Thursday, April 4, 2013

Is the Citroen Xantia a classic car yet?

"DOES this count as a classic yet?"

Picture the scene. It's a still evening somewhere on the M3, and I'm driving a Golf BlueMotion back from an assignment in the New Forest with two fellow Classic Car Weekly writers on board. Inevitably the conversation turned to just what sort of classics the publication's new boy is into.

The ideal replacement classic - should I scrape together the funds to fill the MX-5-shaped hole in my life - is a surprisingly tall order. I get the aesthetics and the character that makes a classic car so appealing, but I'm also so butterfingered with screwdrivers and hamfisted with spanners that any frail, fettle-hungry antiques like my first Mini are right out. Within about half an hour of starting on the job someone had offered me a very fetching MK3 Allegro, but with my mechanical uselessness it'd be a British Leyland story that'd only end in tears.

In fact, my own suggestions leaned towards modern day funsters with a handy dose of reliability - take, for instance, a Peugeot 106 GTi, a Ford Puma, a Citroen AX GT or, shock horror, another MX-5. I even suggested, possibly because it was getting late, the idea of an old Escort van with a mattress stuffed into the back "because I like going camping". That's how I ended up asking if all sorts of cars I grew up with back in the Nineties have earned their classic car wings yet.

One of my fellow staffers mentioned he ran a Citroen XM - that early Nineties spaceship with the wonderfully French hydrobrilliant suspension - and that led me to a small epiphany in the form of its smaller Xantia sister. It's brilliant because it's got more than a hint of the XM's quirkiness, but it's also friendly enough not to completely alienate an automotive idiot like me. Best of all, I could track down the diesel version because Southport to CCW's Peterborough offices is quite a long way.

I reckon, should the occasion call for it, it's could be a candidate. So then, whoever it is that judges these things.... does this count as a classic yet?

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