Presenting three lesser known varieties of Citroën’s svelte autoroute express
CX Haute Protection
When thinking about an armoured passenger car, the picture that comes to mind for most Europeans is likely a large black car with the famous three-pointed star on its bonnet and for those across the Atlantic, one bearing the Cadillac crest. However, in the long wheelbase CX Prestige, Citroën was of the opinion that they could offer a suitable platform for such a vehicle as well, and not without reason.
The CX did not have an engine nearly as powerful as that in any S-Class, granted, but if the weight of the extra protection could be kept low enough this should not necessarily be an insurmountable problem. The hydropneumatic suspension that offered the same ride comfort regardless of payload was a unique bonus for the French firm, and room for rear-seated VIPs was at least as generous as what a Sonderklasse could provide.
Thus from the beginning of the 1980’s Citroën offered (discreetly) the CX Haute Protection. Through the use of special chromium-molybdenum-vanadium steel alloy and several layers of aramide fibres and kevlar; not to mention bulletproof windows (28mm thick on the side and 40mm for the windshield and backlight), the CX Haute Protection offered what it said on the tin at a weight increase of a quite reasonable 445kg.
This meant that the performance figures of the CX Haute Protection, although lower than the standard CX Prestige and probably also any armoured Mercedes-Benz S-Class, remained more than acceptable for its application.
Special care was taken to protect vital organs such as the hydraulic high-pressure pump, fuel reservoir and alternator with armoured casings. Brakes, transmission, wheels and suspension were also reinforced to be able to cope with the extra weight. Outwardly it was not immediately obvious that it was anything other than a normal CX Prestige; this discreetness coupled to the a-typical base car were a plus for any prospective customer.
Due to the fact that for security reasons Citroën never disclosed any information on the subject, it is not known how many Haute Protections were ordered; very likely at least some made their way into the Elysée’s vehicle pool. One known example is former East Germany’s leader Erich Honecker’s CX Haute Protection which is on display at the Verkehrsmuseum Dresden.
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the first commercial passenger flight of the Concorde, Air France planned to organise an elaborate special event in January 1986. One of the ideas was to have the Concorde flight crews use custom-made Citroën CXs to ferry them and corporate bigwigs around during the celebrations.
Air France ordered twelve CX 25 GTi Turbo’s with a few unique details: Blanc nacré (pearl white) paint plus upholstery and carpets of the same materials as used inside the Concorde itself. Unfortunately Citroën encountered problems in getting the special pearl white shade right and experienced quality issues in the paintwork as well; this resulted in such delays that Air France cancelled the order fearing that the cars would not be ready in time.
Nevertheless, six cars were completed; three were used by Citroën executives and later destroyed, the remaining three were given to dealers in Rennes and Reims. Two of those have survived making the CX Concorde a very rare specimen indeed.
At first sight this would seem to be just a normal CX GTi series 2 but it is in fact a testbed for the then upcoming XM. One of the big novelties of the XM was of course the hydractive suspension; in order to get as much real-world data as they could, Citroën produced twelve special CX 25GTis in 1987 that were equipped with this newest suspension development.
These were known within the corporation as the CX Regamo- reg for regulation and amo for amortisseurs (the French term for suspension dampers). Six were used for testing by factory drivers, but the others were leased to long-time Citroën customers that were known to rack up high yearly mileages.
Externally, nothing could alert onlookers that this was anything other than a normal CX, but open the bonnet and anyone who knows their hydropneumatic Citroëns would immediately spot the extra hydaulic spheres. A unique switch to the right of the steering wheel allowed the driver to select the preferred suspension mode; the control unit for the hydractive system was stored under the passenger’s footwell.
After the leased Regamos had covered 30,000 kilometres, they were returned to the dealerships who then had the choice between removing the hydractive bits and selling the cars as regular used vehicles or have them destroyed.
Most were indeed reconverted or sent to the breaker’s yard but as is the way with these things not everybody complied – there are at least two CX Regamo’s known to survive; one can be viewed in the CitroMuseum in Castellane (Alpes de Haute Provence).
Should you be in France sometime in the future for a well deserved post-pandemic vacation and encounter a silver metallic, second series CX GTi offered for sale, take a quick peek under the bonnet; you never know…