A Letter In Your Writing Doesn’t Mean You’re Not Dead

A yellow Cactus in an underground setting sets your correspondent off into futile reveries of austerity motoring.

Hello Yello. (c) Driven to Write

Towards the latter part of the 1980s, I can recall taking the view that Citroën was missing an opportunity to (in)directly replace the 2CV by introducing a pared-back version of the Visa, powered by the 602cc flat twin and featuring perhaps a full length sunroof. It wouldn’t have been the same as the beloved tin snail of course, but might have extended the life of the concept beyond the point where collision and emissions regulations killed-off the Deuche or any chance of a more sympathetically developed successor.

Now in reality there was probably little real appetite, either within PSA or indeed amongst the buying public at the time to Continue reading “A Letter In Your Writing Doesn’t Mean You’re Not Dead”

Summer Reissue : Visa? That’ll Do Nicely Madam…

This weekend finds Simon in less peevish form. Well, only slightly…

Image credit: Partsopen

I love the smell of floor polish in the morning. Floor polish is an excellent product for cleaning the wood trim in Jaguars. I don’t own a Jaguar incidentally – in my experience, one really ought not. Like all examples of the treacherous genus Felis, it owns you, and one might reasonably add, one’s bank balance.

But I haven’t asked you here today to Continue reading “Summer Reissue : Visa? That’ll Do Nicely Madam…”

1978 Datsun Sunny Road Test

“Datsun leaps ahead!” Archie Vicar has a look at the exciting new 1978 Datsun Sunny in what appears to be a verbatim transcript of a period review.

1978 Datsun Sunny saloon: source

The article first appeared in the South Caledonian News Inquirer, October 31, 1978. Douglas Land-Wimdermere [sic] took the original photos. Owing to the poor quality of the archive material stock photos have been used.

The Japanese marques don’t appear to give the impression of ever looking like they rest on their laurels (which, funnily, we also find in the Nissan range) so naturally enough, before we became accustomed to the old Sunny, a new Sunny has come along. And a jolly good thing too, I hear you say. For the old one had many good qualities and these have been built-upon in the new model.

Since 1975 many customers have bought the reliably-selling 120Y, making it Britain’s most popular import by a broad margin. The new Sunny takes on a refreshed guise, sporting a simpler and even more tasteful appearance. In its dark yellow paint, blacked-out front grille and its dapper wheel covers, it stood out against the dull concrete background of Worthing where Datsun have their head offices. It certainly will grace many a driveway for sure.

Being such an important car, the editor needed little persuasion when I suggested a full continental road test – and only that – would suffice to Continue reading “1978 Datsun Sunny Road Test”

1978 Citroen Visa Road Test

“Citroen’s newest car!” In what very much looks like a verbatim transcript of a period review, Archie Vicar considers Citroen’s 1978 Visa. Does it have what it takes be a proper Peugeot?

1978 Citroen Visa: source

The article first appeared in the Evening Post-Echo in November 1978. Douglas Land-Windermere provided the accompanying print photos. Due to the poor quality of the images, stock pictures have been used.

French car-firm Peugeot’s buy-up of the perennially troubled French car-firm Citroen could not have come soon enough. The new Visa is the last of Citroen’s lunatic inventions, engineered under the former rule of Michelin, surveyors of food and purveyors of tyres. It takes a good six years to devise a new car so the germ of the Visa hatched long before Peugeot could rescue Citroen from itself. That’s why Peugeot find themselves watching Citroen launch the deliberately eccentric and challengingly strange new Visa yet it is still a car with a hint of Peugeots to come.

So, how does one Continue reading “1978 Citroen Visa Road Test”

Cars and Sextants

As pointed out in an earlier article, the conflation of cars and sex isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be, so who on earth thought cars and sextants was a good idea?

Citroen Visa Sextant. Image via petrolblog
“What’s that you see Captain Haddock”? “Fun ahoy, landlubbers”! Image credit: (c) petrolblog

Should anybody labour under the illusion that marketing and Citroën were mutually exclusive before the advent of Linda Jackson, I offer you compelling evidence to the contrary.

For reasons best known to themselves Citroën’s marketing department created this nautically themed special edition in 1980. Loosely based on the 1124cc Visa Club, the Sextant came with a rear wiper, standard-fit radio, front headrests and tinted windows, in addition to jaunty blue decals and matching blue-finished injection-moulded front and rear bumpers.

It probably also came with a good deal of explaining to do, since most members of the public probably hadn’t the first idea what a sextant was, let alone did, despite the accompanying visuals going to farcical lengths to Continue reading “Cars and Sextants”

Visa in Three Volumes

The Citroën Visa was never a wildly popular choice in these islands during its lifetime and with just over 40 reportedly still registered in Britain, it’s now on the extinction list.

Visa saloon Prototype. Image via autoshite.
Image: autoshite.

But rarer still (had it existed) would have been this, a putative Visa saloon – (possibly the result of the Photoshopper’s art). Citroën (via Heuliez), did explore a five-door ‘break’ or estate variant later in the Visa’s lifespan, which never went beyond a mock-up. Creating a three volume body from a hatchback without appearing tacked-on is something of an art, one that proved beyond the capabilities of most rivals at the time, especially for a car as diminutive as the Visa.

But this is a neatly proportioned conversion, looking as though it was designed from first principles. The Visa’s relatively long wheelbase helps, that and the fact the designer avoided a fashionably high boot line. The plunging tail treatment lends the little saloon an elegance perhaps lacking in its hatchback sibling.

Despite its troubled background, the Visa was an underrated car and probably deserved more sales success than it managed in these parts. This may have been in part because of its looks, which fell between several stools. Would a small saloon have served them better? Probably unlikely, but who knows? Either way, I rather like this.

[Author’s note: This article was amended, to reflect considerable uncertainty about the authenticity of the lead image of this article. Dec 30, 2015]

Theme: Dashboards – Citroën Visa

Driven to Write uses a Visa to explore the mysteries of the Lunules

Visadrawing
There is a strong risk that this piece will just become a rosy-spectacled trip down memory lane from this contributor, but hey, it’s the festive season, so indulge me …

Given this month’s theme, I wanted to write about Citroën from the days when the company had decided that (almost) everyone else had got it wrong about pretty well everything. Citroën seemed to believe that the essential concept when designing a dashboard was to Continue reading “Theme: Dashboards – Citroën Visa”