Letters From Readers - Maxi v GS, March 1975


I feel I must put in a word for the Citroen GS which has received a fair caning from some of your readers in recent issues. I find it difficult to believe that a discerning motorist, such as I assume Mr. Jenkins (Jan. issue) to be, could only detect a marginal superiority of the Citroen’s ride over that of his Maxi. While the Maxi’s ride is quite acceptable over most surfaces, on low frequency bumps the ride of the Maxi can deteriorate considerably causing an unpleasant vertical bounce which as well as upsetting passengers can throw the car off line if one is cornering hard at the time. Perhaps what may have caused Mr. Jenkins to take this opinion is the high level of road noise which causes every sharp bump to be heard inside the car which gives a false impression of the standard of ride comfort. More sound deadening is needed.

On the subject of carburation, I have no complaints. The car, a 1973 1220 club estate, starts if the choke is pulled out fully the moment the engine catches. After fifteen seconds, the choke should be pushed fully in and, as long as the engine revs. are held above 2,000, it will pull cleanly.

The sooty exhaust and poor m.p.g. problems are linked. For a start most owners use too little revs, and too much choke with a cold engine leading to poor m.p.g., stalling and black exhaust. Secondly, due to the accelerator pump, there is an enormous fuel wastage if the throttle is treated jerkily and snap throttle openings used when pressing on. With smooth but brisk motoring it will achieve well over 30 m.p.g. and driven gently on a long run it is capable of over 35 m.p.g.

As to the gearchange, as delivered it was appalling and yet typical of others tried. When taken apart, it was found that the rod linkage has two elbow joints in it using plastic bushes which allowed considerable movement. The modification (DIY, I’m afraid) is relatively simple and involves making a metal sleeve, drilling out the centre of the bush a little to accept this and then bolting the assembly up tight. The results are astonishing for the lever movements were cut by half and the change is now quick and accurate.

In 10,000 miles the car has been totally reliable and the only grumble I have is that when parked the car is very prone to scratches and dents as the panelwork is unstressed and rather flimsy. I would recommend enthusiastic drivers to try reversing the front/ rear tyre differential as this makes the car more neutral in behaviour and greatly reduces wear on the front tyres. While on the subject of handling I do not understand how Mr. Turner compares his Escort 1300 with a GS because surely the most predictable thing about “proper” live axle suspension is that he will undoubtedly cause GS owners much amusement as they observe his Escort heading for the undergrowth on bumpy bends.

Finally, I would like to say how much pleasure the car gives due to its eager free-revving engine, exceptional roadholding (though I suspect it would be even better with wider tyres) and fuss-free cruising. As far as the enthusiast is concerned the GS can only be considered a bargain at the price.