Citroën GS. State-of-the-art and non-competitive middle class

ER Classics Desktop 2022

In August 1970 Citroën at the Paris Salon the GS. It was the car that completely redefined the small and large middle-class segment in its own unique way. After Citroën stopped in 1967 with Panhard there was a void in the program. The beautifully designed Citroën GS filled in that -after a development period of years-. The French built the car until it was built in 1980, which is when we leave out the closely related 1979 GSA. The 1971 Car of the Year is a monument in the history of the automotive industry.

The designers, under the leadership of Robert Opron, drew up a car that was certainly ultramodern and slender. The advanced four-cylinder gas boxer engine with air cooling and two overhead camshafts was special. The revolutionary interior design were also striking. Other features that make a lasting impression are the futuristic instrument panel with a unique speedometer with magnifying glass. The handbrake integrated by the designers into the rolling dashboard was also a special element.

Hydropneumatic space wonder

An important feature of this mid-sized car was the famous hydropneumatic suspension that guaranteed unparalleled comfort. In addition, the driver was able to adjust the height of the suspension so that the GS could also drive on less difficult roads. Hydraulics and technology came to the Citroën GS together in more ways. The use of space was also striking. In the Citroën GS was able to find at least four people a nice place and also the flat and deep luggage offered relief for long journeys.

Regular changes

Citroën changed the GS regularly, without deviating too much from the original design. The Citroën GS debuted as “GS” with a 1015 cc engine, and with that the Frenchman was good for a top speed of almost 150 kilometers per hour. The manufacturers made a number of technical changes in the first years (carburettor preheating, lower dimensions, chassis). The GS got from Citroën as quickly multiple equipment levels (Confort, Club). The Break and the GS Service (Tolée and Vitré, the last with large rear windows on the sides) also made their appearance.

New larger engine

An important improvement in the range was the arrival of the 1.222 cc engine in 1972. Both the standard GS and the Club got that engine. The power source actually had hardly more power than the sometimes breathless 1.015 cc engine. The big difference was in the pull that the larger engine offered. In that period, the converter (the semi-automatic three-speed gearbox) also became available on the GS. Citroën also went back to the experiences from one of the projects, which eventually led to the GS. Because once Project F conceived the plan to equip the new mid-sized car with the Wankel engine for the seventies. He entered the GS in 1973. It was the Birotor, which was also produced briefly thanks to the oil crisis. He cost Citroën so much money that it partly caused financial difficulties.

New equipment variants, motor-dependent

Citroën In the meantime, the GS delivery program was expanded. The engine type / displacement also determined the design. The GSpécial replaced the Comfort. He came in 1974 and got the 1.015 cc engine, the more luxurious GS Club (trim, tachometer, fabric upholstery) was equipped with the 1.222 cc. Citroën further diversified the GS range. The sporty GS X (1.015 cc) and the GS X2 (1.222 cc 'engine 3' with a higher compression ratio and a higher top speed) and the Pallas (1.222 cc) increased the options. The sporty Citroën GS versions included black window frames, high-beam headlights, the Birotor dashboard with round instruments and differently designed seats. The Pallas was recognizable by, among other things, the high-quality finish inside, the large decorative strips and the closed wheel covers. The Break versions were available as Special and Club. The C-matic (say the convertor) remained available on the 1.222 cc models.

Phase-by-step adjustments for the second half of the XNUMXs

In the mid-1976s, the GS model series was gradually changed. The first indication for this was the use of six instead of twelve ventilation holes in the wheels. Amended in XNUMX Citroën the rear light units (horizontally striped). The grille was also slowly but surely changed. The French also used a whole new set of instruments with round clocks for all versions. In 1977 it was done with the 1.015 cc engine. By mounting, among other things, the crankshaft of the 1.222 cc engine Citroën the engine capacity of the base engine to 1.129 cc. The difference with the larger engine became a lot smaller.

Motor distinction remains equipment dependent, completion facelift

Citroën mounted the new engine in the GSpecial (saloon and Break) and the GS X (which, unlike the GS X2, did not get a rear spoiler with the facelift). The other models were through Citroën equipped with the famous 1.222 cc engine. The GS X2 retained the faster 1.222 cc engine. The facelift was completed in the run-up to 1978, when the cooling holes in the rims were closed.

On to the end with two new versions

The latest new Citroën GS models were the two-tone and luxurious Basalte (1.222 cc) and the GS X3. The latter got the new 1.299 cc engine, and sent the GS X2 into retirement. The arrival of the GS - inspired five - door GSA was the beginning of the end for the Citroën GS. He retired as GS Special (Berlin and Break). He closed an impressive period in the Citroën history and handed over the baton definitively to the GSA. It was built in that recognizable GS concept until 1987. The GSA was also a sales success, with generally the same implementation levels as with the GS.

Completely independent and without competition

De Citroën GS. It was the car that said a lot about the completely independent design spirit of the French car manufacturer. And he also drew the autonomous, specific and non-conformist character of the owners. It was a car, which in its own way completely put the players in the small and large middle classes in the shade. Or not. Because the GS was so authentic that it actually had no competition. It was a real one Citroën.

The specified specifications are market dependent (EvP)



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  1. Had several GS's. a break with a wood motif, so a real Woody. Also went to the Weissensee with a GS club 1220, caravannetje behind it and go. It went fine until the Kreuzberg to the lake, which is 15% up considerably. The gasoline started to boil in the aluminum pump, tin pumps were not bothered by this later on. This problem kept repeating itself, sponge taped on the pump, hose of the windshield washer in it and when the engine started to “hiccup” just pump and then again like a rocket. Fill the nozzle tank on time.

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