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During episode 186 of BNR Petrolheads it was discussed again: the Citroën Visa. Carlo Brantsen and Bas van Werven paid attention to the fun Citroën and the trigger was the car memory. For this regular section of the entertaining car podcast, listeners submit beautiful car-related stories, which are alternately recited by Brantsen and Van Werven. During and after the memory in podcast 186, the Citroën Visa on offer.
After the entertaining lecture, Bas van Werven told a nice story. When he was in college he had an orange “650”. In the way he named the displacement of his first Visa was the sheer justification of Citroëns' choice to stick to the twin-cylinder engines for a long time. And not only that. Van Werven also said that a housemate bought the Visa from him. He took the Visa with him for a holiday of several weeks in Spain. Not much was expected of that adventure beforehand, but the Visa happily returned to base. Van Werven's housemate then enjoyed the Visa for a year and a half. This showed that the Citroën two cylinders could last a very long time with a little care, attention and love.
A real one in everything Citroën
De Citroën Visa, under Peugeot's direction, emerged from the project codenamed Voiture Diminuée, after the first project based on the Fiat 127 was discontinued. Peugeot became the owner of Citroën, and wanted the Peugeot 104 as the basis for VD use, hence. But above all, the Visa was a real one in everything Citroën. The cut-out of the rear screens (which partially covered the wheels), the solution with one large windscreen wiper, the single-spoke steering wheel, the typical dashboard with control satellites, the profiling of the door panels, the way the Citroën Visa stood on its legs, the reversing lights in the middle of the bumper, that typical nose, the suspension comfort and the technology used at the Special and Club: the Visa left little to guess in terms of origin.
Bridge in program, hesitation at Citroëndrivers
De Citroën Visa also fell into the range very well. With the two-cylinder versions and the four-cylinder Super (with Peugeot X engine), the model bridged the gap between the A-type Citroëns on the one hand and the GS on the other. Nevertheless, the Visa was not initially a success. People had to get used to his extravagance. Moreover, it was launched at a time when the world was confronted with inflation, commodity crises and sky-high interest rates. In expensive times, the 2CV6 and the Dyane were Citroën program price-wise attractive alternatives to the two-cylinder versions of the Visa. In addition, A-type Citroëndrivers (in black and white) are less likely to switch to a Visa Super with a four-cylinder engine. And the GS rider didn't just say goodbye to the hydropneumatic comfort. In addition, the Visa was also a bit lower in the tree in terms of class, the model was significantly smaller than the GS. But above all: people generally did not like the Visa.
Color and freedom
As a young boy I did like the Visa, and I still do. The design indicated that Citroën still presented individuality in a way that only Citroën that was possible. I remember from that time, the end of the seventies, how you were in a Visa. My parents drove Citroën (a GSpécial and a 2CV4). Shortly after the Dutch introduction, they tried out a Visa Club (652 cc) and a Visa Super. The first was undersized for a GS rider, but the Super was a great alternative. In my memory I breathed freely in those carts, they drove superbly and comfortably, and were different from their competitors in everything. And that eccentric laissez-faire atmosphere was also present in the Visa. He gave the impression that it had been put together with the loose wrist. I was crazy about Citroëns, they gave color and freedom to life.
Not long after this, the Visa was tackled by Heuliez. The facelift not only gave the Visa from 1981 a much more serious character. The changes also brought color to the Visa sales technically, the Visa was embraced. What helped was that the Visa buyer of the XNUMXs could choose from an increasing number of models and engine variants. There was also a diesel, and the Citroën Visa made a technical leap in its image thanks to the arrival of fast versions (Chrono, GT, GTI) and rally participation. On the other hand, the first dashboard disappeared in the mid-1988s in favor of a more general variant. But the Visa still retained a lot of individuality, and it lasted until XNUMX. That was the year that Citroën production ceased after nearly 1.3 million units built. During the eighties, the Visa, together with the BX, was therefore an important stronghold for Citroën. And a sympathetic one too.
It is obvious to ask the question which Visa I like the most. Of course. A TRS, Chrono, a GT, a Décapotable, a GTI and a Mille Pistes are obvious and fun choices. From that list I think the GT is the most harmonious, which is just right. But a very early Special from the first series still wins with me. Because it is this stripped-down version that exposes the original Visa concept the most, that's my favorite. In Mimosa. Blue. Or orange. With 650 engine. This is how a Visa should be for me. Exactly so.
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