For those who don't know these mid-range CitroŽns, they offer an astonishing level of refinement compared to almost anything else available in the 1970's - and there are few cars of this size on the market now which are as comfortable. When in tune they pull very smoothly throughout the rev range, and drive beautifully with very direct steering. The legendary brakes and handling are better than many modern cars (ABS notwithstanding).
2010 marked the 40th Anniversary of the GS's launch, resulting in much UK classic press coverage (including several articles featuring this very car with its unique colour specification). There are only a handful of GS Estates left on the road in Britain now, with the total number of UK GS and GSA combined being well under 100.
This vehicle was rescued by a friend in the CitroŽn Car Club in mid-2007 from solicitors who were winding up the affairs of its original owner from new. It had reputedly spent the previous 10 years standing in a dark garage under his house, and its remarkable survival is largely down to a very thorough wax treatment when new, and very light use for most of its life.
It is stunning in Orange Tťnťrť (AC329) with a matching interior - which must have been unusual for a UK-spec car (even in the mid-1970's). The orange vinyl is in excellent condition, and the cloth seat facings show none of the usual signs of fading or UV degradation, although it is apparent that some of the fabric's foam under-lining has lost a little strength.
We bought the car in December 2007 with 29,000 miles recorded. Although MOT'd it was suffering fuel supply problems, and in January 2008 we sent it to The Chevronic Centre for a thorough service which included new timing belts / tensioners and hydraulic fluid change, as well as some new (fixed) seatbelts for the back. In June/July a new exhaust was fitted, the brakes were overhauled and I fitted a new fuel sender unit. It was used regularly through the summer months (including trips to Holland and Belgium) until July 2009, when a minor altercation with a local lamp post forced a temporary lay-up.
Because 2010 was to bring various celebrations of the GS models 40th anniversary, rather than simply repair the wing and bumper damage, the decision was taken to treat the car to a high quality re-paint - primarily to eliminate various minor dents visible down both sides. All exterior and interior trim was carefully removed and the front panelwork dismantled - to reveal some rust in the cross-member behind the front bumper. A new GSA valance / X-member was sourced and adapted to fit (with 2 towing eyes). This, the headlamp panel and a new CitroŽn towbar were powder-coated in satin brown. Two replacement front bumper sections were acquired and both bumpers complete were sent for polishing. A common GS rust trap in the boot sides was eliminated by completely replacing the double skinned areas with single-skin repair panels from The Chevronic Centre.
In early summer 2010 the dismantled car was superbly repainted by our local paint shop, Smith Motors. Over the following few weeks I re-fitted the front panels, and meticulously cleaned and reassembled all the trim. Hidden areas were wax treated, and vulnerable painted flanges were covered in fabric tape before refitting the many threaded clips used on these cars. Much time was spent carefully aligning the front end, and the tailgate which also recieved a new thicker perimeter seal. A new set of Michelin XZX 145-15's now replaced the original tyres, 2 of which were Michelin X's - which apparently went out of production in the early '90's!
Following duties at our friends' wedding in mid July, the car took myself and a friend to the 40th Anniversary Celebrations at Thenay in France, where it was displayed in the Event Museum and honoured with a prize for its superb condition. Sadly, it suffered fuel problems on the way home, and has now been under the care of Graham Morton at GM Vehicle services, who removed the fuel tank and relieved it of 35 years of accumulated sludge, as well as cleaning out fuel lines and fitting a huge new fuel filter.
The car is in excellent rust-free condition, and was sold in December 2011to a very good home, which those in CitroŽn circles will know very well).