The automobile you see right here is sort of presumably a very powerful car to ever come out of France. Pioneering a minimum of three main advances in automotive expertise, it could successfully set the stage for passenger vehicles of the longer term — persevering with to today.
It’s a 1955 Citroën Traction Avant, and its significance can’t be overstated.
Produced between 1934 and 1956, the Traction Avant was the flagship of the Citroën fleet. The design was penned by André Lefèbvre and Flaminio Bertoni. Setting a styling precedent, these two males would collaborate in future years on Citroën’s 2CV, the attractive DS, and the HY Van that may stay in manufacturing for 34 years.
There have been two- and four-door variations of the Traction Avant, together with convertibles and hatchbacks (one other Citroën innovation). Completely different physique lengths have been obtainable, and there was even a pickup truck variant. The Traction Avant may seat two as a roadster, or 9 as a big household sedan. Additionally marketed as a industrial car, its revolutionary hatchback supplied a versatile coated rear cargo space.
The size of the Traction Avant diverse a full 20 inches between fashions, the width by eight inches, and the peak by three inches (a few of these would clearly be known as “crossovers” at this time). Such flexibility was allowed as a result of the Traction Avant was a unibody design — the primary passenger car to be mass produced with such underpinnings.
With its typical eye on consolation, Citroën developed a revolutionary four-wheel unbiased suspension for the Traction Avant. At a time when many roads have been tough, permitting unbiased wheel motion vastly improved trip high quality. Different up to date automobiles had compromised rides due to strong axles entrance and rear. Citroën additionally used a Traction Avant as check rig for its subsequent revolution in consolation, the hydropneumatic suspension. Whereas the corporate carried out it for the ultimate two years of the Traction Avant (rear wheels solely), the brand new dampers would quickly grace all 4 corners of the 1955 DS.
A very powerful innovation of the Traction Avant was its namesake function. Translated into English, its identify is “Entrance-Wheel Drive.” Such a drive setup was solely carried out earlier than in limited-production luxurious automobiles just like the Twine.
Within the Traction Avant, the engine was mounted behind the entrance axle, making a mid-engine front-drive format. The engine’s placement made an enormous distinction in weight distribution, serving to the automobile deal with higher than different front-engine, front-drive automobiles. The lengthy hood additionally contained the transmission. Placing all drive elements on the entrance made physique modifications on the rear simpler.
All fashions had three-speed handbook transmissions with column shifter. The parking brake was situated on the sprint, and the one obstructions on the utterly flat flooring have been the pedals.
The results of all of this innovation? Although the mannequin bought nicely after introduction, improvement of the Traction Avant was extremely costly. Hovering prices pressured Citroën to declare chapter in 1934, the 12 months of the Traction Avant’s debut.
Tire producer Michelin picked up possession of Citroën as its largest creditor. Underneath the Michelin umbrella, between 1934 and 1976, the corporate used Citroën as a analysis facility for his or her new radial tires and different automotive applied sciences. However the precedents set by the Traction Avant remained, and would form the overwhelming majority of passenger vehicles proper into fashionable occasions.
Our topic at this time is a lovingly-restored instance that’s obtainable in Colorado through Craigslist. The vendor is asking $36,000, which appears affordable for the automobile that began nearly every part.
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[Images via seller]