The current state of play with GS tyres.

There has been a lot of discussion about the availability (or lack of it) for tyres to fit Citroën GS’s (and for that matter small Lancias, Fiats etc). These cars were originally fitted as standard with Michelin XZX 145 x 15 tyres, or if you were feeling extravagant, Michelin XaS 155 x 15 (miles better in my experience from a Fiat X 1/9 ).

Your options now seem to be as follows.

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1) You can still get – on special order, Michelin 155 x 15 XZX tyres (and I assume XaS). However Michelin in their infinite corporate wisdom have now decreed these to be a ‘classic’ tyre, which they make in limited quantities at their specialist plant at Clermont-Ferrand . So they charge accordingly – and want (at last count) $324 each for a tyre . There are not may GS’s that can justify this expense – four tyres is more than the value of the average GS – for a Lancia Zagato maybe, but unless you have the best GS in the country this price is generally out of the question. It could be worse – they want in the UK 500 Euros for XaS’ to fit a Jag (and a DS). That is nearly $1000 AUD! And because they make all these tyres in small batches they are not available all the time – you may have to wait until the next batch is made – up to two years in some cases.

2) All is not lost as there are other tyres that will fit however.

A) Kleber make a 145 x 15 – the same size as the original, which is available in limited numbers – a shipment of several hundred arrived recently in Australia. The price is reported to be around $150 per tyre. Most tyre dealers should be able to get these from the Kleber distributors.

B) Vredestein makes a 155 x 15 size tyre, available through Vintage Tyre Supplies, who have outlets in Sydney & Melbourne. These are about $125 each. (Some aficionados say the extra bit of rubber is an improvement).

C) If you are desperate you can use a 135 x 15 Michelin XZX on the back only – NB NOT recommended for the front as they are too small. These are (surprisingly) a bit more common as they fit 2CVs.

3) You can fit wider tyres altogether – overseas people have used Michelin Certi, in 175 x 15/70 size, but they don’t seem to be available in Australia. While 175 will fit on the standard rims they will require you to modify the rear wings in most cases – as anyone who has changed a rear tyre on a GS knows – there is very little space to start with in there! Then you can go further and widen the rims and fit whatever you like (within the law in your state). But with any much wider tyre beware of offset problems and other clearance issues, and that the steering will become much heavier at parking speeds, and could result in more wear on those delicate GS steering bits.

If anyone has any experience with tyres other than Michelins I would be interested in any feedback.

Paul Smith