meije”. Special equipment extended to blue and red stripes down the side of the car, K.Way logos of the same colour at the rear and on the right (as one faces it) leading edge of the bonnet, colour-keyed and logoed wheel trims, and, logoed seats with red and blue stripes on a light grey background cloth (synthetic – I know because a friend of mine managed to melt a patch of it by accidently dropping a lit cigarette-end). And that was it.
No radio (pre-radio equipment preparation, though), no split rear seat, no rear wiper, no glove box. Fortunately even the basic AX (labelled E – from memory) came with head-restraints, heated rear screen, a cigar lighter, and, front and rear ash-trays, betraying its French origins. No wonder my tired and emotionally vexed brain was bemused.
The K.Way was launched in March 1988 for the grand total of FF47,200. 6,500 of these limited edition specials were sold – 4,000 of which were 5-doors – and it was so successful that it became a permanent range member for ’89, ’90 and even survived the facelift of ’91. Given how little was on offer, this seems baffling, but those were different times, and so I can only guess that a cheap, jolly, honest little car held a certain appeal in socialist France.
Happily, from Citroen’s perspective, as those 80’s icons Dire Straits would have put it, the K.Way was profitable case of “Money for Nothing”.
(references: l’automobileancienne.com, Autosphere.fr)