Owning the middle ground, for a car company, is absolutely essential. You cannot be as successful as you could be without selling a mid-range cars. Like in politics; if you want to get elected, you have to appeal to the centrists and the independents. Regardless, most successful car companies have low end and high-end cars, and in between are the real money-makers. And in 1970, this was a problem for Citroen, who had been out of a real mid-range vehicle since the Traction Avant – or the Light 15 – was retired in 1957. Enter the 1970 Citroen GS. Unashamedly French in design, it was available two trim options – the regular Club and the luxurious Pallas and in a variety of styles – van, fastback, hatchback (eventually) and a station wagon. Like all Citroen cars, the ride was unbelievably comfortable and smooth, thanks to its still-revolutionary suspension.
Unfortunately, and like almost all French cars, the choice of engines was poor, and even the most powerful one could not give the GS the power its chassis, suspension and transmission deserved. It featured tiny four-cylinder engines, ranging in displacement from 1-liter to 1.3-liters. Performance with the smaller one was a 11.7 second 0-60 time, with a top speed of 92 miles per hour. In 1973, a Wankel engine was offered in the Citroen GS Birotor, which proved more powerful but unbelievably thirsty. It didn’t last very long.
The Citroen GS remained in production until 1979, but then the company had been bankrupt since 1974, and hastily partnered – swallowed up – by rival Peugeot.