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Lot 518: Citroen Traction Avant Saloon

Grand Palais Sale, Bonhams (7 February 2013)

A curious mixture of romantic visionary and practical businessman, Andrť CitroŽn was determined that economic depression and a contracting car market would not prevent him introducing a revolutionary new model, which he was convinced would ensure the future of his company. It did just that, but not until after CitroŽn had lost control of his empire when a minor creditor commenced legal proceedings against him. Within two years, new owner Michelin had paid off all of CitroŽn's debts. CitroŽn's brainchild, the 7C 'Traction Avant', broke new ground in almost every aspect of production car engineering on its launch in 1934. Unitary construction of the body/chassis, front wheel drive, all-independent suspension sprung by torsion bars, hydraulic brakes, synchromesh transmission and a four-cylinder, overhead-valve, wet-liner engine were all incorporated in the new car at a time when the majority of its rivals employed a separate chassis, cart springs, sidevalve engines and mechanical brakes. This ground-breaking specification would have counted for little had the result not worked in practice, but the Traction soon gained a well deserved reputation for exceptional stability and exemplary handling that endures to this day. The 1.3-litre original was soon superseded by larger-engined versions, the 1.9-litre 11 LegŤre model being known in Britain from 1938 as the 'Light Fifteen'. Production resumed after WW2 and lasted until 1957, when the Traction Avant was replaced by the equally revolutionary DS. In keeping with Mr. Brown's general interest in design and an affinity with things French, it is not surprising to see a Traction Avant in his collection, for all of the reasons mentioned above. He acquired this car at an auction at the Silverstone Historic festival in the late 1990s. At the time, the car had received a freshening with new paint and fabric interior. Over the course of the last fifteen years, these have both aged a little in condition, but still present rather well. A tidy example of this icon of French design.

Lot Details
Auction Grand Palais Sale
Bonhams, Paris, France
TypeCar
Lot Number518
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price€8000
Hammer Price (inc premium)€9200
Year1953
Condition rating2
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number691366
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors