GS in Canada are rare cars indeed. Only 6 were originally imported into the country in 1971 by Citroën (who were still selling cars here) and those were demonstration models that were not “officially” sold here. (Though at least 2 managed to find their way into owners’ hands. The other 4 ended up with employees of Citroën Canada at the time.) Today, a few more GS (probably another half dozen) have managed to find their way into Canada.
One such GS was brought into Canada from Germany in the mid-1980’s. Shortly after that time, it unfortunately developed an issue that the owner was not prepared to correct. As a result, it ended up being stored outside in the back lot of an automotive repair shop (Automotive Fibre) owned by Richard Kybartis in Etobicoke, ON. There it sat for over 35 years, and let’s just say the weather and local rodents were not kind to it.
Enter Lloyd McBride who purchased a 1978 GS C-matic in 2014 and wanted to ensure he had access to the mechanical bits of a GS manual gearbox version in the event that repair attempts on his GS were going to prove to be impossible. (Lloyd had a friend who was driving his car shift from 1st to reverse instead of into 2nd gear and ever since that point getting the C-matic to work has been a nightmare. A whole story about sorting that out…) In any event, Lloyd bought the GS imported from Germany just at time Richard Kybartis sold his repair shop and had to relocate the car elsewhere. A friend of Lloyd’s had a property near Cayuga, ON and agreed to let him store the car there.
The GS by this time had decayed quite a bit but it went from gravel bed outside storage to a grass field in Cayuga, which only hastened to make the floors and front underside of the car disappear.
Frustrated trying to resolve the C-Matic issues on his GS, Lloyd sold the car to Simon Walker in early 2018 and included the “Cayuga GS” in the sale. At the same time he announced that his friend had had enough of the GS sitting in his field in Cayuga. The car needed to be gone by the end of October. That was motivation enough for a few members of Citroën Autoclub Canada to spring into action and to do so for a few reasons;
- We have our spare parts for Club the fairly close by in Beamsville, ON and had been meaning for some time to sort through them (mainly the body panels) as quite a few are too far gone to effectively repair.
- Our parts are graciously housed by Club member Sietse Elsinga, and Sietse has a spot were we can work on the GS protected, with power, and on a concrete surface. Also, Sietse offered to get local scrap metal fellow over to pick-up all that we discarded.
- We wanted to harvest as many parts as possible before the GS is scrapped. (Amazingly Simon, with the help of our local Citroën specialist mechanic Bernard Laborde, had managed to recently sort out the C-matic in his GS, however Simon felt that having a manual gearbox to go into the car in future, in case any further problems with the C-matic developed, would be a good thing to have on hand.)
- We also had some other 435cc 2CV engine parts that were scrap and stashed in the Burlington area. This was an opportunity to dispose of them.
And so it came to be that on the morning of October 22, 2018 Simon arranged for a flat-bed tow of the Cayuga GS to Beamsville where George Dyke, Sietse Elsinga, Lloyd McBride and Jim Sciberas, along with Simon, rather unceremoniously removed what was salvageable.
View a full photo gallery of the day’s activities here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmpMotNj
Surprisingly, the engine still turned so it and the gearbox were extracted by grinding through the driveshafts (as the bolts were so rusted on brake rotors that they could not be removed), and using a Sawzall to cut through the cross member above the engine.
Other significant parts we managed salvage were; the windshield (in perfect shape), the right front fender (also in great shape), the dash panel, gear shift linkage and rear bumper. George Dyke was particularly pleased as he has 2 GS in Toronto and was missing a jack stand and handle for one of them. Lo and behold what was in the trunk intact? Exactly that!
In all it, was a very productive day and though all agreed it was rather sad to eradicate a GS rather than restore it, it was obvious by the severe rot and missing interior that parting it out had to be its fate!