The Citroën Visa. In the eighties, they seemed to be everywhere. Today, you’re much more likely to see the diesel van with 200k miles on the clock than the little hatchback.
Launched at the Paris Motor Show in 1978 as a replacement to the Ami, the car enjoyed a decade of success, finally bowing out in 1988 after a massive production run of 1,254,390. In the 10 years, the Visa spawned various petrol and diesel versions, including a GTi and a monster Group B racer, the Trophee. Sales started slowly, but a subtle redesign in 1981 helped Visa sales to take off. The interior design, in particular the dashboard, was typically Citroën and suitably unique.
The convertible Visa was a real forerunner to the C3 Pluriel, offering the option to fold the roof backwards or completely remove it. How many convertibles are still around today?
In my opinion, time has been kind to the Visa. Although fairly tame in standard form, the sportier versions look synonymous with the eighties, especially in ‘banker’s braces’ red or white. Trying to find one today would appear to be extremely hard. At the time of writing, there isn’t one single car for sale on eBay, Auto Trader or Pistonheads. One can only hope that the little car hasn’t been an innocent victim of the scrappage scheme. The GTi version is certainly worth treasuring – it may not necessarily appeal to Gene Hunt, but it beautifully represents the 1980s.
If you’ve got a Visa, let Petrolblog know and we’l feature it here. In the meantime, check out this French TV commercial for the Visa GTi. One wonders if a certain Mr Clarkson had seen this when preparing the Renaultsport Twingo ferry-jump during the last series of Top Gear?