French cars have a checkered history in the United States market. Renault famously bought-out the bankrupt shell of American Motors in the late 1970s in a futile attempt to gain a foothold in the American market before skedaddling with Chrysler’s buyout of AMC. Despite reasonably high-quality offerings, Peugeot never grabbed much attention. And French luxury maker Citroën packed it up in 1974 after a few years of selling their aerodynamically inspired vehicles. Citroën of course brought cheap motoring to the world with the bare-bones 2CV, but the brand later introduced radical concepts like hydroelastic suspension and seats that make your couch feel like a wood plank. But their exit from the U.S. meant that there were no more weird-looking, side-skirted French car available.
However, some French car enthusiasts have opted to import Citroëns under the NHTSA’s 25-year exemption for road cars and one such car, a 1983 GSA Wagon, is up for sale just east of Madison, Wisconsin, right now. It’s a rare occasion when any Citroën is up for sale on CraigsList, but an imported one is rarer still.
While some early GS models had a two-rotor GSU-designed Wankel rotary engine, this later GSA is powered by a 1.3-liter flat four engine that is shoved way in the car’s nose ahead of the five-speed transaxle—Citroën’s 2CV was also an early mass-produced front-wheel-driver car—and while the output is only about 65 horsepower, the aerodynamic design means that top speed is still about 100 mph.
As Citroën developed a reputation for futuristic-looking design, the GSA gets the hyperfuturistic (though now dated) dashboard and the one-spoke steering wheel that wouldn’t look out of place in the original Tron. The suspension is also the extra-smooth hydroelastic suspension that absorbs bumps better than Keith Richards absorbs whatever drug cocktail has kept him perfectly preserved.
Despite some minor cosmetic issues with the front fender and the interior, it looks like a well-tended Citroën that has served daily driver duties and with only 85,000 km on the odometer, this rare-in-states French car might well be worth the $7,800 asking price to the right person. Find the GSA on CraigsList right here now or find it here when the ad expires.