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AUTOCAR w/e 22/2.9 June 1974


36,000 miles

By Chris Goffey


I LEARNED with delight some 9,000 miles ago that I was to assume “ownership”of the long-term CitroŽn GS which Warren Allport, our Features Editor had been running. I had, of course, driven the GS from time to time before I attended the official “Ceremony of the Keys" and I was already acquainted with the superb handling, ride and comfort which had contributed to the car`s acclaim in 1971 as Car of the Year.

This was one of the first GS models that CitroŽn had imported into the UK, and obviously had had more than its share of technical teething troubles. In all the time I had the car, I don’t remember seeing another J registered model on the roads, so perhaps any criticism must be tempered with this proviso -it was a very early car.

Because of this, the importers had always maintained a keen interest in the GS’s progress, and we had been taking it to CitroŽn at Slough for service. This was a departure from our normal procedure of taking the car to an ordinary garage, and it may have affected some of our costings - the Slough factory services only works cars, diplomatic and special customer cars and the problem cars which the dealers cannot deal with.

Although CitroŽn supplied us with details of all the work that had been carried out and the cost of labour and materials, we could not help wondering just what they had done to the car when problems we had encountered apparently disappeared after a lengthy stay with the experts of Slough.

In my opinion, the CitroŽn GS is a very good car. It is ahead of comparable small saloons in terms of ride comfort, seating, technical design and execution, and handling. It is one of the most “swervable” and nimble saloon cars I know.

But... and this is a major “BUT”... it seems to have cost more to maintain than other saloons in its class.

Consider my introduction to the car for example. The previous “owner” had concluded his report of the first 24,000 miles with notes on the 24,000-mile service. This had cost £50 for parts and labour, plus £160 (including labour) for the new gearbox CitroŽn had fitted after complaints of noise and difficulty in getting second gear. CitroŽn said that they would have agreed with a customer to bear 70 per cent of the cost of the box, but the total bill even then would have been just under £l00.

© 1974 Autocar/2011 CitroŽnŽt