Oh, a Citroën Visa, they will now say and continue clicking through the vastness of the Internet in boredom. Yes, a Visa Chrono and therefore a Citroën that has been put on steroids. It is part of my automotive past and is one of the cars whose sale I still silently mourn today.
The public, on the other hand, has long forgotten the chrono. There were too few, the double angle brand only distributed this particularly active car in small quantities on our side of the Rhine. And of the specimens that have survived, only a few are in their original condition.
The motorsport DNA of the Visa Chrono is too strong and the temptation to further optimize it for competitions was obviously too great.
Citroën once built active cars like the Visa Chrono
In fact, the Visa Chrono GT is a car that no one would dare drive from Citroën today. It appeared on the scene in 1981, had 93 hp and a twin carburettor engine with 1360 cm³ and was fast at almost 180 km/h.
The vehicle, which was designed quite mercilessly for competition, had bucket seats that would be considered extreme today because only sporty, slim people could really handle them. But if the seat fit, it was ideal and one of the best things available at the time.
In front of the driver there was an impressive collection of instruments, there was a sports steering wheel and, from today's perspective, a sparse racing atmosphere. To reduce weight, the French gave the Visa Chrono plastic fenders, my memory tells me even more plastic on the hood and tailgate. I can no longer understand whether it was really like that.
The Visa Chrono shows its colors
As if all that wasn't eye-catching enough, Citroën decorated the 2.160 examples for the domestic market with the tricolor. The 1.650 vehicles that followed later for the rest of Europe followed suit and were also very eye-catching with German, Belgian and Swiss national colors.
What the eye-catching exterior promised, the performance delivered. Depending on the version, between 80 and more than 90 hp were offset by an empty weight of just 900 kilograms. The acceleration was corresponding, the road holding was perfect for the sporty years and the horsepower required an expert hand, because the front-wheel drive was sometimes overwhelmed.
There are hardly any small, light cars with a lot of power these days, so it's a big surprise when you come across a Visa Chrono. Especially when he doesn't wear the now usual rally attributes, but instead drives up in the original regalia.
The Chrono is rare, but not really expensive
A rare, particularly beautiful example is being offered in Switzerland (Link). It is said to have been completely restored and, apart from small modifications, is in a careful original condition as it rolled out of the factory in 1983. The instrument collection is beautiful, the blue interior is newly done or excellently preserved and the legendary bucket seats remind me of my wild Citroën Visa Chrono time.
As a special feature of the Swiss delivery, this Citroën only produces 73 hp and is therefore the weakest representative of the Chrono variants. But does that matter in a car that's around 40 years old?
Of course, these vehicles are no longer really cheap these days, but they haven't become seriously expensive either. The forgetting mentioned above leaves its mark. The scene that still has the Chrono on the list is manageable.
Photo albums – where has my Visa Chrono gone?
You have to pay just under 20.000 CHF to get started in the world of motorsport. France once had its own racing series for these vehicles, that's not too much to ask. In fact, there are arguments in favor of the Visa Chrono even today. It is small, light, and the driving pleasure is archaic and analogue. A starting place would be guaranteed at every classic motorsport event, the chrono has become so rare.
I think it's a shame that Citroën doesn't have something like this anymore and I'm now looking through old photo albums. My vehicle must be documented, I hope, and if I find any pictures, I will soon tell my personal Citroën Visa Chrono story.
With images from autoscout24