The Citroen GS and GSA was a car that was
made in France from 1970 to 1986. Its unique styling and design
led to 2.5 million cars being produced and it even won a European car of
the Year in 1971.
The body design of the GS was rather futuristic when it was
released and it was a big change from other cars on
the road at the time. The futuristic design Citroen always took
when designing their cars led to car designs
like the DS that many called a space ship, in contrast the GS
was a lot more conservative look that held up well
during its lifetime.
Under the bonnet the GS was very different from many other cars
available at the time, the majority of the GS
used an all alloy flat four engine that was air cooled. Also
available from 1973 to 1977 was a luxury version
with a rotary engine derived from the NSU Ro-80, only 847 GS Birotors were made. Citroen ended up buying back as
many GS Birotors as they could through a recall and ended up
crushing them. This makes the Birotor an extremely
rare car as many were not returned and still survive today. Citroen's
was probably not totally based on the reliability
problems associated with the Birotor, but more about economics.
In 1977 NSU, the source of the GS Birotors motor,
ceased to exist as it was merged with Audi/VW. This left
Citroen without a cheap parts source for the 847 cars
it had made, the choice between getting rid of 800 odd cars or
setting up their own spares manufacturing
operation was probably a simple one.
The GS also featured the self leveling hydropnueumatic
suspension that Citroen pioneered with the DS, along with
four wheel disk brakes the car was a good handler. As the layout
of the engine was a flat four or a rotary (that
are normally quite small) there was plenty of room under the
bonnet to fit the spare wheel. another interesting
part of the layout placed the front braked inboard right next to
the gearbox on the output shafts, this also
help give the GS a good turning circle.
The interior of the GS and the GSA was also unique with both
featuring a single spoke steering wheel that came
out from a large pod that put the indicator stalk in easy reach. This
idea was further developed in the face lifted GSA,
which had two large satellite controls that housed wipers and
indicator controls (now switches instead of stalks) and as many lights across the
instrument panel as a 747. The GS was the first Citroen to
feature a speedo many dubbed the cyclops eye.
Basically it was a magnified circle that a disk that contained
the speed you were going revolved around in, other
info like stopping distance and different colours for suggested
gearing were also depicted.
The GS was destined to be replaced by the BX that
was launched in 1982, the BX was more modern with a more convention
engine, the BX used hydropnueumatic suspension like the GS and until its
86 facelift the BX featured an even more space age dash than the GS.
Several companies in the US would sell new
Mexican Beetles up until the end of production. To get around import
regulations a "donor" old US model was needed to transfer a few
parts to the new car leaving you with a "restored" (but new) beetle.