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Citroën Traction Avant

Citroën Traction Avant

Overview
The Citroën Traction Avant (tʁaksjɔ̃ aˈvɑ̃) is an automobile
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 which was produced by the French manufacturer Citroën
Citroën
Citroën is a major French automobile manufacturer, part of the PSA Peugeot Citroën group.Founded in 1919 by French industrialist André-Gustave Citroën , Citroën was the first mass-production car company outside the USA and pioneered the modern concept of creating a sales and services network that...

 from 1934 to 1957. About 760,000 units were produced.

The Traction Avant, French for "front wheel drive", was design
Design
Design as a noun informally refers to a plan or convention for the construction of an object or a system while “to design” refers to making this plan...

ed by André Lefèbvre
André Lefèbvre
André Lefèbvre was a French automobile engineer.André, René Lefèbvre was born in Louvres, France . He began his career as an aviation engineer working to Gabriel Voisin Company...

 and Flaminio Bertoni
Flaminio Bertoni
Flaminio Bertoni was an automobile designer, responsible for some of the most radical reconceptualisations of automobiles ever. He worked in the years preceding World War II until his death in 1964...

 in late 1933 / early 1934. While not the first production front wheel drive car – Alvis
Alvis Cars
Alvis Car and Engineering Company Ltd was a British manufacturing company that existed in Coventry, England from 19191967. In addition to automobiles designed for the civilian market, the company also produced racing cars, aircraft engines, armoured cars and other armoured fighting vehicles, the...

 built the 1928 FWD in the UK, Cord produced the L29 from 1929 to 1932 in the United States and DKW
DKW
DKW is a historic German car and motorcycle marque. The name derives from Dampf-Kraft-Wagen .In 1916, the Danish engineer Jørgen Skafte Rasmussen founded a factory in Zschopau, Saxony, Germany, to produce steam fittings. In the same year, he attempted to produce a steam-driven car, called the DKW...

 the F1 in 1931 in Germany – it was the world's first front-wheel drive
Front-wheel drive
Front-wheel drive is a form of engine/transmission layout used in motor vehicles, where the engine drives the front wheels only. Most modern front-wheel drive vehicles feature a transverse engine, rather than the conventional longitudinal engine arrangement generally found in rear-wheel drive and...

 steel monocoque production car.
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Encyclopedia
The Citroën Traction Avant (tʁaksjɔ̃ aˈvɑ̃) is an automobile
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 which was produced by the French manufacturer Citroën
Citroën
Citroën is a major French automobile manufacturer, part of the PSA Peugeot Citroën group.Founded in 1919 by French industrialist André-Gustave Citroën , Citroën was the first mass-production car company outside the USA and pioneered the modern concept of creating a sales and services network that...

 from 1934 to 1957. About 760,000 units were produced.

Impact on the world


The Traction Avant, French for "front wheel drive", was design
Design
Design as a noun informally refers to a plan or convention for the construction of an object or a system while “to design” refers to making this plan...

ed by André Lefèbvre
André Lefèbvre
André Lefèbvre was a French automobile engineer.André, René Lefèbvre was born in Louvres, France . He began his career as an aviation engineer working to Gabriel Voisin Company...

 and Flaminio Bertoni
Flaminio Bertoni
Flaminio Bertoni was an automobile designer, responsible for some of the most radical reconceptualisations of automobiles ever. He worked in the years preceding World War II until his death in 1964...

 in late 1933 / early 1934. While not the first production front wheel drive car – Alvis
Alvis Cars
Alvis Car and Engineering Company Ltd was a British manufacturing company that existed in Coventry, England from 19191967. In addition to automobiles designed for the civilian market, the company also produced racing cars, aircraft engines, armoured cars and other armoured fighting vehicles, the...

 built the 1928 FWD in the UK, Cord produced the L29 from 1929 to 1932 in the United States and DKW
DKW
DKW is a historic German car and motorcycle marque. The name derives from Dampf-Kraft-Wagen .In 1916, the Danish engineer Jørgen Skafte Rasmussen founded a factory in Zschopau, Saxony, Germany, to produce steam fittings. In the same year, he attempted to produce a steam-driven car, called the DKW...

 the F1 in 1931 in Germany – it was the world's first front-wheel drive
Front-wheel drive
Front-wheel drive is a form of engine/transmission layout used in motor vehicles, where the engine drives the front wheels only. Most modern front-wheel drive vehicles feature a transverse engine, rather than the conventional longitudinal engine arrangement generally found in rear-wheel drive and...

 steel monocoque production car. Along with DKWs 1930s models, the Traction successfully pioneered front-wheel drive on the European mass car market.
The Traction Avant's structure was a welded
Welding
Welding is a fabrication or sculptural process that joins materials, usually metals or thermoplastics, by causing coalescence. This is often done by melting the workpieces and adding a filler material to form a pool of molten material that cools to become a strong joint, with pressure sometimes...

 monocoque
Monocoque
Monocoque is a construction technique that supports structural load by using an object's external skin, as opposed to using an internal frame or truss that is then covered with a non-load-bearing skin or coachwork...

(unitized body). Most other cars of the era were based on a separate frame
Chassis
A chassis consists of an internal framework that supports a man-made object. It is analogous to an animal's skeleton. An example of a chassis is the underpart of a motor vehicle, consisting of the frame with the wheels and machinery.- Vehicles :In the case of vehicles, the term chassis means the...

 (chassis) onto which the non-structural body ("coachwork
Coachwork
Coachwork is the body of a horse-drawn coach or carriage, a motor vehicle , a railroad car or railway carriage. Usually reserved for bodies built on a separate chassis, rather than being of unitary or monocoque construction...

") was built. Monocoque construction (also called Unit Body or "Unibody" in the US today) results in a lighter vehicle, and is now used for virtually all car construction, although body-on-frame
Body-on-frame
Body-on-frame is an automobile construction method. Mounting a separate body to a rigid frame that supports the drivetrain was the original method of building automobiles, and its use continues to this day. The original frames were made of wood , but steel ladder frames became common in the 1930s...

 construction remains suitable for larger vehicles such as truck
Truck
A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration, with the smallest being mechanically similar to an automobile...

s.

This method of construction was viewed with great suspicion in many quarters, with doubts about its strength. A type of crash test
Crash test
A crash test is a form of destructive testing usually performed in order to ensure safe design standards in crashworthiness and crash compatibility for various modes of transportation or related systems and components.- Types :...

 was conceived, taking the form of driving the car off a cliff, to illustrate its great inherent resilience.

The novel design made the car very low-slung relative to its contemporaries – the Traction Avant always possessed a unique look, which went from appearing rakish in 1934 to familiar and somewhat old fashioned by 1955.
The suspension was very advanced for the car's era. The front wheels were independently sprung
Independent suspension
Independent suspension is a broad term for any automobile suspension system that allows each wheel on the same axle to move vertically independently of each other. This is contrasted with a beam axle, live axle or deDion axle system in which the wheels are linked – movement on one side affects...

, using a torsion bar and wishbone
Control arm
thumb|right|300px|Double Wishbone SuspensionIn automotive suspension, an automobile's control arm or wishbone is a nearly flat and roughly triangular suspension member , that pivots in two places. The broad end of the triangle attaches at the frame and pivots on a bushing...

 suspension
Suspension (vehicle)
Suspension is the term given to the system of springs, shock absorbers and linkages that connects a vehicle to its wheels. Suspension systems serve a dual purpose — contributing to the car's roadholding/handling and braking for good active safety and driving pleasure, and keeping vehicle occupants...

 arrangement, where most contemporaries used live axle
Live axle
A live axle, sometimes called a solid axle, is a type of beam axle suspension system that uses the driveshafts that transmit power to the wheels to connect the wheels laterally so that they move together as a unit....

 and cart-type leaf spring
Leaf spring
Originally called laminated or carriage spring, a leaf spring is a simple form of spring, commonly used for the suspension in wheeled vehicles...

 designs. The rear suspension was a simple steel beam axle
Beam axle
A beam axle is a suspension system, also called a solid axle, in which one set of wheels is connected laterally by a single beam or shaft...

 and a Panhard rod
Panhard rod
A Panhard rod is a component of a car suspension system that provides lateral location of the axle...

, trailing arms and torsion bars attached to a 3 inches (76 mm) steel tube, which in turn was bolted to the monocoque.

Since it was considerably lighter than conventional designs of the era, it was capable of 100 km/h (62 mph), and consumed gasoline/petrol only at the rate of 10 L/100 km.

Variants


The original model, which was presented on 18 April 1934, was a small saloon with a 1303 cc engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

. This model was called the 7A, which was succeeded in June 1934 by the 7B with a higher-power engine of 1529 cc. The 7B in turn, was succeeded in October 1934 by the 7C with an even higher-output 1628 cc engine. Later models were the 11 (launched in November 1934), which had a 1911 cc four-cylinder engine, and the 15 (launched in 1938), with a 2867 cc six. The numbers refer to the French fiscal horsepower
Tax horsepower
The tax horsepower or taxable horsepower was an early system by which taxation rates for automobiles were reckoned in some European countries, such as Britain, Belgium, Germany, France, and Italy; some US states like Illinois charged license plate purchase and renewal fees for passenger...

 rating, or CV. The 11 was an 11 CV, but curiously the 15 was actually 16 CV. The 11 was built in two versions, the 11L ("légère", or "light"), which was the same size as the 7 CV, and the normal model 11, which had a longer wheelbase
Wheelbase
In both road and rail vehicles, the wheelbase is the distance between the centers of the front and rear wheels.- Road :In automobiles, the wheelbase is the horizontal distance between the center of the front wheel and the center of the rear wheel...

 and wider track
Axle track
The axle track in automobiles and other wheeled vehicles which have two or more wheels on an axle, is the distance between the centreline of two roadwheels on the same axle, each on the other side of the vehicle...

.


Citroën planned two variants that never entered production, since there was not enough funding available to develop them, except as running prototype vehicles. One was an automatic transmission
Automatic transmission
An automatic transmission is one type of motor vehicle transmission that can automatically change gear ratios as the vehicle moves, freeing the driver from having to shift gears manually...

-equipped model, based on the Sensaud de Lavaud
Sensaud de Lavaud
The Sensaud de Lavaud was a French automobile manufactured between 1926 and 1928. An unusual car, made in Paris by M. Dimitri Sensaud de Lavaud, a Brazilian, it had automatic transmission. The Alpax chassis was cast alloy, and it was powered by a steam-cooled 5475 cc six-cylinder engine of...

 automatic transmission, the other a 22 CV model with a 3.8 liter V8. The transmission (which was actually originally designed for the Citroen) was a "gearless" automatic
Automatic transmission
An automatic transmission is one type of motor vehicle transmission that can automatically change gear ratios as the vehicle moves, freeing the driver from having to shift gears manually...

, using the torque-converter alone to match engine revolutions to the drivetrain revolutions, much like the Dynaflow Transmission
Dynaflow
Dynaflow was the trademark name for a type of automatic transmission developed and built by General Motors' Buick Motor Division from the late 1940s to the mid 1963...

 introduced later in the USA. The car was supposed to have a less spartan interior than the other Traction Avants and it was to feature Citroën's own new V8 engine. About twenty prototypes were made, but when the project was canceled in 1935 due to Michelin
Michelin
Michelin is a tyre manufacturer based in Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne région of France. It is one of the two largest tyre manufacturers in the world along with Bridgestone. In addition to the Michelin brand, it also owns the BFGoodrich, Kleber, Riken, Kormoran and Uniroyal tyre brands...

's takeover; they were probably all destroyed.

In addition to the 4-door body, the car was also produced as a 2-door coupé
Coupé
A coupé or coupe is a closed car body style , the precise definition of which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and over time...

 with a rumble seat
Rumble seat
A rumble seat, dicky seat, dickie seat or dickey seat is an upholstered exterior seat which hinges or otherwise opens out from the rear deck of a pre-World War II automobile, and seats one or more passengers. An 1899 Century Dictionary describes a rumble as " A seat for servants in the rear of a...

, as a convertible
Convertible
A convertible is a type of automobile in which the roof can retract and fold away having windows which wind-down inside the doors, converting it from an enclosed to an open-air vehicle...

 and as an extended length Familial model with three rows of seats. There was even a hatchback
Hatchback
A Hatchback is a car body style incorporating a shared passenger and cargo volume, with rearmost accessibility via a rear third or fifth door, typically a top-hinged liftgate—and features such as fold-down rear seats to enable flexibility within the shared passenger/cargo volume. As a two-box...

-type Commerciale variant, in 1939, well ahead of its time, in which the tailgate was in two halves, the lower of which carried the spare wheel with the upper opening up to roof level. A one-piece top-hinged tailgate was introduced when the Commerciale resumed production in 1954 after being suspended during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

Wartime disruption


In September 1939 France declared war on Germany and in June 1940 the German army
German Army
The German Army is the land component of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. Following the disbanding of the Wehrmacht after World War II, it was re-established in 1955 as the Bundesheer, part of the newly formed West German Bundeswehr along with the Navy and the Air Force...

 rapidly invaded and occupied Northern France. The war years were characterised by a desperate shortage of raw materials for civilian industry and of petrol, but these factors were not apparent instantly. The Paris Motor Show scheduled for October 1939 was cancelled at short notice, but Citroën’s own planned announcements had involved the forthcoming 2CV
Citroën 2CV
The Citroën 2CV |tax horsepower]]”) was an economy car produced by the French automaker Citroën between 1948 and 1990. It was technologically advanced and innovative, but with uncompromisingly utilitarian unconventional looks, and deceptively simple Bauhaus inspired bodywork, that belied the sheer...

 model rather than any significant changes to the Traction. For the Traction, the last “normal” year in terms of production levels was 1939, and 8,120 of the 2910mm wheelbase 1628cc engined 7C models were produced. This tumbled to 1,133 in 1940, which was the first year when the plant suffered serious air-raid damage - on this occasion caused by a German attack - on 3 June 1940. Production of the cars was suspended in June 1941, by when a further 154 had been produced in the six month period just ended. The 7C would continue to appear in Citroën price-lists until March 1944, but production of this smaller engined “7CV
Tax horsepower
The tax horsepower or taxable horsepower was an early system by which taxation rates for automobiles were reckoned in some European countries, such as Britain, Belgium, Germany, France, and Italy; some US states like Illinois charged license plate purchase and renewal fees for passenger...

” version of the Traction was not resumed after the war. For the more powerful 1911cc engined 11 B-light models, the equivalent figures were 27,473 units produced in 1939, 4,415 in 1940 and 2,032 for 1941, though for this model production in 1941 ended only in November 1941 so the figure for that year represents 11 months of production.

In 1945 production restarted only slowly: the 11 B-light reappeared very little changed from the 1941 cars except that headlight surrounds were now painted rather than finished in chrome. By the end of December 1945 the year’s production had reached 1,525. Currency depreciation is evident from the car’s listed price which had been 26,800 francs in January 1940, and had risen to 110,670 francs in October 1945. In 1945 the car was the only model available from Citroën, and as another sign of the times, customers not able to supply their own tires were charged an additional 9,455 francs for a set of five. In May 1946, presumably reflecting an easing of the war-time tire shortage, the car could at last be purchased with tires at no extra cost, but by now the overall price of an 11 B-light had risen to 121,180 francs.

The 11 B-normal model, differentiated from the 11 B-light by its 3090mm wheelbase, experienced a similar drop off in volumes between 1939 and 1941, with just 341 cars produced during the first seven months of 1941. After the war, a single 11 B-normal was produced in 1946, in time to be presented at the October 1946 Paris Motor Show: production built up during 1947, but during the car’s ten year post-war period the shorter 11 B-light would, in France, continue to outsell the 11 B-normal.

Initially the French army
French Army
The French Army, officially the Armée de Terre , is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces.As of 2010, the army employs 123,100 regulars, 18,350 part-time reservists and 7,700 Legionnaires. All soldiers are professionals, following the suspension of conscription, voted in...

 lacked enthusiasm for the Citroën Traction, believing that it offered insufficient ground-clearance for their needs. Nevertheless, by September 1939 roughly 250 had found their way into military service. With losses of cars at the frontier mounting, Citroën supplied a further 570 to the army between February and May 1940, and subsequent deliveries probably took place before military defeat intervened. During the war many of the cars were reregistered with "WH..." (Wehrmacht Heer/Army command) license plates, having been requisitioned by the German Army
German Army
The German Army is the land component of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. Following the disbanding of the Wehrmacht after World War II, it was re-established in 1955 as the Bundesheer, part of the newly formed West German Bundeswehr along with the Navy and the Air Force...

. These gave reliable service both in France and further afield, notably in Libya
Western Desert Campaign
The Western Desert Campaign, also known as the Desert War, was the initial stage of the North African Campaign during the Second World War. The campaign was heavily influenced by the availability of supplies and transport. The ability of the Allied forces, operating from besieged Malta, to...

 and Stalingrad
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in southwestern Russia. The battle took place between 23 August 1942 and 2 February 1943...

. Tractions were also favoured by the Resistance
French Forces of the Interior
The French Forces of the Interior refers to French resistance fighters in the later stages of World War II. Charles de Gaulle used it as a formal name for the resistance fighters. The change in designation of these groups to FFI occurred as France's status changed from that of an occupied nation...

, and as occupation gave way to Liberation they turned up all over France with FFI
French Forces of the Interior
The French Forces of the Interior refers to French resistance fighters in the later stages of World War II. Charles de Gaulle used it as a formal name for the resistance fighters. The change in designation of these groups to FFI occurred as France's status changed from that of an occupied nation...

 inscribed proudly on their doors. Less gloriously, the cars were known as favourites among gangsters such a the then infamous Pierrot le Fou
Pierre Loutrel
Pierre Loutrel , better known by his nickname of "Pierrot le fou" was France's first "public enemy number one" and one of the leaders of the Gang des tractions.-Life:...

, and his Traction gang
Gang des Tractions Avant
In France, the Gang des Tractions Avant was a criminal gang in the Pigalle quarter of Paris, made up of surviving members of the Carlingue militia, lapsed police officers and criminals from the French Resistance...

.

UK built cars


Left-hand drive versions were built in Paris, in Forest
Forest, Belgium
Forest or Vorst is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium.The town is commonly known for its concert hall...

, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, in Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 for the Scandinavian market, and right-hand drive cars in Slough
Slough
Slough is a borough and unitary authority within the ceremonial county of Royal Berkshire, England. The town straddles the A4 Bath Road and the Great Western Main Line, west of central London...

, England. The Slough version of the 11L was called the Light Fifteen and the long wheelbase 11 was called the Big Fifteen. This confusing terminology referred to the British fiscal tax rating of the time, which was higher than the French, so the 11CV engine was 15HP in England. The 15CV model was called "Big Six" in reference to its 6-cylinder engine.  They were equipped with the leather seats and wooden dashboard
Dashboard
A dashboard is a control panel placed in front of the driver of an automobile, housing instrumentation and controls for operation of the vehicle....

s popular in the UK, had a 12-volt electrical system and were distinguished by a different radiator grille and different bumpers. Some models also had a sliding sunroof
Sunroof
An automotive sunroof is a fixed or operable opening in an automobile roof which allows light and/or fresh air to enter the passenger compartment. Sunroofs may be manually operated or motor driven, and are available in many shapes, sizes and styles...

.

A 1911 cc Light Fifteen tested by the British magazine The Motor
The Motor (magazine)
The Motor was a British weekly car magazine founded on 28 January 1903....

in 1951 had a top speed of 72.6 mph (116.8 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–60 mph (96.6 km/h) in 29.7 seconds. A fuel consumption of 25.2 mpgimp was recorded. The test car cost including taxes.

A 2866 cc six-cylinder model was tested by the same magazine in 1954 and for this car the top speed found was 81.1 mph (130.5 km/h), acceleration from 0–60 mph (96.6 km/h) 21.2 seconds and fuel consumption 18.6 mpgimp. The test car cost including taxes.

Engineering



The Traction Avant used a longitudinal, front-wheel drive layout
MF layout
In automotive design, a MF, or Mid-engine, Front-wheel drive layout is one in which the front road wheels are driven by an internal-combustion engine placed just behind them, in front of the passenger compartment. In contrast to the Front-engine, front-wheel drive layout , the center of mass of...

, with the engine set well within the wheelbase, resulting in a very favourable weight distribution, aiding the car's advanced handling
Car handling
Automobile handling and vehicle handling are descriptions of the way wheeled vehicles perform transverse to their direction of motion, particularly during cornering and swerving. It also includes their stability when moving at rest. Handling and braking are the major components of a vehicle's...

 characteristics. The gearbox was placed at the front of the vehicle with the engine behind it and the differential between them, a layout shared with the later Renault 4
Renault 4
The Renault 4, also known as the 4L , is a hatchback economy car produced by the French automaker Renault between 1961 and 1992. It was the first front-wheel drive family car produced by Renault....

 and first generation Renault 5
Renault 5
The Renault 5 was first unveiled on 10 December 1971, being launched at the beginning of 1972.The Renault 5 was styled by Michel Boué, who died before the car's release, the R5 featured a steeply sloping rear hatchback and front dashboard...

 but the opposite way round to many longitudinal front-wheel drive cars, such as the Saab 96
Saab 96
For the modern car, see Saab 9-6The Saab 96 is an automobile made by Saab. It was introduced in 1960 and was produced until January 1980, a run of 20 years. Like the 93 it replaced, the 96 was a development from the old Saab 92 chassis and, on account of its improvements and modernisation, it...

 and Renault 18
Renault 18
The Renault 18 is a large family car produced by French manufacturer Renault between 1978 and 1993 .-Development:...

 range and most Audi
Audi
Audi AG is a German automobile manufacturer, from supermini to crossover SUVs in various body styles and price ranges that are marketed under the Audi brand , positioned as the premium brand within the Volkswagen Group....

 models. The gear change was set in the dashboard, with the lever protruding through a vertical, H-shaped gate. Because this vertical orientation could have resulted in the car dropping out of gear when the lever was in the upper positions (i.e., second or reverse gears), the gear shift mechanism was locked when the mechanical clutch was engaged and released when the clutch pedal was depressed. The result of this layout, along with pendant pedals, umbrella-type handbrake control and front bench seats, was a very spacious interior, with a flat and unobstructed floor. The low-slung arrangement also eliminated the need for running boards to step into or out of the vehicle. These features made them ideal for use as limousines and taxi cabs, and they were quite popular among drivers and passengers alike. Until 1953, black was the only color choice.

Impact on Citroën



The development costs of the Traction Avant, combined with the redevelopment of its factory, were very high and Citroën declared bankruptcy in late 1934. The largest creditor was Michelin
Michelin
Michelin is a tyre manufacturer based in Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne région of France. It is one of the two largest tyre manufacturers in the world along with Bridgestone. In addition to the Michelin brand, it also owns the BFGoodrich, Kleber, Riken, Kormoran and Uniroyal tyre brands...

, who then owned Citroën from 1934 until 1976. Under Michelin, Citroën was run as a research laboratory, a test bed for their radial tire
Radial tire
A radial tire is a particular design of automotive tire . In this design, the cord plies are arranged at 90 degrees to the direction of travel, or radially ....

s and new automotive technologies.

In 1954 Citroën's experiments with hydropneumatic technology produced its first result, the "15H" – a variant of the 6-cylinder model 15 with a self-leveling
Self-levelling suspension
Self-levelling refers to an automobile suspension system that maintains a constant ride height of the vehicle above the road, regardless of load....

, height-adjustable
Height adjustable suspension
Height adjustable suspension is a feature of certain automobile suspension systems that allow the motorist to vary the ride height or ground clearance. This can be done for various reasons including giving better ground clearance over rough terrain, a lower ground clearance to improve fuel economy...

 rear suspension, a field trial for the revolutionary DS
Citroën DS
The Citroën DS is an executive car produced by the French manufacturer Citroën between 1955 and 1975. Styled by Italian sculptor and industrial designer Flaminio Bertoni and the French aeronautical engineer André Lefèbvre, the DS was known for its aerodynamic futuristic body design and innovative...

 released the following year.

Directly after the introduction of the Citroën ID, a simplified and more competitively priced version of the still revolutionary DS, production of the Traction Avant ended in July 1957. Over 23 years, 759,111 had been built, including 26,400 assembled in Slough in England, 31,750 assembled in Forest near Brussels and 1,823 assembled at Cologne in Germany. The total reflects the production stoppage during World War II.

The Traction Avant today



In 2006, the oldest surviving 7A has production number ("coque nr") AZ 00-18, and is displayed in partly dismantled shape (engine and front wheels detached) in the Citroën Museum in Paris. The oldest running 7A is probably number AZ-00-23, which was, until 1 September 2006, in possession of a Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 owner and is now with a Slovenian owner.

Traction Avants are fairly robust vehicles even by modern standards. Every few years, Traction Avant enthusiasts ship their vehicles to an exotic location for a rally. In 2002, for example, a group of over 30 Traction Avants drove from Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 to New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

without incident. http://www.lincoln-highway-museum.org/3000-News/Tracbar.html

External links