Renault 12 vs Citroen GS
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  1. #1
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    Renault 12 vs Citroen GS

    I'm curious to hear people's thoughts on the comparitive strengths and weaknesses of both these models.

    DoubleChevron says:

    "...no matter how good the R12 was, the GS absolutely KILLS it in every respect."

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    On the other hand Stuey says:

    "...There is absolutely, utterly, NO question that parts, either new or second hand, are easier and cheaper to come by for an R12.

    So, which is the better car to "live with".

    cheers

  2. #2
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    To start the ball rolling, here's a recent invoice I got for parts needed for a R12 sedan (1.4 motor)

    deal
    Clutch kit - 288.51
    Crankshaft seal - 26.33
    Gearbox spigot seal - 13.65
    Castor rod bushes (4) - 28.08
    LHS steering arm - 77.78
    RHS steering arm - 80.83
    Engine mounts (2) - 65.02

    I know it's all subjective but are GS prices kinda in the same ball park?

  3. #3
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    Just cut in here to say that my comments have no bearing on my opinion of the two cars - I've never driven a GS, though I've always admired them. Based on the comment above, I'll have to remedy that... The parts situation would purely be due to the numbers sold.


    2003 PEUGEOT 206 GTi

  4. #4
    1000+ Posts Bruce H's Avatar
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    Through an (at that point) authorised Citroen parts supplier/repairer recently:
    Clutch kit $290
    Crankshaft seal front $72.50
    Crankshaft seal rear $72.50
    Engine mounts $110 ea

    Regardless of parts costs (how often are you going to do these sorts of repairs?), I know I'd rather drive a GS anyday.
    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

  5. #5
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Hi Guys,

    I think the Renault 12 is an extremely good little car. However a Citroen GS, is a Citroen GS and there is nothing else quite like it (even Citroen hasn't made anything else like it since or previously).

    I could be wrong but I think it's the only 'small' hydraulic car Citroen has ever made. My sister owned her immaculate Renault 12 automatic (the perfect 'old ladies car, only driven to the church on Sunday' type car). It only had about 80,000km's on it, and was mechanicly perfect (as was the interior), the body was starting to look a bit scruffy with oxidised white paint. At the same time I was driving my GS that probably done 1/2 million miles. The Renault 12 after the GS felt like it had no rear suspension under it (you could feel bumps kicking you from behind), and handled rather sluggishly. The motor had great down low torque and it drove quite well though.

    Jumping back into my GS, showed immediatly how little torque there is (especialy when it's cold), however the little motors a screamer, it loves to howl out to 7000rpm through the gears. The suspension is vastly better and for a Citroen of it's time it's almost 'sporty' in it's handling. There simply no small car out there that drives/rides like a GS. If it had fuel injection and air-con I'd get rid of the plasticy BX tomorow and replace it with a GS as IMO the GS is vastly supperior in it's suspension geometry/setup than the BX.

    Running them?? The GS can be a thirsty little bugger if driven around town, and rarely warmed up, however on the highway I get about 45mpg. The Renault 12 probably uses a little less (maybe) around town, but lots more on the highway. The GS needs Cam belt changes regulualy to ensure the pistons & valves never decide to meet whistle The driveshafts in the GS are weaker and only seem to last about 100,000kms. The GS needs it's sphere's regassed every 4-5years (about $75 through the NSW club, or a few beers and lots of chit-chat if you know someone with a re-gasser wink ).

    The R12 doesn't have have cam belts to worry about, it's driveshafts are stronger and last longer. It doesn't has sphere's to regass, but does need a lot more $$$ spent on shockers/spings at less frequent intervals. It has a cooling system, ie: radiator and hoses to upkeep.

    Basicly if your looking after the car yourself, in the long term I'm guessing you'll come out very closely cost wise. If you do a lot of highway km's, you'll come out ahead with the GS cos it's fuel economy is much better. Which is better??? That's going to be entirely upto the persons taste that drives them... Me?? I'd take the GS every time without fail

    seeya,
    Shane L.
    'Cit' homepage:
    Citroen Workshop
    Proper cars--
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    '72 DS21 ie 5spd pallas (last looked at ... about 15years ago)
    '78 GS1220 pallas
    '92 Range Rover Classic ... 5spd manual.

    Yay ... No Slugomatics


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  6. #6
    1000+ Posts Rod Hagen's Avatar
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    Yep. I agree with Shane. R12's were nice little cars, but a good GS is something pretty special.

    Cheers

    Rod
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    Peugeot 407 SV HDi estate 2008, Peugeot 407 SV Hdi Sedan 2006, Peugeot 406 ST (deadish), Peugeot 307 XSE, - Previously 403s, 404, 504, 505 sLI Wagons, 306 XSi, Renault 12, Citroen DSpecial

  7. #7
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    I have owned 2 Renault 12 Virage's Both sedan and wagons for over 10 Years.

    An excellent car when comparing it to the trash that is slapped together out of japan!.

    I forever had my hand in my wallet for the upkeep of both of these vehicles but at the time thought that if i was going to throw money at a car i would be better off spending it on my Renaults rather than a 76 corolla!, and also the 'celebrate difference' factor.

    I have driven a GS 1220 Club once, awritten off one at the wreckers which had a rear wheel angled at 45 Degrees facing inward!.

    However after this short test drive i was hooked
    I believe that the GS would be the better choice overall.

    Hence I now own a Citroen Xantia
    citroen_

    G

  8. #8
    Good Sport danielsydney's Avatar
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    I would prefer the GS rather than the 12. Although the R12 is bulletproof except the auto gearbox.
    "vive le difference"

  9. #9
    Ashtray Polisher donat's Avatar
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    I think if the GS had a Turbo (I'm working on this one... a friend of my sister's was a CitroŽn mechanic in Melb many years ago says it can be done with Motorcycle Turbos on each bank and he seems pretty convincing mallet ), it'd fare alright.

    I don't think I would touch a Renault or a Peugeot- just on principle! evil I strongly doubt they have anything as effective as a GS. The things I can do in a GS I couldn't even begin to explain. But saying that, I have never killed anything under the bonnet.

    I've owned a few GS's now and they're all different- especially when it comes to throttle response. I've test driven many a slug (boy, there are some real snail 's out there) and it seems to me as if its all by chance or there's not enough air getting through the carby . Whatever it may be (and I guess its like every car out there) there's always going to be one that's more responsive than the other, even if the motors/boxes aren't scheissed up. Every single CX Auto I've driven has been very slow (from 2500IE to a GTi), yet with the C-Matics they seem a lot stronger, eventhough my dad says that they couldn't go over a brick from stand still in 1st gear.

    That was a little off the topic I know, but do yourself a favour and savour a GS! cheers!

    Yes, parts and repair costs can be a little expensive, but the work seems to last (depending on who you go to) and you just keep on going.

    In the two or so years I've had the Pallas, the most I've had to do other than basic servicing every 5000km have been brake pads, a front sphere re-gas and a Regulator return hose... and this is a car I drive at least 500km a week in! I really couldn't complain about that.

    -Donat
    1972 SM
    1989 BX 16 Valve

  10. #10
    pba
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    I've had a couple of 12s, and my son is currently driving my 84 GSA. The GSA is superior, except for:
    1, the R12 heater is excellent. On the coldest Canberra morning, full bore was too hot - setting the dial to 8, it goes to 10, was very comfortable.
    2, the R12 is easier to maintain, in-so-far as most things are easier to get at and I was always able to get parts.
    3, and most important, you can get replacement tyres for the R12.
    That said, driving the GS is a always a pleasure and makes most other cars seem crude. ( However throwing my MR2 around corners and roundabouts, is great fun!)
    An R12 is unsurpassed as a very good cheap car for those on a limited budget.

  11. #11
    Ashtray Polisher donat's Avatar
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    I'm sure the 12 has better electrics than a GSA. Their wacky instrument panel has given many owners some bad nightmares. mallet
    1972 SM
    1989 BX 16 Valve

  12. #12
    1000+ Posts Renomad's Avatar
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    I can't comment on the Citroen, but I can comment on the R12 when it comes to parts availablity as I'm in the process of restoring one.
    New panels and lenses are still available because the R12 is still made in Romania, although the quality of the panels are not as good as the French ones.
    The electrics of the later R12s were made in Australia, mine is a 74 model, I had the starter motor and alternator reconditioned for only $120 each! Believe me that's cheap, I also own a Fuego with French electrics, I know how expensive it can get!
    Clutches and brake pads are available at Repco dealers!
    And there are always 1 or 2 R12s at my local wrecker! :p
    Now if only air compressors were as cheap!
    cheers!
    Renomad
    Cheers Renomad

    "Today's mighty oak, is just yesterdays nut that held it's ground"

    Current frogs, Dad's R19 & Dad's Scenic.

    Past frogs, R12 Wagon X2, R12GL, Fuego X2, R10 X2, R8 X.5!


  13. #13
    1000+ Posts BogMaster's Avatar
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    I don't think I would touch a Renault or a Peugeot- just on principle! evil I strongly doubt they have anything as effective as a GS.

    How many GS's remain on Australian roads compared to 12's?? Is there a reason for this?? Like simplicity triumphs over high pressure plumbing and glorified lawnmower engine??

    The things I can do in a GS I couldn't even begin to explain.

    I hope that these "things" do not involve baby oil and livestock such as sheep or goats. mallet mallet

    -DonatQUOTE]

    <small>[ 26 July 2003, 10:45 AM: Message edited by: BogMaster ]</small>
    Woo Hoo Honi ko'u 'elemu (Hawaiian)

  14. #14
    1000+ Posts Bruce H's Avatar
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    How many GS's remain on Australian roads compared to 12's?? Is there a reason for this?? Like simplicity triumphs over high pressure plumbing and glorified lawnmower engine??
    Did you stop to consider initial sales figures before making this outlandish claim? Any vehicle that had local assembly could be marketed at a much more reasonable price and therefore sell far more and be maintained at a more reasonable price. It doesn't mean they were a better car. (I suspect a little Button Plan amnesia has set in here.)

    In 20 years continuous ownership of Citroens I have had one fault with "high pressure plumbing", in the same time I've had three 'normal' cars that have ended up with expensive brake repairs because of the effects of leaking seals and brake fluid.

    As for lawnmower engines, they're brilliant pieces of technology compared to cast iron lumps and you never have to worry about radiators, radiator hoses, water pumps, thermostats, antifreeze servicing, or block or head corrosion. They rev freely and will sit on top revs all day, something that's a pleasure to do because of the GSs ride and handling.

    Remember, unlike Donat, I'm talking from the perspective of someone who's owned a Virage sedan and a GS wagon at the same time (and who used to do the same 1850ks weekend trip in them on a close-to-monthly basis) and who owned a 1.4 Special wagon and a GS wagon at the same time. I've kept the GS, the Renaults are long gone.

    <small>[ 26 July 2003, 11:13 AM: Message edited by: Bruce H ]</small>
    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

  15. #15
    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
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    I'm possibly playing the devil's advocate here to a point, but personally, I don't think someone who would buy a Renault for what it is would buy a Citroen for the same reasons (R-12 & GS I refer to) as I feel they cater to 2 different types of owners. To prove the point, check out the responses of Donat & Bruce to the cynicism of Bogmaster. :p whistle

    I sold R-12 (a 'la Virage) down the Gold Coast when I was there & I have to be honest, I reckoned they were a fairly nice little car. At the time, there were GSs around, not many admittedly, and a guy in a GS came in for a trade in & the Renault guy ran a mile....wouldn't touch it with a barge poll. I actually owned a couple of 12s a few years back & as has been said, one flew whilst the other was a slug with a bad knock in the motor, so that applies regardless of brand.
    I have only ever driven a couple of GSs & they were impressive but I've got to admit one look under the bonnet frightened the life out of me although I have been told they aren't as bad as they first seem.
    Even though I'm a keen Cit owner, if I were looking at buying a car & these two were my choice & 2 came up in equal condition, I would possibly opt for the GS but if the seller got awkward, I wouldn't take too much swinging to get me to buy the R-12.
    The comparison of numbers left as opposed to numbers sold is being a bit impractical mainly due to the imbalance in new car sales which could leave anyone prepared to research that subject a bit red faced with the results mainly because I feel that there could be so many GSs sitting in peoples yards waiting for values to rise (if they ever do - another story) to make restoration even partially viable that current on road figures could prove to be highly flawed. deal

    Alan S dance
    If it ain't broke, use a 12" shifter.....that usually does the trick!!

  16. #16
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    This has been a great little debate - thanks to all who participated!

    I can't decide which is better. The R12 I use as a daily driver is absolutely fan-tas-tic. I can't fault it.

    So, looks like I'll have to drive both! wink Folks, I'm on the lookout for a straight, running GS for <=$500. Any out there???

    Tell you what 'though, this Pug 204 I've got here is no slouch either - man do they HANDLE!

  17. #17
    1000+ Posts BogMaster's Avatar
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    Jesuz Alan...me cynical..oh come now.

    I was a bit pissed about the "never look at a Pug or Renault on principle" comment. I hate to say it but that was the end of the rational debate from that contributor as far as I was concerned - call it cynical if you will but I wouldn't normally slag off great cars, accuse their owners of getting really personal with goats or rate them with VICTA if I didn't consider that the filial links between owners of the French Marques were being unreasonably put under pressure.

    To be truthful I stand by the comment about simplicity v technical innovation.

    I considered buying a GS back in 1975 but bought a 16TS instead, at the time I thought they were great cars. I still do. I reckon that the GS does the job better that a 12 in many ways. On the otherhand it takes an awful lot to destroy a 12 as is witnessed by the numbers still on the road.

    I also admit that some of the goats I have seen in the back of GS wagons have been quite attractive.

    cheers!
    Woo Hoo Honi ko'u 'elemu (Hawaiian)

  18. #18
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Hi Guys,

    I think this whole thread is a little unfair. There no doubt the R12 was one of the best small cars of it's time. However the GS is exceptional, nothing has been made quite like prior and since it's sale out here.

    Why's there more R12's on the road??? Cos thousands and thousands more of them were sold new, for one simple reason... PRICE !! A GS cost about as much as a fully optioned V8 Statesman when new. So it'll always be a quite rare car as very few of them sold at such a ludicrous price mallet mallet

    seeya,
    Shane L.
    'Cit' homepage:
    Citroen Workshop
    Proper cars--
    '85 Series II CX2500 GTi Turbo I
    '63 ID19 http://www.aussiefrogs.com/forum/showthread.php?t=90325
    '72 DS21 ie 5spd pallas (last looked at ... about 15years ago)
    '78 GS1220 pallas
    '92 Range Rover Classic ... 5spd manual.

    Yay ... No Slugomatics


    Modern Junk:
    '07 Poogoe 407 HDi 6spd manual

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