Citroën GS Birotor, the great failed experiment with rotary engines Citroen

was the chronicle of an announced, perhaps death. It is with cars like the Citroën SM – with soul Maserati and stunning design – or Citroën GS Birotor with the great folly French printed is appreciated their cars. Radical innovations with little chance of success, also marketed. Unfortunately, the French have regained his sanity, but that does not prevent its bygone chronicle do crazy things. The Citroen GS Birotor was one of its most great failed experiments.

A two-rotor rotary engine in the GS

NSU and Citroen Comotor founded a joint venture to produce rotary engines in France.

The technology rotary engine patented by Felix Wankel aroused great attention in the late 60s and early 70s before ending up in the hands of Mazda, he went through NSU – an extinct German brand belonging to the group Auto Union launched the first production car with a rotary engine. In 1969, NSU Citroën formed with a joint venture called Comotor to jointly manufacture rotary motors. His first work was the experimental Citroën M35 -. The talk someday

Citroën decided to apply this technology to a production vehicle, following successful testing with M35 . The car Citroën GS was elected an affordable midsize sedan at the time. Its current equivalent would be practically a C-Elysee. It was in this car that Citroen decided to install a powerful dual-rotor rotary engine and a displacement of 1,990 cc . This water-cooled propeller was by far the most powerful engine in the GS range, potentially doubling the next drive, just 61 hp.

was not the pinnacle of reliability: rotary engine, hydropneumatic suspension and semi-automatic gearbox … in 1973. Citroën.

This powerful engine developed a more than respectable 107 hp at 6,500 rpm and 136 Nm of torque at 3,000 rpm. Were figures that were used in the day, and allowed him to accelerate to 100 km / h in just 13 seconds with a top speed of 174 km / h . It was a pretty fast by the standards of the time, almost a sports car. It was launched in 1973, after being presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show, three years after the market introduction of the Citroën GS. Since its launch, it was conceived with little commercial vision car, for a number of reasons which at the time had not seem so obvious.

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First, it was a car with fuel consumption very high spent 17% more than the Citroën DS23 , the more powerful Citroën back then car. In town, some testers report reached media consumption of 27 liters per 100 km . As you hear. Similarly, as a good rotary engine, consuming around a quart of oil every 600 km – 1,000 km. At least, eliminating the need to change the oil, it ebbed slowly. Lack of lubrication was common cause of premature death of the motor.

Its price was similar to a Citroen DS, Citroen flagship in the 70

It was a car developed in a hurry. The Wankel engine GS Birotor was not quite tuned – the technology was in its infancy – and Citroën engineers were unable to mount a manual gearbox. The manual gearbox would have caused a sudden and very unrefined behavior. Therefore, they decided to use a C-Matic semi-automatic box of three relationships and torque converter . Attached to the rotary engine and hydropneumatic suspension of the car, say it was not a cocktail of mechanical reliability.

Oil crisis and bankruptcy of Citroën

The car was launched in 1973, in the month of October. A few days later the OPEC closed the tap of oil to the West tripling oil prices. Suddenly, everyone was obsessed with efficiency, and market cars high fuel consumption plummeted. Saving and austerity imposed in Europe – the mantra sound familiar? – And Citroen GS Birotor was neither cheap nor saver cost a whopping 24,952 francs. A DS tore that same year 22,600 francs.

Only 847 units were produced. Citroën wanted to buy them back and destroy them, but a third of production survives.

Citroën tried to differentiate GS birrotor other GS more aggressive front design wheels of 14 inches and a width of considerably larger tract. It was a subtle difference, but it was undoubtedly perceptible. Its interior was more luxurious: the instrumentation was more complete and upholstery also reached the dashboard. The mats were standard and Citroën did not forget a crazy wheel of a single radio. Trademark, undoubtedly. But the attraction was not enough.

Only 847 units were made, and in 1975 Citroën decided to stop production. In 1974, they suffered a bankruptcy and rotaries program was one of its first victims. Citroën did not want to continue to produce spare parts for Birotor so ordered dealers to buy back all Birotor that could, at a much higher price appraisal in order to destroy them. It was not compulsory, it is estimated that one third of its production still survives in the hands of collectors and enthusiasts.

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Source: Ran When Parked
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