The rotary engined GS, known as the Birotor, was launched in September 1973 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It used a water-cooled, twin-rotor engine with a very respectable claimed power output of 107 bhp. The rest of the package was equally impressive, with hydro-pneumatic suspension, all-round disc brakes and semi-automatic transmission. It was regarded as a generally well-sorted car, with excellent road manners, sharing the same supple ride as the rest of the GS range, but offering better handling with less understeer and reduced body roll. There were downsides – the price was substantially more than the rest of the GS range and the car was notably thirsty, with relatively poor fuel economy.
This was ultimately the Birotor’s downfall as the car’s launch was shortly followed by the 1973 Middle East crisis which led to a sharp rise in the price of oil and therefore, petrol. Production ceased in 1975 with 47 prototypes and only 847 production models built. Citroën then attempted to buy back every Birotor which had found a purchaser – probably on the basis that manufacturing and stocking spare parts for such a small number of cars sold was not a viable proposition for them. The terms of the buy-back offer were accepted by most owners of the cars and Citroen went on to destroy all unsold Birotors, all spares and every car it had re-purchased. Only a handful of owners kept their cars and it is estimated that there are only 250-300 remaining worldwide.
This particular Birotor is believed to be one of the cars that was bought back by Citroen but kept by a Citroen employee before being sold to a Citroen enthusiast, whose family owned a Citroen dealership in Normandy. It was then sold to a Citroen dealership in Brittany, who kept it as part of their collection, and then had one further owner in France before being purchased by the current owner, on whose behalf we are selling the car.