Blog : Lots done, nothing achieved

Keith Adams

Well, that was another dull weekend!

It started with a ‘phone call from Mike ‘Swiss’ Humble last week. ‘One of my neighbours is selling his Citroen Xantia TD, and he’s not after a lot of money for it. The problem is, it’s LHD…’

And as always happens, this one simple had got my cogs turning. Oh yes – I’m a Citroen fan, I like Xantias having run them regularly as company cars in the late 1990s, and I reached a natural end point with the Rover 75. So, I ended up doing the usual thing I do – finding justification for a swap to a ‘new’ French car. I know you’re already telling me it’ll end in tears. It always does.

So, I said to Mike that he should tell the guy I’ll have it. And then just as quickly put the 75 on eBay for a quick and honest sale. What could possibly go wrong? It was a nice plan – the 75 would pay for the Xantia, and I’d end up with a more economical car into the bargain. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m always looking for something new…

That’s why on Saturday morning – and with frenetic bidding on the 75 meaning it had reached its reserve – I found myself at Mike’s place (also known as Swiss Towers) looking over one very tidy, straight and honest Citroen Xantia with the cleanest interior I’d ever seen. With the Rover looking to have paid for the Citroen, this was a no-brainer – especially after a quick drive revealed that everything mechanical and hydraulic was in top order, while it rode on a full set of near-new Michelins. Always a good sign…

So, the deal was done. I was now a Citroen Xantia 1.9TD SX (LHD) owner. Nice.

Before heading off into the sunset though, I thought it would be nice for Mike and me to head towards his local recycling centre to see if I could pick up a pair of RHD Xantia headlamps, and to also see what else we could see. The Pease Pottage yard is huge – probably the size of Wales – and it is chock-full of scrap cars. The selection is eclectic, to say the least, with the ages ranging from 1960s to 2010s; the sizes from ‘Axiam’ to ‘Mercedes-Benz’. Surely we’d find my headlamps there.

Besides, with an onsite cafe, it’s a fun day out for all the family.

We weren’t there long, though. I drove the Xantia there, finding a quiet place to park it. Then we entered. Looking around the first couple of yards, it was clear that facelift Xantias just aren’t as common as I envisaged. And soon, boredom was setting in. I found an interesting Proton Coupe in there, and decided to have a poke around – especially as it had Recaro seats inside – and as I pulled the interior door handle to open it up (a little too roughly, it transpires), I felt a massive pain at the top of my right arm – the one I’d felt before, in Romania last year.

I turned to Mike, and whimpered, ‘I’ve dislocated my arm – take me to hospital please’. I think the look on my face convinced him I was being serious.

So off we trotted to Crawley Hospital, with Mike driving and me ouching away in the back seat. And thanks again to the wonderful NHS, and one very understanding doctor, within half an hour, my arm was reset as it should be and I was under the influence of some very powerful opiates. Clearly I’d not be taking the Xantia home after all that.

To cut a long story short, the 75 did end up selling on eBay, but so far the winning bidder hasn’t been in touch. And that means I have a new car 150 miles away that I can’t use, and another one that’s sold, but isn’t.

I guess that’s just another weekend in my boring, uneventful life…

Keith Adams


  1. Hope you’ve recovered fully from your arm problem. As a result of a spinal problem I have the joys of ribs dislocating which is so painful it has to be felt to be believed so I know how painful that sort of thing can be.
    A friend of mine has Ehlers Danlos, she can dislocate practically every joint of her body at will as a result… and will probably be in a wheelchair before 25 years old.
    My upper back dislocates occasionally – which means crawling around the floor moaning with pain until it decides to go back in – not fun, so you have my sympathy.
    On the upside you have a nice new toy to play with…

  2. Proton Coupe? Well, well, well, never knew there was such a thing.

    @ Lord Sword. That did actually make me laugh aloud. Will I be struck down?

  3. Hope the arm’s ok, Keith.

    When I first heard you were selling the 75 I very much got the impression that you were always “looking for something new”. I can appreciate this in some ways and if I had the means I may do similar, albeit to a lesser extent.

    However, after all the effort you went to with the 75 I can’t quite understand such a rapid sale and for a Xantia!!
    Nice styling but as I remember (my Dad had two) they were rather lacking in soul. And from 75 interior to the drab Xantia one – now that is a shock!!

  4. Sorry to hear your woes, Keith, hope the arm heals. And the 75 bidder contacts you…


    I have a friend with Ehlers-Danloss, he’s doing ok in his 40s, although he has to be extremely careful doing everyday things like walking down the stairs. He’s a black belt in Karate and a racing cyclist, so he manages to live a very full life- hope that is the case with your friend (everyone is different).

  5. Ouch! Hope you’re feeling okay now Keith. I also like the fact that out of the list of faults on 75, one that you fixed was the cupholder!

    Anyone else think that a scrapyard with a cafe is sheer genius? If it had beds as well, I’d never want to leave!

  6. Proton coupe – the poor man’s Mitsubishi! Good cars nonetheless, with Lotus engineered handling.

    Hope the arm gets better! These things can recur.

    I’ve had non-paying buyers for computers on ebay, that was annoying. I can only imagine how frustrating it could be for a non-payer timewaster on a car.
    Gumtree is full of wasters and Autotrader only seems to cater for the nearly-new used market these days. Probably the best way to sell is to use this site or a Rover forum, especially as it is a good example.

    Xantias are fantastic cars. Loved mine. In my opinion they are the peak of Citroen – they got the rust proofing, quality and reliability right.
    Just before the cars got a bit too complicated. And now they’re threatening to abandon hydropneumatics (DS5, C5), are going overly stiff in suspension (DS5) and are pushing their smaller cars (DS3).
    Only thing is, LHD could be a problem on country roads, trying to see past tractors or caravans.

  7. @will M :- Protons, good cars??? They are just about the cheapest, most flimsy heaps of junk of the roads, they took over where Lada left off!

  8. Mike,

    Is it a good swap (Xantia for a Rover 75)
    I have now an MG ZT which is very good and I had a very bad Xantia in the past.

  9. @9, Steve,

    Ladas, excluding the dreadful Samara, may be many things- few of which amounted to a pleasurable driving experience, but flimsy they were not- they were designed to cope with the worst that the Russian roads and weather could throw at them, and usually came out on top.

  10. I had two Xantias: a 1.9 TD SX five door and a rather wonderful 2.1 TD SX estate. Never a spot of bother with either. looked good, reasonably comfortable, well equipped and economical. The estate was simply excellent.

    Strange dash board though.

  11. The phase 1/1.5 had a huge grab handle on the passenger side dash. Handy for keeping envolopes behind and knocking your head on in a crash.

    Replaced by an airbag on the phase 2.

  12. My series 1.5 Xantia 2.1 TD SX was plagued by the dreadful Lucas drive-by-wire/ECU. It is the only car I have ever witnessed a system freeze akin to a computer ‘hanging’. Interesting at 60mph…

    However, when it worked (perhaps 2 days in the 6 months I had it) it was amazing – the pull from the engine was amazing. Alas, it would normally surge, stop, surge etc… Hence it’s name ‘Skippy’.

    Unfortunately, it decided to share half of it’s auxillary belt with the timing belt… Leading to dead engine in the middle of nowhere… LOL

  13. You know the 2.1 TD does not bend valves when the belt snaps? but breaks the rockers instead, which are not hard to replace

  14. HI I hope your arm gets better soon. Strangely or not so strangely my newly aquired disco II tail door failed a couple of days after I got it. got a new one from and all fitted now. Now onto updating the stereo in it, from its jap import band expanding radio. mrs 318 fuel pump died last week have that fixed now….I hope the Xantia does you well, all the best.lex

  15. I’ve just bought my sixth Xantia. I’ts a genuine 37,000 miles from new from 1993. It’s the XUD non-turbo one and I LOVE it 🙂
    As I drive like a kitten, the absence of acceleration has only caught me out about 50 times in the last few weeks.
    It has lived on a Scottish island doing service as a doctor’s car, then sat in a Citroen dealership showroom for years, hence the tiny mileage. I have tons of documentation – twenty-five oil & filter changes – to prove this and I am going to make it live forever…

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