Citroen SAXO: Likely Lads

Cars Culture

We celebrate the Citroen Saxo, one of the most popular starter mod cars from the 90s

Whatever happened to the likely lads? Meet the Citroen Saxo.

You know, the Max Power generation? The Red Line Magazine monkeys. The boys and girls tinkering and tweaking and representing down in the car park of your local rec; lapping the A-roads of our satellite cities. They are out there, but there doesn’t exist a mainstream platform for them these days. You KNOW who you are.

Anyway, this is the first in a series of posts where we celebrate a totem of mod culture.

Perhaps it might be a little obvious. But we’ll start with a question: What makes a motor a ripe platform for starter-kit mod culture? Answer: it’s got to be cheap. Of course, but it also has to be simple, preferably hatchback, and it must have a wool dyed sort of mechanical exactitude that means that a school leaver can understand its processes.

Silver Citroen Saxo on a white background

Enter the Citroen Saxo: ground zero of the 1990s modification scene.

The Saxo was introduced by Citroen in 1996, replacing the dustbin-like AX. The engine options it came with were the same as that which motored the popular Peugeot 205 series, and included five petrol and a single diesel. Power outputs of the Citroen Saxo were always pretty low, but it was also a very light car, which meant that even the base 1.0 and 1.1 litre engines could make the thing zip around with requisite verve.

The Citroen Saxo VTS, meanwhile (pictured in this article), which came with a 16-valve engine, could entertain almost as intensely as the legendary 205 GTi Peugeot. The VTS could produce 118bhp and quoted a top speed of 127mph with a pullaway of 7.8 seconds.

There was a lot you could do with a Citroen Saxo. You could afford the car. You could afford the insurance. It was cheap and easy to fix. And it didn’t cost an arm and a leg in petrol.

It’s a simple fact. The Citroen Saxo was probably responsible for the first flight of automotive freedom felt by more teenagers between the years of 1996 and 2005 than any other car model.

And we reckon the formula of affordability and simplicity can only come back into vogue. Listen up mainstream manufacturers!

Red Citroen Saxo VTS parked outside