Before the GS came along in 1970, Citroën had no desirable family vehicle positioned between its expensive yet aging DS line and the 2CV, an economy star originating from a 1937 design. The 2CV had fathered a few derivatives throughout the period—including the Ami 6, the Ami 8 and the Dyane—conceived by Citroën as somewhat-enhanced budget alternatives built around the 2CV’s technology and powered by the same air-cooled flat-two engines. At the other end of the scale sat the DS, equipped with a hydropneumatic suspension and a four-cylinder engine but offered with a price tag to match.
What Citroen needed, then, was an affordable offering with plenty of space that wasn’t quite as spartan as the 2CV. So when the GS came around as a small family four-door, it retained plenty of premium features from the DS, combining a simplified hydropneumatic suspension and disc brakes on all four corners with a brand-new, air-cooled, 1.2-liter flat-four rated at 58 hp and 64 lb-ft of torque.
Parked next to the equally new-for-1970 Citroën SM, this still-affordable streamliner was so convincing that it won 1971’s European Car of the Year voting straight away.
Today, a GS (or even a later GSA) remains an understated collectors’ car granting you comfort over rough roads, a basic but still very French interior, and even rare luxury options with the Pallas trim such as the three-speed C matic semi-automatic gearbox—a torque converter with a floor-mounted H-pattern shifter. Only Citroën would do such a thing.
Having owned multiple 2CVs before getting his 1978 GS Pallas, Canadian Citroën fan Simon Walker knowns he made the right call on this Beige Opal Metallic daily driver, as shown by Driving.ca‘s latest video: