Citroen Traction Avant

Arguably the Citroen Traction Avant is one of the most influential cars ever built. Mixing technical innovation with modern dynamics, it effectively set the template for all modern family cars.

First produced in 1934, it has an all steel monocoque body shell, front wheel drive, independent torsion bar suspension, hydraulic brakes and “sleeved” pistons. In many respects the design was not technologically superceded by other vehicles until the late 1950’s

Manufactured initially in Paris, but also in Belgium, Cologne and even in Slough England, where manufacturing continued until 1957! Yes, some of the Tractions seen on the road are as British as the modern Toyotas, Hondas and Nissans currently produced in the UK, potentially even more so, since to avoid import duty on parts and components, Citroen had to demonstrate that at least 50% of the car was sourced in the UK. Inevitably, vehicles produced in different locations incorporated components sourced locally e.g door handles, lights etc as well as finishes aimed at the market in which they were intended to be sold. In British produced cars this is reflected in use of wooden dashboards, leather upholstery etc whereas the French models had far more utilitarian finishes.

Further nuances are that continental built cars, not surprisingly, are identified in horsepower calculated in metric terms for tax purposes (CV) whereas the English equivalent uses imperial tax measure.

A synopsis of Traction Avant models and body variants is set out below;

Produced

French

English

Body Styles

1934-41

7CV A-C

Originally 1303cc rising to 1628cc

Light 12

Small boot Saloon (Initially boot only accessed from interior)

Also; Roadster (Cabriolet) & Coupe versions

1934-57

11CV Legere

Light 15

Small boot Saloon

4 Cyl 1911cc

Also; Roadster (Cabriolet) & Coupe versions

11 CV Normale

Big 15

Larger body Shell than Light 15

4 Cyl 1911cc

Also; Roadster (Cabriolet) & Coupe versions

1952-57

11CV Legere

Light 15

Big Boot version available

11 CV Normale

Big 15

Big Boot version available

1934-40

11CV Limousine

Long Wheelbase 5-6 seater Saloon

1934-40

1953–57

11CV Familiale

Long Wheelbase 7-9 seater Saloon

1937–41

1954-57

11CV Commerciale

Long Wheelbase Saloon with rear tailgate

1939-56

15 CV

6 Cyl 2867cc

15/6

Small & after 1952 Big Boot Saloon

1939–40

1953- 55

15 CV Familiale

6 Cyl 2867cc

1954-1957

15H 6Cyl

Hydraulic suspension added

 ???

 

22 CV

If offered one don’t buy it, it was never made!!