This was 4-door hatchback 'Supermini' that was launched by Citroen in 1978 as a replacement for the Ami. Early versions were available as the Club and Special variants, which had the 2-stroke 625cc air-cooled engine of the 2CV and were massively underpowered, and the 4-cylinder 1125cc Super E. Up until '82, the Visa sported a 'horseshoe' front bumper that wrapped up around the radiator grille like a pig's snout.
From '82 onwards the range was revamped- the front bumper was replaced by a huge Volvo-style battering ram, and although the Special remained available all other models (the L, Super E and Super X) had the superb OHC Douvrin engine, 1100 in the L & Super E and 1275 in the Super X. These must be among the best 1100 engine units ever produced, specifically designed to deliver maximum performance with maximum economy. Customisers messed with them at their peril, as they could not really be improved upon, although they were an absolute PIG to work on- the engine was mounted virtually sideways, with the gearbox housed in the sump.
The Super X was replaced by the GT version in '84- the following year the van variants came out, in C15 petrol or 17RD diesel versions. In France, the Visa was a popular rally car, with several rally-prepared versions sponsored by the Total petrol company and proving to be tough competitors on the rallying circuit.
Known in CB argot as the 'egg box', this loveable little '80s jitterbug was discontinued in '88 to be replaced by the Citroen AX, although the van version remained in production until 2005. The Visa was also the basis for the Romahome camper van. Today only 136 Visa's remain registered in the UK, most of them off the road- I'm pleased to be able to say that mine is one of them!