I had the good fortune of being offered a rust free GSA estate from the south of france from a club member upgrading to a newer car.
Most people do not know much about the GSA, and what people do know is mainly a 'grrr there be dragons' attitude. While used Cits are a minefield, this is more due to the expectations of owners, rather than faults with the cars.
The GSA was the C4 of the '80s, and as such, sold for ridiculous low prices and special offers. Thus, many buyers chose it over a Sierra or Cavalier. However, the GSA is not just another middlemarket car, even if it was priced as such.
The GSA was designed by Panhard engineers after Panhard had been absorbed by Citroen. Thus, it combined the superb suspension of the DS with the cutting edge air-cooled engine technology of Panhard. The sweet engine of the GSA would rev to the moon, spinning the lovely drum style rev counter 'round and 'round.
Sadly, like its flat-4 Italian cousin Alfasud, for all of its dynamic and aesthetic beauty, the GSA needed to be treated like a Faberge egg, as it tended to contract smallpox at the slightest sign of rain.
Like anything worth keeping, the GSA also demanded the sort of love which your average biker has no problem lavishing on their xxr f-2 600 gofaster riceburner, but the average British motorist is averse to giving to a workaday car.
Although a Sierra would thrive on this neglect, the GSA most certainly did not. Thus, they developed an undeserved reputation for unreliability.
GSA's get tappety if oil changes are neglected, and if the miles of cambelts are not changed... I'm sure you know the rest. Furthermore, the rubber of the '80s is not as good as that of today, and the seals tend to perish, leading to puddles. Although the car will continue to run for ages with a bit of a tappety tick a tick a tick and if you don't park it on white carpet, the oil drips are not really a big problem, these issues combined with misunderstanding of hydraulics scuppered the residuals. As GSA's moved into banger territory, potential buyers were less willing to spend the money to keep them going. As a result, there are less than 200 on UK roads.
My GSA has been a brilliant car, loved by its French family, who kept the underside totally rust free, and its Scotttish owner, who serviced it and, most importantly, used it.
GSA's love to be driven, and are wonderful highway cars. The little 1.3 litre is able to cruise comfortably at 80, and just sings at 4500rpm.
I recently took the GSA to the Isle of Man, and loved the cling to the road, the ability to drive unsurfaced tracks with comfort, and transport three blokes, luggage and a dog at a reasonable speed over the TT circuit.
Perhaps most uniquely, after a shabby puncture repair at a local garage, the rear tyre blew out at speed. The amazing suspension allowed me to proceed through the mountain road, with the handling no worse than my old Austin Cambridge. This lovely safety feature allowed me to think all was OK until I stopped to see the tyre completely shredded. Needless to say, an Astra/Sierra/Volkswagen, or any conventional car may have taken us over the edge that had claimed so many other lives on the TT Mountain Road.
In all, I intend to keep the GSA, drive it every day, and garage it at night. If only Citroen had galvanized it...
My advice to anyone contemplating one, is to go for it- just check the bodywork, and be willing to spend the money to keep it up. The G-series is a car with a personality, and will be as good to you as you are to him or her.