Long-term test report: GS 1220 Club estate
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  1. #1
    1000+ Posts Bruce H's Avatar
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    Default Long-term test report: GS 1220 Club estate

    Today marks 30 years since I bought my blue GS wagon, then a one owner 7yo private import from South Africa with about 130000ks on it.Long-term test report: GS 1220 Club estate-imageuploadedbyaussiefrogs1364468844.968767.jpg
    During this time it has been my second car or third concurrently registered car, my sole car, my daily driver, and now my club concession car.
    I have only added around 100000 kilometres to it in 30 years, ranging from a three k work commute (try getting the choke in on that) to weekends where I would do an 1800k round trip.
    Positives: smooth ride in a small package; impressive turning circle; great brakes for weight; zero geometry front suspension; you can fit an incredible amount in the neatly squared load space of a GS wagon, and unless it weighs an excessive amount you won't know you're carrying it; unmistakable sound (unless you have a hole in the exhaust, when air-cooled dub drivers might turn around looking for the other dub); no worries about radiators, water pumps, coolant leaks, etc.; a truly engaging drive.
    Negatives: fuel efficiency suffers when pushed, which you feel you have to do if you're used to driving a faster modern; exhaust systems dislike intermittent use; cabin cooling far from the best (but what can I expect driving dark blue in Qld); the gearbox could do with an extra ratio when doing hours of highway travel; the points are a bit low if there's too much water on flood ways.
    Certainly I've spent a bit on maintenance, but not horrendous amounts, and I did always intend to keep it as a lifetime car so spent accordingly. I have had to have the motor and the gearbox rebuilt, and as I'm not afraid to drive the car enthusiastically the motor is again a bit noisy and the synchros are weak again. I've had two major hydraulic leaks; one major fuel leak; and a driveshaft snap; an alternator belt break and take out the fan - requiring the car to be towed home twice and shepherded unlit along the night highway once in 30 years.
    Would I buy another one? Well I have another 5 in the backyard, so I guess that answers that.
    If I could buy one new today, would I buy it rather than anything else currently in the Citroen range? If it had fuel injection, a 5 speed box and air-conditioning, I'd definitely buy it over anything in the current range (including the DS3 that is my present daily commuter).
    Will it last me another 30 years? That I can't tell.


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    Last edited by Bruce H; 28th March 2013 at 11:20 PM. Reason: Remembered another fault, and an error in grammar.
    Bruce H

    Now 99 Xantia SX x2; 96 Xantia SX; 76 GS Club Estate x2; 76 GS Club; 74 GS Club; 88 VW T3 Reimo
    Before: AX Gti; BX 19TRi Estate; CX 2200 Super & Pallas; CX2400 Pallas; CX 2400ie Prestige auto; DS3 DStyle; GS Pallas; GSA Club; Xantia Image Estate; Xantia Exclusive; Xsara VTR R4; 1.4 Special Estate; Virage; R16TS

    Contact for the Australian Citroen GS GSA and Birotor Register http://australiancitroengsgsaandbiro...com/index.html

  2. #2
    Fellow Frogger
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    How will you appear compared to the car in another 30 years though, Bruce?


    Have you ever had the clutch fork fail? I'm told it's common on the GS eventually.

  3. #3
    1000+ Posts Bruce H's Avatar
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    From memory it was suspected as being bent when some sealing work was being addressed about 30000ks ago, and things didn't feel right when the motor was reattached to the gearbox. I can't recall it being changed then, but it may have been. Too much paperwork to go through to find the answer rapidly.


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    Bruce H

    Now 99 Xantia SX x2; 96 Xantia SX; 76 GS Club Estate x2; 76 GS Club; 74 GS Club; 88 VW T3 Reimo
    Before: AX Gti; BX 19TRi Estate; CX 2200 Super & Pallas; CX2400 Pallas; CX 2400ie Prestige auto; DS3 DStyle; GS Pallas; GSA Club; Xantia Image Estate; Xantia Exclusive; Xsara VTR R4; 1.4 Special Estate; Virage; R16TS

    Contact for the Australian Citroen GS GSA and Birotor Register http://australiancitroengsgsaandbiro...com/index.html

  4. #4
    Ashtray Polisher donat's Avatar
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    Great reading, Bruce. They are quite an amazing package. 10 GS's later, I've come to realise that they're my favourite of all CitroŽns - more than the D, more than the SM.
    1972 SM
    1989 BX 16 Valve

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by donat View Post
    Great reading, Bruce. They are quite an amazing package. 10 GS's later, I've come to realise that they're my favourite of all CitroŽns - more than the D, more than the SM.
    OMG----"more than the SM" rinse your mouth

  6. #6
    1000+ Posts Greg C's Avatar
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    Totally agree Bruce. The ride, steering, interior room is all top notch. I remember driving my Dad's then new one back from Adelaide and when we got home transferring to my wife's new Golf to drive to our home. Both cars were 1976 vintage and the GS was superior in every way. Fast forward to today and my daughter has a new Golf Blue Motion. Can you walk into your Citroen dealer today and buy something streets ahead of the Golf. No. VW have nurtured their product such that it is an iconic machine now, Citroen has something maybe equivalent but no better. They started well with the BX but you cannot buy a GS sized machine with proper suspension and brakes now. They have not nurtured this segment as VW has. Reading this article starts well when CEO Phillipe Varin admits 'our brands are too close'. The rest of the article is terrifying, the guy hasn't got a clue.

    As for improving the shortcomings of the GS against modern machinery, I think this is easily possible. Air Conditioning can be fitted, it was an option after all when they were new, but with modern components you could do a lot better. I think the GS motor is crying out for Fuel Injection, again fairly easy to do, many examples on Youtube. Most of these are after more power but a proper mapped system with feedback should be able to improve the fuel economy and drivability quite a bit and give you that extra power if when and if you need it.
    Mine

    CX Prestige
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    In the family

    Xantia SX

  7. #7
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Bruce, I can relate to your report and congrats on that milestone. I actually prefer the pic that comes up down the left side with name and date joined etc. I have noted sunroof.

    I think your car is dark blue and with roof must be a stunning combination.

    I dearly miss mine and would very much like to do a full resto on another at some point.

    The 2cv keeps my mind occupied at present but the GS is a treasure.

    Chris Mortimer

  8. #8
    Ashtray Polisher donat's Avatar
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    Chris, GS's are thinning out like my hair so I wouldn't wait around for too long to get one. Ones in original condition simply don't crop up and if they do, it happens well before they're advertised publicly.
    1972 SM
    1989 BX 16 Valve

  9. #9
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Greg I concur the GS is "crying out" for fuel injection. Cold the GS is a real dog and quite frankly quite dangerous in the first 3km without an extensive warm up. Stalling at intersections, etc.

    I wonder if a few Aussie GS owners could collaborate on coming up with an EFI kit if you like so there is some economy of scale, commonality of parts, what commonplace EFI and adapters are going to be the most straightforward? I've seen the Dutch guy Eddie's clip on You Tube.

    John

  10. #10
    Ashtray Polisher donat's Avatar
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    I find with my 1015, if I pull the choke 2mm out to get it idling at 1000rpm and leave it that way for the first 5mins of driving, it's perfectly fine. No stalling. Similar thing with the other 1015 I had - not exceeding 1000rpm with the choke and I never had any stalling issues. How far do you pull the choke out on the Convertisseur?

    I wouldn't convert this car to EFI as it's a low-mileage example, but I'd certainly entertain the idea in another GS...
    1972 SM
    1989 BX 16 Valve

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