Citroën CX’s Role in France’s Fight Against Terrorism

At La Ferté-Vidame, during the 100th Anniversary of Citroën celebration in July, the Aguttes auction featured a CX Break that the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN), the French special forces and tactical operations unit, used to go after the bad guys in the late 1980’s. It was one of five that the GIGN ordered for their anti-terrorism tasks.

The GIGN emerged as a tactical unit of the Gendarmerie Nationale in the wake of the Munich Olympic hostage crisis in 1972. Technically a part of France’s armed forces, GIGN specialized in hostage rescue and counterterrorism.

While the GIGN utilized various vehicles over the years, they chose the CX for a number of reasons; by that time it was a proven robust vehicle and the hydraulic suspension gave them superior road holding and high load capacity. But they also needed rapid intervention ability and for that purpose, the CX breaks were modified extensively. They were stripped of their air conditioning, the radio, and other elements of comfort even going as far as remove the sound-absorbing felt under the hood! (After all, they were macho guys, and a more engine roar probably helped produce testosterone).

On the mechanical side, the cars were equipped with the standard CX GTI 2.5 litre (138 hp) fuel injection engine, this time mated to a specific 5-speed short box. The engine got a further boost by adding on a NOS (Nitrous Oxide System) kit, in other words, a tank consisting of a mixture of gas connected to the injection for a gain of 30 to 40% more power for nearly 5 minutes!

To date, only 2 out of the 5 CX Breaks originally entrusted to GIGN are known to remain. This one, with just over 165,000 kms and equipped with a new engine with 40,000 kms on it seemed like a bargain for the mere 6,000 – 10,000 € auction estimate. The gray velvet upholstery was well preserved, while the muffler and the fuel pump relay had just been changed to complete a recent refurbishment. Yet oddly, the car did not sell!

In any event, it was interesting to discover that France’s top police tactical unit once cruised in such nitrous-equipped Citroën station wagons.

Hemmings Daily picked up on the GIGN CX Break at auction with Aguttes and featured the following article:

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