- Post is under moderation‘SUMMER DREAMIN'
Keith has resolved to make the most of the summer with his Citroen, but before he can do that he needs to retrieve if from Cumbria.
LIVING WITH CLASSICS
Our tales from the driveway, garage and out on the open road
OWNED SINCE March 2017
MILEAGE SINCE LAST REPORT 1500
TOTAL MILEAGE 94,020
LATEST COSTS £40 (MoT and bits ‘n’ bobs)
Keith Adams Contributor
CAR #1979-Citroen-GS-Pallas / #1979 / #Citroen-GS-Pallas / #Citroen-GS / #Citroen / HLP 875V
After a quiet winter and spring resting up in Cumbria, I decided it was time to ready the car for a summer of classic shows - and its first appearance at the Hagerty Insurance Festival of the Unexceptional. That’s easier said than done, when the car is at one end of the country, and you’re at the other - but in any opportunity for a long drive in one of my classics is an opportunity to be relished.
I’d had the car MoT’d the week before by my classic-friendly tester (Mill Garage, Frizington) and it passed without advisories.
My plan was simple - to get up before sunrise, jump into the GS, and drive it so I could then do a full day’s work. I would be helped by the fact the drive would be taking place on the summer solstice, and that a 260-mile commute from my home in West Cumbria to Peterborough in a #Citroen GS should be a joy from start to finish.
At 4.30am I climbed in, belted up, turned the key, and psyched myself up for the drive south. A couple of minutes later, the first sliver of sun crested the horizon, I waved goodbye to the barn, and headed towards the A66. Settling into a 60mph cruise in the GS, what struck me is why on earth I don’t do this more often - getting up early to drive your favourite car on quiet roads is something every petrolhead should do on a regular basis.
The roads were empty, and as the sun brightened, I got on with the business of enjoying myself. The GS was in its element - singing away at 4000-5000rpm, and wafting in a way that no car this small has any right to.
The problem with this as a drive is that there’s no bad story to tell. GS and I managed to avoid the usual A1 traffic delays - and for once, Traffic England managed to keep all of it open. By the time I rolled into CCWs Peterborough office at 9am, I was fresh, happy, and ready for work. I’m not sure any other comparable 1970s saloon could have managed that feat as well. I love my GS, and in my ever-changing fleet, it feels like this one is the keeper.
Downsides? None really, other than the fuel consumption, which averaged 25mpg. But it’s a small price to pay. It’s now at
my place near work, sharing the drive with another Citroen - a gorgeous #Citroen-CX20-Pallas .
Did we make it to the Hagerty Insurance Festival of The Unexceptional? Of course it did - and as I drove through the gates of Stowe School, I was honoured to be directed to display it right at the front of the pack.
Even better news was that I met with Chris Salter, the guy I bought the GS from. I’d picked it up sight unseen, and even more unusually, I’d never met Chris face-to-face, concluding the deal via email. He was delighted to see his car again, his enthusiasm reinforcing what it is so magical about my GS... it’s going to be a great summer!
Keith catches up with his Citroen's former keeper, Chris saiter.
Ready for the longest commute Keith has done in a long time - he relished every moment.
GS currently shares the same drive as a CX.
Roads to himself (well, it is 6am...).
'I love my GS, and in my ever-changing fleet, it feels like this one is the keeper'Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationCAR: #Citroen-GSA-Pallas / #Citroen-GSA / #Citroen-GS / #Citroen / #1980-Citroen-GSA-Pallas
Name John Leslie
From Warkworth, NZ
First classic Jowett Javelin
Dream classic A mint Citroën CX2400 C-Matic
Favourite driving song The sweet sound of a fine engine
Best drive Dunedin [South Island] to Warkworth [North]
BOXER THRIVES IN THE ANTIPODES
Surprisingly, given the fact that New Zealand is on the other side of the planet to France, Citroëns have always had quite a serious following here. Traction Avants and DSs are still often seen on the roads, are admired at rallies and seem to be the strong point of the Citroën owners’ clubs across the country. CXs are few and far between, but it is pleasing to see several in good condition, while GSs and BXs are seldom spotted. I understand from a club authority, in fact, that there are only about 30 GSs and GSAs in running order across the islands.
My introduction to Citroën came by accident... literally, when I was involved in a collision while driving my rather fine Rover 95 that wrecked the car and could have killed me. I recalled seeing a DS21 Safari for sale not too far away and so I replaced the Rover with the Citroën.
Over the years, there followed a DS21 Pallas, a new 2CV Charleston, a CX2400 #C-Matic , my first GSA, a BX automatic, two Xantias – one an auto, still in my possession – and the GSA featured in this article. My first GSA, purchased in about 1997, proved to be an outstanding vehicle, wonderful for a long journey. The air-cooled flat-four was ideal in Dunedin, on New Zealand’s South Island to where we had relocated. It was in due course replaced by the BX automatic, which was better suited to city driving.
In 2010, I came across a very well kept #1980 GSA Pallas, stabled it alongside my ’94 Xantia five-speed and 1998 auto, and have enjoyed it ever since. It is an early model with the GS dashboard; I prefer the round Jaeger instruments and the sea of warning lights, all of which are working perfectly – a rarity!
The car has been repainted at some stage in a metallic blue as near to the factory colour as possible, the cloth upholstery and carpets are excellent, plus all the rubber mouldings are original. The front seats wrap around the driver and passenger and, along with the ingenious suspension, give it remarkable composure on winding roads.
With 170,000km on the clock, the GSA runs superbly. The engine uses no oil between changes, there are absolutely no leaks, the cambelts and tensioners have been regularly swapped and routine servicing is done on the dot. There have been no hydraulic problems, the fuel pump, exhaust manifolds and Y-pipe have been replaced and the Weber carburettor heating pipes have been repaired. Most new parts are bought from Rob Moss at The Chevronic Centre, which provides a brilliant and prompt service.
The ride is similar to a DS, the way Citroëns used to be, with the oleopneumatic underpinnings that smooth every bump and wrinkle in the road. The centre-line steering is accurate and the handling is a delight. I always say to friends – and those who show interest in the GSA – that it puts a smile on my face every time I get behind the wheel. The Pallas is by far the best of my fleet for touring, the magic-carpet ride, its easy gait in top gear and the powerful all-disc brakes making long-distance motoring a doddle.
I run the Citroën on 98 octane fuel and use Total lubricants, as still recommended by the factory. I have owned about 36 cars in my 74 years – Austin, Jaguar, Jowett, Vauxhall, Rovers, many Daimlers, a Humber Super Snipe, Audi, Mercedes, Volvo and Renault – but the wee Citroën beats them all.
Clockwise: double chevron generations – Leslie’s GSA and one of his two Xantias; original trim is all in fine condition; as is immaculate cabin; oil-tight flat-four; alongside lovely Light 15 in Dunedin; handy large boot.
‘The GSA is by far the best of my fleet for touring, with its magic-carpet ride and easy gait in top gear’Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation/ #1978-Citroen-GS-X2 / #1978 / #Citroen-GS-X2 / #Citroen-GS / #Citroen
/ vs #1980-Alfa-Romeo-Alfasud-1.5 / #Alfa-Romeo-Alfasud / #Alfa-Romeo / #1980
They are cute! In today's traffic, these small formats with such vivid colors denote seriously: you can not drive more than 100 meters without looking away. It is also surprising to note the similarities between these two autos issued almost at the same time. A mix of taut lines and curves, the GS has a much more elaborate style that quickly demolishes its competitors (Simca 1100, Renault 12 ...) with, for example, shaped headlights and curved glass. The Frenchwoman can also claim a Cx absolutely remarkable, otherwise better than that of the ... Citroën CX! With its black bumpers, specific rims and anti-fog, the little lemon plays the card of sportsmanship now obsolete. Alfasud seems more fun to watch thanks to its more compact dimensions, a line that seems more dated and a serious dose of exoticism in our country. In any case, we appreciate these round bubbles, these tires so narrow and these amounts so fine.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation/ #Citroen-GSA-Spécial / #Citroen-GSA / #Citroen-GS / #Citroen
CAR: Citroën GSA Spécial
Run by David Evans
Owned since March 2007
Total mileage 105,006
Miles since February
Latest costs £204
PARIS REMATCH FOR RENDEZVOUS
There’s nothing quite like La Traversée, the massed drive around Paris organised by Vincennes en Anciennes. It’s the sort of brilliantly orchestrated chaos that only the French can get away with. I was in two minds about doing ‘the Crossing’ this January, though – after the dreadful weather there and back last year – but I inevitably found myself drawn back to the website over the Christmas break. Alcohol may have been involved. Registrations had closed, so I e-mailed the club’s ever-helpful PR-person Anne Quémy, who kindly sent me a press pass by return. The Eurotunnel is cheap off-peak, so I booked a train. As for accommodation, Hugh and Anne Thompson, who I’d met on the 2017 Traversée – friends of my old mates Brian and Pat Buckett – recommended a good hotel just around the corner from the start.
That just left the car, which had a couple of runs out over the festive period to Romsey on Boxing Day and Vintage Stony, both of which were heaving. After inadvertently finding a standing lake on the way to Stony Stratford – followed by a bow wave – the car (rather than the owner) developed an odd groaning sound. It went away with the clutch down, and seemed to have cleared by the time I stopped to investigate why I had been flashed a few times. The right-hand rear sidelight was on but the bulb had dulled and the numberplate lamp wasn’t working, although that was a broken earth.
To be on the safe side, I booked the car into Chevronics, after mentioning the noise to mechanical guru Port. He suggested water in a bearing (having had a similar experience) and Rob Moss agreed, but there was no trace of it when he test-drove YLC. Next on the list was the dashboard, which was in darkness apart from the speedo. As Rob pointed out, it can take a while to repair a module and, as I’ve found in the past, any time that you remove it, something else always stops working. It was beyond my capabilities anyway, needing careful soldering, but was as good as Blackpool’s Illuminations when I turned on the ignition that night. So we were all set for France.
Fog and freezing rain had put me off venturing into central Laon 12 months ago, but this year I had a brief look around the beautiful mediaeval town and its Gothic masterpiece, Notre-Dame Cathedral. It’s also a fine route nationale run from there to Paris via the N2.
Come the following morning, as I opened the window at 5:30am, it was chucking it down. And it was still raining as everyone gathered at Château de Vincennes, but fortunately it eased off as we convoyed along nearby Avenue Daumesnil.
I vowed to keep with a few cars, having got lost last year, and mostly followed the route book to make it to the photo opportunity at the Sacré-Coeur steps. There was a space right behind a mint Renault 16TX, in fact, so it would have been rude not to stop. Shortly afterwards I met up with #Drive-My freelancer Julian Parish (who used to live in central Paris), so he took over directions and helped with translation when we met characters along the way. “You and Pressnell, always buying French cars!” exclaimed Jean-Jacques Dieumegard as we admired his Jensen Interceptor II at Les Invalides (see Your events).
Now it’s always a treat to take the Citroën ‘home’, so thank you to everyone for their comments about the car – from the young bloke with an ’1984 Citroen BX at the start, to the chap at Place de la Concorde who’d owned a GSA when he was 30. It prompted a round of applause as we left there, acknowledged with a few toots.
Julian helpfully led me to the Périphérique, having told me how to avoid the busiest part, and I made it to Calais an hour earlier than anticipated. Roll on the next one…
Δ Anne Quémy and everyone else at Vincennes en Anciennes
Δ Hugh and Anne Thompson
Δ The Chevronic Centre: 01462 455280; www.chevronics.co.uk
Two of France’s greatest landmarks: the Sacré-Coeur basilica and, right, Laon Cathedral. Inset: Thierry Dubois’ brilliant artwork for La Traversée.
Module is easier to extract with wheel out. Delicate flexi-circuitry needed soldering. GSA spotted in Romsey by Oliver Edwards.
Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Load previous stream items