Rare Charity Donation: 1975 Citroen GS Pallas

Although it remains one of my favorite pages on eBay, it’s still sometimes difficult to look at what turns up on the web store, Just Donated in Orange, California. In this case, it’s a 1975 Citroen GA Pallas, a running, driving specimen with no major flaws that appears to have owned by an enthusiast, and still wears its European license plates. This is a highly unusual find stateside, as this model was never officially sold in the United States. Factor in that it appears to be in lovely condition with no major body damage or mechanical faults – not to mention, nice paint – and it becomes even more of a head-scratcher as to how it ended up here. Find the Citroen here on eBay with bids approaching $4K and no reserve.

So, take note of the license plate frame: “My other car is also weird.” I mention this because you can basically throw out the logic that this was a grey market import found in a dusty garage and not wanted by the previous owner’s heirs. This had to have been owned by an enthusiast who happily acknowledged his or her love of oddball cars. Why, then, was this Citroen given to a local charity? I have no doubt that it will end up in the hands of a French car enthusiast once the auction is over (thankfully), but I think there is little doubt it would have found a loving home within about an hour of being listed on craigslist.

It’s in lovely condition, too, with the driver’s seat really the only major flaw, aside from some tearing of the fabric on the passenger door. The Citroen GS slotted in between the upmarket DS and the entry level 2CV. The Pallas trim was the top of the line offering for a GS, which featured an unusual air-cooled flat four under the hood, and paired to a manual gearbox with front wheel drive. While not overly powerful, the slippery shape – a Citroen hallmark – enabled it to make the most of its meager output, cutting through the wind at a far more efficient level than other models. The development for a U.S.-market car got quite far before the plug was pulled, all the way to the point of developing DOT-friendly sealed beam headlights.

The GS has one of the wonkiest gauge clusters you’ve ever seen, including a “rotating drum” speedometer, which has got to be great fun to spin up, even if you’re going quite slowly. The car remains in excellent shape inside and out, with only some broken plastic trim and a missing piece of chrome rub strip on the rear door on the driver’s side (the chrome trim protective strips along the sides was part of the upmarket Pallas trim, along with full hubcaps). This one makes little sense to me in terms of how it ended up here, but I hope it finds a good home soon as it’s too nice to linger in the donation lot any longer. What do you suppose the explanation is?

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  1. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Oh man, nice find, Jeff! That’s painfully cool.

    Like 8
  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    I wonder how it ever got California plates?

    Like 1
    • tom h

      1975 and older dont have to be smogged here in CA

      Like 3
  3. James in Australia

    I don’t know that others view a charity auction as a means of disposing of rubbish – maybe they want to do something selfless and….donate

    Like 7
  4. Dickie F.

    Of all of my 70 odd cars i had owned, this one was my weirdest. It was a kinda low performer, took the teenage boys across country ending up with very pleasant camping experiences.

    My most unusual, but common memory, was the Sunday night visits to the local indoor ice rink. On the way home the social gang was guaranteed to fall asleep during the 30 minute drive home, most likely due to the soothing ride of that hydraulic suspension.
    Oh, the joys of youth.

    All before we discovered the Golf Gti….

    Like 6
  5. Paul

    One of my all time favorite cars. I wish I could buy this one.

    Like 1
  6. steve

    Aren’t French cars required to have a faculty parking sticker for an Ivy League school on the window?
    You’d need the sweater vest, dark rimmed eye glasses and a pipe to be seen driving one….

    Like 2
    • Tubdriver

      Chapman College (now University) thinks they fit that bill… right down the street.

    • Sam61

      It could have been owned by a Northern Californian who sold his pot farm, but doesn’t believe in capitalism.

      I think I this car listed on Hemmings recently. I relish quirky cars.

      Like 1
  7. chrlsful

    looks a lill like the chebby citation of the era…

  8. t-bone BOB

    Item location:
    Orange, California

    Like 1
  9. Ralph

    This had to have been owned by an enthusiast who happily acknowledged his or her love of oddball cars. Why, then, was this Citroen given to a local charity?

    Because the “enthusiast” is now driving a casket or an urn and the family has no time or inclination to sell this on their own.

    Next question…..

    Like 4
  10. Beyfon

    Hmmm – quite nice GS, but the comment about “no major body damage” makes me believe we have a different perspective on what’s major – did you notice the badly dented roof?
    I wonder if the “brakes may need service” is related to the fact that the hand brake handle is completely pulled apart?

    These are really fun cars, but they are also among the worst cars ever to work on. I still have nightmares about the lack of access to every single thing that needed attention. Only for the diehards!

    Like 2
  11. Keefer Zeller

    Why does it look like the headlights are smashed?

    • SubGothius

      Not that I’m seeing, though the reflector and lens optics could maybe lend that impression at a glance from certain angles.

  12. local_sheriff

    While the DS was destined for a Wankel but never got it, the GS was sold in ’73 in a very limited number with the Wankel called GS Birotor.

    As it was such an unsuccessful and unprofitable version Citroën (remember the company went bankrupt ’74) tried to buy back the Birotors so they didn’t need to stock Wankel-specific replacement parts, consequently very few are around today

    Like 2
    • Tim

      The ds was designed for a flat six, not an wankel.
      First production wankel 1964, first ds 1955

  13. Quidditas

    In 1980 it was a toss up between an Alfasud or a Citroen GS x2, the sporty version, as my first new car. The Citroen had not only the most fabulous ride and handled pretty well too. The X2 was the most powerful version of the air-cooled flat four and would do the magic ton on straight road with a slight downhill.

    But the Alfasud had a better, bigger and much more powerful motor and while it is steel sprung and not hydropneumatic, it still has a fine ride and the handling is sublime and does not need a slight downhill to reach the magic ton. So the Alfasud won out and I still have it. It is undergoing a restoration needing just the interior to be spruced up and the dash board to be fixed.

    I remember thinking at the time that the Citroen could have done with the Alfa’s motor.

    If I lived in the USA I would not think twice about bidding on it.

  14. Willowen Member

    My father-in-law bought one in France and shipped it home to California, as he had done with several cars over the years. He was massively annoyed when he couldn’t just go to the DMV with it this time. Enlisted the help of a shady (but cheap!!) “Federalizer” who claimed to have gotten it passable (but wanted a lot more money to do that part, which he knew Dad would balk at). The new VIN was a strip of metal with numbers very bay hand-stamped on it. When he died about ten years later his son inherited it, and wound up eventually selling it to a guy in Oregon, after it had sat in MY garage for a long time.

    Like 1
    • Doyler

      Was it green? Saw a green one for sale on Oregon craigslist fairly recently.

  15. Doyler

    If I don’t buy this one, I’ll never get another chance like this one, will I?

    Like 1
  16. MitchRoss Member

    I buy quite a few charity cars to resell, Ford Panthers mostly . Most seem to be cars that belonged to deceased people with kids that just want them gone and donate them. Sad really and I hope my kids, who likely are similarly inclined will find AMC and Long Wheelbase Crown Victoria enthusiasts to take my cars.

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