Four years. ‘Citroën Xsara VTS’ had been on my eBay watchlist for four years. Most weeks, eBay would email me, letting me know a suitable match had been uploaded to its site of much temptation. Like a kid unwrapping a present on Christmas morning, I’d open the email with excitement and expectation, only to find the automotive equivalent of a pair of socks.
PetrolBlog’s regular reader will know that I’ve long been an admirer of the Citroën Xsara VTS. Way back in 2012 – when Citroën’s coupe was the star of Bangerwatch – I suggested that I was in the market for one. So I asked eBay to let me know whenever a Xsara VTS came up for sale, and sat back in anticipation of my next purchase. Then I waited. Then waited some more…
Oh, sure, there was the occasional flicker of hope, but none hit the spot. You see, I was quite particular about the Citroën Xsara VTS I desired. Firstly, it would have to be a pre-facelift car. Secondly, I would hold on until I found one finished in ‘Claudia Schiffer Yellow’. I know that to some people the colour is more ‘baby sick and custard’, but to me it’s always been ‘Claudia Schiffer Yellow’.
Let’s face it, conjuring up images of a German supermodel wandering down a staircase whilst stripping down to her M&S undies is more appealing than baby puke.
You see what I mean?
Anyway, back to the search for une aiguille dans une botte de foin. With fewer than 200 Citroën Xsara VTS left on the road, I wasn’t exactly inundated with emails. But almost all the cars on offer tended to be post-facelift models and the vast majority were well past their sell-by date. That’s the problem with the Xsara VTS. Despite its ‘Peugeot 306 GTi-6 with a five-speed ‘box’ reputation, few people really care for it.
Which means, at best, the 2.0-litre 16v engines tend to get stripped out for transplant purposes, or, at worst, the cars get run into the ground or scrapped when the bills become too high. Like so many other Citroëns of the 80s and 90s, the Xsara VTS is in serious danger of spiralling into the abyss. But I was determined not to let that happen.
I don’t need another Citroën; I don’t need another car. But for me, the AX GT, ZX 16v and Xsara VTS represent the holy trinity of Citroën goodness. Sure, there are more illustrious Citroën threesomes out there – pick and choose from the DS, SM, CX, GS, 2CV, BX, Mehari… the list goes on – but for me, this is a full set. Which means I had to move quickly when it appeared in my inbox.
In truth, I was probably too keen. The seller listened as I waxed lyrical about his car, as though I was trying to sell the car to him. A deal was struck over the phone and another car was bought, unseen, and without a test drive. You don’t need to tell me, I know. But when you’ve waited this long, you start to worry if you’re ever going to find the right car.
It’s not perfect, but it has a near-perfect MOT history and a mere 39,000 miles on the clock. Crucially, it’s the right colour, with the right face and it belongs to me. What’s more, for the first time in years, I can say I don’t want to buy another car. The fleet is complete. No more room at the inn.
Quentin Willson might not like it, but I’m delighted to say I finally own a Citroën Xsara VTS. I can’t wait to get to know it.