Beneath its sleek skin, the Oxia was a fusion of Group B rally car and Group C sportscar racer. Its engine was a 2849cc V6 with two Garrett T3 turbochargers, derived from the WM-Peugeot Le Mans cars that were famed for hitting 250mph on the Mulsanne Straight, and the four-wheel drive system was a refined version of the Peugeot 205 T16’s. The car delivered its blistering 680bhp at 8200rpm and an equally impressive 535lb ft at 4500rpm.
“The two occupants sit well forward behind a steeply raked windscreen, the bottom edge of which, barely 2ft from the Oxia’s nose, incorporates two rows of photoelectric cells to power the air-con fan when the engine isn’t running,” said Simister. “It’s a logical solution: more sun means more power means a faster fan means more airflow. Very Group C, too, are the way the rear wheels sit so far back, and the plethora of scoops and louvres.”
Simister watched the car in action around the Belchamps test track. “At low revs it sounds a little like a Porsche 911 or maybe a 959,” he wrote. “First gear is long, as you would expect from a car which could well be capable of 200mph with the right gearing – Peugeot will say only that it can top 180mph – but the Oxia pulls away cleanly and disappears from view around the banking.
“When it reappears, the engine is grunting lustily, the giant stainless steel silencer curbing some volume but making little impression on the bass and treble.
“Oxia is chased by a 405 Mi-16 as it hoves back into view, so it can’t be going any faster than about 135mph. Its rear wing would still be flat, for it doesn’t reach its 3deg raised position until 155mph. Once raised, though, it stays there for a full minute after the Oxia’s speed falls below this point.”
Fast-changing parameters such as road speed, engine speed and boost pressure were monitored by conventional analogue gauges, with digital displays reserved for fuel level, engine temperatures and odometer.
A built-in personal computer, with a colour LCD screen, an alphanumeric keyboard and a floppy disc drive, controlled the air conditioning system. It also controlled navigation databases and route finders. A map then displayed the chosen route on the screen. Also included were a radio telephone and a Pioneer hi-fi system.
“This is a car Peugeot should seriously consider replicating. It says it won’t, and that’s a pity,” said Simister.
Previous Throwback Thursdays
4 March 1899 - Steam, electric or combustion engine?
26 June 1906 - The first French Grand Prix
9 July 1907 - The beginning of Brooklands
14 February 1913 - 100 miles in one hour
8 April 1916 - Making post-war predictions
25 March 1922 - Caterpillar tracks are the future
4 July 1925 - Citroën lights up the Eiffel Tower
28 September 1928 - Engine tech takes a great leap forwards
2 February 1934 - The ethics of skidding
6 July 1934 - A tour of Cowley
1 June 1935 - Introduction of the driving test
22 June 1945 - Driving through post-WW2 Europe
21 January 1949 - Tidier tails
25 August 1950 - The evolution of transmissions
27 April 1951 - Frankfurt hosts its first motor show
24 April 1959 - Aston Martin enters Formula 1
16 September 1960 - The beginning of MOT tests
28 October 1960 - Economy driving 1960s style
27 January 1961 - Ford Thunderbird road test
17 November 1961 - TVR Grantura road test
10 September 1965 - The birth of modern Audi
19 August 1966 - Four-wheel drive on test
6 May 1971 - Driving Ford's Supervan
12 June 1976 - Cars for under £100
10 July 1976 - Land's End to John O'Groats on one tank
8 October 1977 - Music on the move
13 May 1978 - Ferrari 512 BB road test
14 November 1979 - Mazda RX-7 road test
19 January 1980 - Talbot Horizon road test
13 February 1982 - 4x4s tested on the farm
3 December 1983 - GM's Mini for the 1980s
17 April 1985 - Secrets of a lost British supercar
4 September 1985 - Ford's electronic test bed
15 August 1990 - Giugiaro's vision of a 1990s Jaguar
11 November 1992 - Green light for Jaguar's new E-Type
28 April 1993 - BL's unseen concepts
16 March 1994 - Bentley's Concept Java
25 September 1996 - Walkinshaw's one-off DB7 V12
16 April 1997 - When Bugatti bit the dust
11 October 2000 - BMW X5 Le Mans
4 April 2001 - 0-260mph in 6.0 seconds
25 July 2001 - 180mph in a Chevrolet Corvette
9 November 1934 - What is a sports car?