The Citroen GS Camargue was a concept car that made its debut at the 1972 Geneva Motor Show. The design of the car was based on the 1970 Citroen – a five-door fastback saloon family car that could accommodate up to five people.
The car was designed by Gruppo Bertone, and it marked the first collaboration between the two Italian companies.
Read the story behind the design, the features of the car, and find out its successor all in this guide.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- 1 The Features of the Citroën GS Camargue
- 2 The Reason GS Camargue Didn’t Go Into Mass Production
- 3 The Introduction of the Citroen BX
- 4 The Story Behind the Citroen GS Camargue
- 5 The Differences Between the Citroen BX and GS Camargue
- 6 Conclusion
The Features of the Citroën GS Camargue
The features of the GS Camargue included a 2+2 seating with 3 doors and an engine that produced up to 55 horsepower. The tires looked like bass speakers from that era while the rear fender was inspired by the American company, Dodge.
The interior was spacious and comfortable, showcasing more room offered by wide enveloping seats. The GS Camargue featured hydropneumatic suspension, making driving more comfortable and easier even on rough roads.
– The Exterior of the GS Camargue
The car’s exterior was what caught the attention of everyone as its design was unconventional. First, the car’s plain lines of geometry seemed to be inspired by the region of Carmague – an area in southern France characterized by beautiful plains. From the front, the car had the look of an executive saloon car with many reviewers comparing it to the Rover SD1. However, the side view of the car gave the vibes of an 80s hatchback like the Peugeout 205 GTi while the back looked like a sporty car.
Renowned car designer Marcelo Gandini, who worked at Gruppo Bertoni, came up with the blueprint for the Camargue. He took two years (1970 -1972) to finish and present his final draft of how the Camargue should look. In his mind, Marcelo Gandini envisaged a compact coupé with aerodynamic lines that’ll make it stand out from the competition.
– The Engine of the GS Camargue
The vehicle had a naturally aspirated air-cooled flat-4 boxer engine in the range of 1015 cc to 1299 cc. The engine generated a horsepower of 55 horsepower with a torque of 52 pounds per feet.
The car’s top speed was 140 km/h which can be achieved in 38.1 seconds. The Citroën GS motor was an internal combustion engine located at the front of the vehicle and it run on petrol.
– The Various Dimensions of the Vehicle
Since the car was based on the GS, both vehicles shared the same dimensions except for the length, where Camargue beats the GS by 2.4 inches making it 164.6 inches long.
The width of the Camargue was 63.8 inches while the height was 53.2 inches. The weight was between 1,985 to 2,095 pounds, same as the weight of the GS.
The Reason GS Camargue Didn’t Go Into Mass Production
The main reason the Citroen GS production stalled is not known, but many believe that the Camargue eventually became the Citroen BX because they shared similar characteristics. What differentiated them was the exterior, with the BX looking simpler and more like a sedan than the Camargue. Thus, there were a few Citroen GS for sale and the Citroen GS price hovered around $30,000 and $40,000.
The Introduction of the Citroen BX
Based on the design of the Camargue, the two Italian companies, Citroen and Bertone, came up with the Citroen BX in 1982. The car made its debut at the Paris auto show and soon caught the attention of car aficionados in Europe and around the world.
The idea was to replace the Citroen GS which was going out of fashion and to reduce maintenance costs; the GS was more technologically advanced and was costly to maintain. Thus, the BX was meant to have the same performance as the GS, albeit with less technology and low maintenance costs.
The BX was designed by Marcello Gandini, the same person who designed the GS Camargue. According to several sources, the design of the BX was influenced by the 1977 Reliant FW11 and the 1979 Volvo Tundra; two concept cars that never went into production. The car’s platform was based on the Peugeot 405 after Citroen and Peugeuot’s merger in 1976. The lightweight car used lots of plastics with a few body parts being made of metal and it came in five models – Sports, GT, 4TC, 16V and GTi.
Initially, the BX was launched with 1.6L and 1.8L gasoline engines but as the years went by, other engine options were added. The car performed relatively well on the market during its 12-year stay as over 2 million BXs were sold. For four years, the BX was named the best-selling diesel engine vehicle in the UK. Eventually, the vehicle was phased out and replaced by the Citroen variant, but not without enjoying much success on the European market.
The Story Behind the Citroen GS Camargue
The Citroën GS Camargue concept car came about when designers at Gruppo Bertone heard that Citroen was looking to produce a car with a futuristic look based on the Citroen GS saloon. After tossing a few ideas, they came up with the stylish Citroen GS Camargue that looked like a hand grenade.
The chiefs at Citroen had instructed Bertone to use all the features of the Citroen GS except the exterior to cut down car creation and production costs. When the car finally made it to the Geneva Motor Show, it was greeted with a lot of excitement and admiration. Many car newspapers splashed its pictures across their front pages and it got raving reviews with many highlighting its exterior. Sadly, the vehicle never made it into production.
However, the GS Camargue inspired a new generation of cars like the Citroen BX produced between 1982 and 1994. It was also the basis for the 1978 Citroën GSX3 and 1981 Citroën GSA X3.
The Differences Between the Citroen BX and GS Camargue
Though many people believed the GS Camargue eventually came out as the BX, the many different features of the cars tell a different story. Their look and feel are not the same including their platforms and purposes.
Here are some of the notable differences between the GS Camargue and BX:
– Both Vehicles Had Different Designs
Both vehicles have different designs, with the BX showing a distinctive hatchback design while the Camargue combined various designs from sports vehicle to sedan. The BX had a simpler look while the Camargue had a more futuristic and complex look.
The outline of the Camargue was more aerodynamic, which means it would’ve suffered less air resistance compared to the BX. Overall, it seems the car manufacturers preferred the outlook of the Camargue to the BX but decided to shelve it due to maintenance costs.
– The Engines of Both Cars
The Camargue was designed to run on the air-cooled flat-4 boxer engine while the BX featured a new series of engines including TU, XU, XY and PSA.
The engine capacities of the BX were higher than the Camargue, with the lowest BX engine being 1306 cc compared to the 1016 cc of the Camargue.
The horsepower of the GS Camargue was 55 horsepower while that of the BX ranged from 62 horsepower to 203 horsepower.
So far, we’ve discovered the story behind the GS Camargue, its features and why it didn’t go into mass production.
Here is a recap of all that we’ve read:
- The Citroen GS Camargue was a concept car that was first introduced at the 1972 Geneva auto show with its design based on the 1970 Citroen.
- The car was the first collaboration between Gruppo Bertone and Citroen when the former heard that the latter was looking to produce futuristic-looking cars.
- The car featured 2+2 seating with three doors and a naturally aspirated flat-4 boxer engine that produced up to 55 horsepower with a top speed of 140km/h.
- The reason the car wasn’t produced is not known, but it is believed that it eventually became the Citroen BX due to their similar characteristics.
- However, the differences between the cars tell a different story as both vehicles have different engine capacities and designs.
While the GS Camargue’s horsepower was 55, the horsepower for the Citroen BX was between 62 horsepower to 203 horsepower. The Citroen became an instant hit as it became the favorite of many car aficionados across Europe and it performed well on the market. Check out one more vintage car, the Alfa Romeo 1970 Spider or Giulia!
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