The last update of the Xantia had me bemoaning the fact its steering rack ram had blown a seal, and left the car with an almighty LHM leak to accompany the drip, drip, drip coming from the Activa ram. I’d driven the car to Pleiades in Sawtry, and left it there, with instructions not to hurry. It’s not as if I was short of a car to drive, given there’s a Renault Avantime at my disposal, and a Land Rover Discovery has joined the fold.
In Classic Car Weekly, I’d posed the question, ‘is the Xantia a classic?’, and the opinions that returned were fascinating. I’d expected to hear a resounding ‘no’, but was surprised and gladdened to read that those who wrote in were in agreement with me – and gave this neat looking, technically advanced prime slice of 1990s French automotive history the classic thumbs up. So, on that basis, it was always going to be well worth the effort fixing it.
A couple of weeks later, Pleiades was back in touch – the car was fixed again. That was a relief, and so nice to have it done by someone who really knows Citroëns. A replacement ram for the steering column had been fitted (used, as in typical Citroën fashion, you can’t buy a new one), the steering was reset, the car refilled with LHM, and ready for me to use. Total cost was £348, with most of that tied up with the labour of getting the steering rack out, and back in again.
Of course, the drive home was delightful after a couple of weeks in the Avantime. Yes, that car is a joy in its own way, but the Citroen truly is a marvel – it rides as you’d expect, and corners like nothing else you’ll encounter this side of a fully-fledged sports car. The quality and tightly-screwed together nature of the car was also a revelation, after a little time away, and a timely reminder than in its 20th year, the Activa really has earned its place in the annals of the classic car world, even if, at the moment, it’s in a technical, rather than cultural sense.
Still, it’s done now. Except that it continues to drip from the original leak on the Activa ram. So I’m back to square one – and planning another trip. Let’s hope nothing breaks in the meantime. Especially as I’ve – through financial and logistical necessity – passed it on to a family member, as he’s been badgering me to have it since I bought it.
So now he has two Activas. They’re that sort of car!
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.