Citroen GSA Reviews - Page 2 of 4

1984 Citroen GSA X3 1.3 petrol from Netherlands

Model year1984
Year of manufacture1984
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 1.3 petrol Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired87000 kilometres
Most recent distance92000 kilometres
Previous carCitroen GSA

Summary:

Wonderful car with lots of character, fun to drive and very comfortable

Faults:

The rear sub frame needed replacing.

The carburetor needed rebuilding.

General Comments:

My third GSA, and I love it just as much as the previous ones. This is a car I will always keep, I don't use it as a daily driver, but drive it mainly in weekends and in the summer.

A car that is so much fun to drive, that you don't care it isn't that quick. The comfort and fun makes up for all that.

If you want a wonderful car with lots of character and one that is fun to drive and very comfortable and affordable, you'll have to get a GS or GSA.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd October, 2005

17th Jan 2006, 07:53

Around 1986 I acquired a Citroen gs x3, and contrary to the previous comment, it was one of the fastest cars I had driven up till that time... I just couldn't stop myself from speeding in it... the handling was excellent...however, something went in the engine (I can't recall now what it was) and because of finances - Citroens were so expensive to fix here in England,- that I ended up parting with it, very reluctantly... such a shame, as they were quite rare, and I've never seen another one like it... would love to get hold of another one in good condition...

10th Feb 2009, 14:33

Just keep looking: there are still old Frenchies that quit driving and like to sell their GS to someone who really loves it. You can congratulate me: I've bought an X3 '84 with 40.000 real km's on the counter, no rust-preventives at all -and rust-less... Comes from France of course. Looked for one for over 10 years. I still have to find out how good she (technically) really is, but she looks, sounds okay.

Sometimes these things happen. I'll have it tested next week and get Dutch plates for it.

1982 Citroen GSA club estate 1.3 eco from UK and Ireland

Model year1982
Year of manufacture1982
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 1.3 eco Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.5 / 10
Distance when acquired82000 miles
Most recent distance88000 miles
Previous carCitroen XM

Summary:

Brilliant baby supercar; love him, and he'll pay you in smiles

Faults:

Not much, given the age:

The exhaust back box rusted out (easy fix)

The rear spheres need replacing, giving a rather hard ride, almost descending to Ford levels. Unfortunately, they've corroded on, and I'm afraid to change them until I have some replacement pipes lined up, as I'm sure I will rip them off.

The car runs a bit lumpily, but this can be easily sorted, as it probably just needs a carb rebuild.

The headliner bows have popped out of the side rails.

General GSA sun damage to the top upholstery of the seats, as expected.

Rust is finally beginning to show its head after three British winters.

General Comments:

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.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd August, 2005

23rd Aug 2005, 05:31

I made a mistake on the running costs: its actually quite cheap to run; should have been 8/10.

13th Feb 2007, 13:03

I caught the GS bug at an early age (my parents had a GS estate which I nagged them to buy at the tender age of 13-precocious little t***). I run a GSA Pallas and restored a GS Basalte-the limited edition in red and black. They`re great-just the rust is always a menace and the panels sometimes remind me of the foil chocolate comes in.

I fully endorse the 1st commenter!

23rd Feb 2007, 14:29

What a good review! These machines are like cars used to be when I was mad about them in the 1960s and driving was a pleasure... and thanks to the GSA it still can be! In my '81 Club I would happily don a pair of pigskin open-back driving gloves, because it would all be part of the fun. I love the slow acceleration and vague gear selection because they make the experience of driving more exacting, and the accuracy of the steering makes good driving worthwhile. There is not a single modern mainstream practical motor car capable of this - sorry.

Just how long can we keep her going? Nowadays if there's salt on the roads (and mostly there isn't with the mild winters we've been having) I stay in. Otherwise I'm sure it's fine to use the car in winter.

Average review marks: 7.1 / 10, based on 12 reviews