citroen gsa

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GS/GSA based hillclimbers

Underneath a photo of a GSA based hillclimbing trike. This trike is owned by Bob Blackman, who lives in the UK. The trike is called "kermit". The photo is taken at a speed hilll climb near St Austell in Cornwall when the trike was supercharged and at his prime. From 5 metres way the blast on my shoulders from those stub exhausts was like somebody thumping me.

GS/GSA based hillclimber

Bob acquired Kermit two years ago with three GSA engines and two gearboxes. He was very tired and he bought him from somebody who was going to fit a C-matic box for his paraplegic wife to go hillclimbing in but that project never came to anything.

Bob has tracked down the original owner and constructor who lives not far from St Austell. His name is Phil Williams so Kermit is a Williams Kermit!

Kermit is essentially a GS front subframe attached to a small triangular frame which carried two Mini rear swing arms, complete with wheels, for the rear suspension. The front suspension uses the spheres but these were pressurised by a hand pump, not an engine driven one, to suit the prevailing conditions. After doing a 180 degree spin on his drive, Phil disconnected the rear brake. He used to race sidecars using Hillman Imp engines and used a Hillman Imp brake master cylinder without any apparent problems despite the incompatablity of fluids and seals. Nevertheless, I have fitted a 2CV master cylinder and am converting the Mini rear brake to use a 2CV wheel cylinder.

Phil is only 5 foot 4 inches tall whereas Bob is 6 foot 1. Consequently, he has lengthened Kermit by 20cm so that he can fit. He has also converted the rear suspension to a single swing arm. Phil said that Kermit never handled very well with two rear wheels so close together and the increased wheelbase from my lengthening exercise should make him a bit more stable, too. He had many adventures with his creation but has miraculously survived to tell the tales. He also broke many class records and frequently took fastest time of day running against conventional sidecars and the occasional Mini powered trike.

Phil built a second example using many of the lessons learnt from racing Kermit. This was called Luigi because it had an Alfasud engine and gearbox but still using a GS subframe and suspension. A single rear wheel was used and the swing arm is supported by a single susspension sphere pressurised by phil's special hand pump. Unfortunately, the Alfa engine was nowhere near as durable as the GS engine and Luigi currently has a very tired GS motor. Bob haven't had Luigi long but he came with a purpose built trailer. Kermit had two Mini rear suspension arms and two rear wheels originally but Luigi had just one very fat racing sidecar wheel on a home made swing arm with a suspension sphere providing the springing and damping. Both feature GSA suspension presurised by a hand operated engine pump that fits a Schraedrer valve on the hydraulics to enable a degree of suspension tuning.

The plan is to get Kermit to run using a standard GSA engine and then Bob would like to hillclimb with him. As you can see from the photo, he was originally supercharged and the trike is supposed to be like that again one day. There is an outside chance he might find his way onto the road, too. Bob is a member of the Citroen Specials Club and another member saw a photo of Kermit and was sufficiently inspired to build a similar device for the road. This is much longer and looks sleeker.

GS engines are popular engines in Lomaxes and Falcons. There is also another GSA powered trike called Tarkus and there was another special, possibly mid engined, somewhere in the midlands used for grass track racing.

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© W.M.Kemmink

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