The fire-breathing world of Group B rallying during the 1980s was arguably the world’s greatest spectator sport. Purpose-built beasts of this rough and tumble world regularly propelled themselves toward the finish line with the ferocity of a Tasmanian devil. With much of the world’s attention focused on Group B, Citroen wanted to step into the spotlight. This Citroen BX 4TC that’s set to go to auction with Artcurial is a throwback to the French marque’s failed rally fighter.
Finished in white with a stripe coloured to match the French flag, this car certainly brought a bit of chic to the often boisterous appearance of these rally cars. Neat spotlights have been integrated into the grille, while subtly swollen bodywork shrouds a widened front and rear track. The interior is also understated with the only real Group B giveaway being the additional cluster of gauges within the instrument binnacle.
Group B rules stated that manufacturers had to build a minimum number of road-legal cars in order to homologate them for top-flight rallying. While creating such vehicles for the road was a formality to engineers, the good news for us enthusiasts was that a limited run of slightly detuned rally heroes were available to the public. The Citroen BX 4TC was to number 200 examples built to satisfy the rule makers, but they would fail to sell the lot. Total sales numbers are vague but all sources agree it was shy of even half that total.
Citroen simply didn't have the budget and resources to compete. They were late to the party in the first place, as intra-group rival Peugeot was already cleaning house with the 205 T16 by the time the BX 4TC arrived in 1986. After experimentation with front-wheel drive at prototype stage, it had ended up with all-wheel drive, but it lacked the exotic materials that gave its competitors incredible power-to-weight ratios.
Rather than scratch-build parts as Peugeot did, team boss Guy Verrier wanted the road-going and competition-spec 4TCs to share as many components as possible. Rather than stick the engine in the middle as Peugeot had done with the 205, its motor was way out front. Audi had previously been dominant with the front-engined Quattro but, by the time of the 4TC's rally debut, even the Quattro was being shown up by the mid-engined 205 and Lancia Delta S4.
It managed only three WRC outings before Group B was outlawed at the end of 1986, further compounding the 4TC's infamous reputation.
While the Group B BX4 TC might be seen as a failure, its lack of success on rally stages makes its road-going counterpart an absolute bargain in comparison to a road-going Audi Quattro or Peugeot 205 T16. The estimate for this BX in ‘exceptional condition’ is just $68,000 - $91,000 — far less than the $148,000 a Peugeot T16 sold for last year at auction.
This rare gem has a little over 9000 miles on the clock and has been the benefactor of a $74,000 restoration by DS Sensation. According to the advert, the current owner is the ‘most important collector of special Citroens in France, and most probably in the world’ highlighting the significance of this rally-bred hatchback. It is believed that there are only around 40 Citroen BX 4TCs left in existence.
The car will be auctioned at Retromobile in Paris, France without reserve.
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