1980s / Citroen / Driven daily / French

Driven daily: Citroën Visa 17RD

Many members of the Citroën family have become valuable, sought-after classic cars. The garden-variety Visa isn’t one of them. I had such a hard time selling my ’83 flat-twin to an enthusiast that I ended up giving it away just to make sure it went to a good home. The diesel-powered, 17-badged model is positioned at the very bottom of this hierarchy.

That might be what makes it charming in my eyes: it’s the ugly duckling of the Visa lineup, the exact opposite of the 1000 Pistes and GTI-badged variants. Even without an emblem, you can tell you’re looking at an oil-burning 17 car thanks to the specific front fender flares, which were necessary to accommodate the wider front track. Four-lug steel wheels with plastic hubcaps are another giveaway.

I photographed the 17RD below in a rural part of southern France a couple of weeks ago. It wears all of the battle scars you typically find on a roughly 30-year old car that’s still being used on daily basis. Fortunately, it lives in an area where keeping an older car on the road for as long as possible is the status quo, so odds are it can look ahead to several more years of putting around.

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