Citroen Traction Avant 11CV
Citroen Traction Avant 11CV Citroen Traction Avant 11CV
The feeling is fantastic. I have not yet driven a car of that age, which is just as well-controlled. An archaic body, a dashboard, a driver’s toolkit absolutely do not fit with this behavior. But this “Citroen” is 60 years old, the model is almost eighty at all!
The last "Traction Avan" (fr. Traction avant - front-wheel drive; also abbreviated as TA) was rolled off the assembly line on July 25, 1957. It was a very important, partly even revolutionary year for France. The Cabinet of Ministers of the country, having already lost several colonies, mired in the war in Algeria, again, after a three-year absence on the political scene, was headed by Charles de Gaulle. A change awaited the country, and the avant-garde Citroen-DS (ZR, 2010, No. 11) became one of their symbols. Next to it, a car of the previous generation looked like a dinosaur. But the dandy of a new time has inherited a lot from the veteran. There was a rich inheritance.
During the youth of Citroen, metal was metal, but plastic was plastic
During the youth of Citroen, metal was metal, but plastic was plastic. During the youth of Citroen, metal was metal, but plastic was plastic.
Andre Citroen, like all the great ones, was a little crazy. Grandiose expensive raids in Africa and Asia, plans for laying roads and creating infrastructure on the Black Continent. And in addition - a revolutionary car. Designer Andre Lefebvre and designer Flaminio Bertoni were involved in this project. Of course, the Citroen was not the first front-wheel drive car; German DKV and the American Kord already existed. But the French undertook to combine speed, capacity, reliability with an acceptable price for the middle class.
Those who met the Citroen 7CV in 1934 had much to be surprised. Front-wheel drive - gearbox and differential in front of the engine, the gear lever sticks out funny from the dashboard. Pendants are independent, on longitudinal torsion bars. The wide car looked squat, as if grabbed onto the road with four wheels. The floor in the cabin is flat, and the rear space is such that many owners of noticeably larger cars will envy. True, the trunk is very miserable.
The notorious readability of these devices is no worse than other modern ones
The notorious readability of these devices is no worse than other modern ones. The notorious readability of these devices is no worse than other modern ones.
A lot of money was poured into the design and refinement. And the cartridge, Andre Citroen, also insisted on fine-tuning the automatic transmission. They also prepared version 22CV - with a V8 engine. Neither one was mastered, the company, which was on the verge of bankruptcy, changed its owner, but the car appeared. In June 1934, the most democratic version of the 7CV was introduced, and six months later, a modification of the 11CV with a 46-horsepower two-liter engine. It was she who was destined to become the most massive.
Landing behind the wheel is much more spacious and comfortable than even in many much later cars. Behind, in general, one can get one foot on one foot. But this "eleventh" of 1951 is not long-base (there were such too). The salon was created in the spirit of the automotive philosophy of the 1930s: nothing more! Neither the clumsy decor, nor the trinkets with which designers often try to pass off the car as richer and more solid than it actually is. If the lever glistens, be so kind as to believe that it is really chromed metal, not plastic covered with chocolate foil. That's why all this, in general, is not rich decoration looks solid and solid.
The back is not just spacious, but amazingly spacious
The back is not just spacious, but amazingly spacious! The back is not just spacious, but amazingly spacious!
The starter cranked the engine slowly but surely. A well-heated two-liter unit at idle works quietly and evenly. Contrary to the first glance, wielding a "poker" defiantly sticking out of the instrument panel is not difficult. The main thing is not to rush and get into the very corners of the slot from which the handle comes out. Shifts are not heavy - the second and third speeds are synchronized. The most significant drawback of the control box - when the third lever is turned on, it tries to rest against the driver’s knee.
In general, the French ergonomics of that time is a separate song. I turn on the headlights by turning the knob on the puny lever that is to the right under the steering wheel. To give a sound signal, you need to press the same lever (having slightly modified, the circuit has survived to this day). And the turn signal flag is on the left of the dashboard.
Absolutely flat floor in the cabin and today not all front-wheel drive cars can be proud of
Absolutely flat floor in the cabin and today not all front-wheel drive cars can be proud of. Absolutely flat floor in the cabin and today not all front-wheel drive cars can be proud of.
Of course, with a 56-horsepower engine (post-war version) acceleration in the car is not up-to-date. But the handling is excellent. A wide track, a low center of gravity, an engine in the base (behind the front wheels), independent suspensions and, of course, front-wheel drive do their job. Citroën doesn’t “look for” the way, does not try to arbitrarily change the trajectory, like many “classical” peers, even thoroughbreds. I am driving around the city, relaxedly holding the steering wheel and discussing with the interlocutor the intricacies of automotive engineering.
Brakes are also not satisfactory, at least at reasonable speeds. Pendants provide not only good handling, but also comfort. However, the pits with sharp edges clearly do not like - an elderly car responds to them with rattling. Well, what kind of car does it like pits?
Control of light and sound signal - in French, on the lever under the steering wheel
Control of light and sound signal - in French, on the lever under the steering wheel. Control of light and sound signal - in French, on the lever under the steering wheel.
FROM THE REPUBLIC TO THE REPUBLIC
Here is such an amazing car presented in the almost mythical now 1934. The time was turbulent, noisy, dramatic. Alarming news was already coming from Germany, although almost no one took the screamer with a mustache seriously. In France, three governments were replaced during the year, with the Daladier’s cabinet only managing a week. In February, about four and a half million people took part in the general strike, 150 thousand took part in a demonstration in Paris. In October, in Marseilles, a terrorist killed King of Yugoslavia Alexander and Foreign Minister Louis Bartoux. A lot for one year, right?
But Parisian cafes and ballrooms were not empty. In tobacco smoke and wine vapors, couples circled in tango. And the streets gradually conquered new Citroens.
Windshield wipers are a sign of a solid, comfortable car
Windshield wipers are a sign of a solid, comfortable car. Windshield wipers are a sign of a solid, comfortable car.
The agile, well-driven Traction Awan is sometimes called the gangster car. But with the same success, it can be called a police car: over time, they also moved to the Citroens. And later - and taxi drivers, as well as everyone who appreciated good cars and could pay for them.
Citroën also became a war machine. During the occupation, the assembly of cars did not stop: in 1940 they released about 4, 500, in 1941 - a little over 2, 000 "elevenths". At times, “resistance” fighters rode the “traction”, but the Wehrmacht did not shun French cars.
Then there was the liberation of Paris, the end of the war, the persecution of collaborators. Gradually, life changed, there was a feeling that the third world seems to be gone. The world was reading out new books, instead of tango dancing rock and roll, falling in love with Marina Vladi and Brigitte Bardot, buying cars. Of course, the pre-war Citroens looked already quite old-fashioned, but they didn’t begin to drive worse. Moreover, the engine power of the 11CV model was brought to 60 hp, and the maximum speed was up to 125 km / h, which was quite impressive at that time.
The shift lever looks intimidating, but it’s more convenient to use than you might expect. Above it is a handle that lifts the windshield for ventilation
The shift lever looks intimidating, but it’s more convenient to use than you might expect. Above it is a handle that lifts the windshield for ventilation. The shift lever looks intimidating, but it’s more convenient to use than you might expect. Above it is a handle that lifts the windshield for ventilation.
But July 1957, when the last "Traction Avan" rolled off the assembly line, it nevertheless arrived. The world was already delighted with the Citroen-DS19 introduced in 1956. This futuristic dandy borrowed a general concept from the veteran and a two-liter engine, albeit a modernized one. Yes, and the famous hydropneumatic suspension was run-in on serial "traction" - six-cylinder 15six from 1954-1955.
Yet TA was the last of its kind. Well, now such cars - real ones, without unnecessary embellishments and frills, modest in appearance, but honest and conscientious - even look as unusual as a couple dancing in a tango cafe.
ERA TRACTION AVANT
Citroen-11CV was introduced in the fall of 1934 following the 7CV version (1.3 liters, 32 hp, then 1.6 liters, 35 or 36 hp). Two-liter engines with a capacity of 46-60 hp were installed on model 11 cars. and a three-speed gearbox. They also released a version of the 15six with the “six” of 2.9 liters (77 hp).
Citroens-TA were made in many modifications, with three base options (2910, 3090 and 3270 mm), sedan, coupe, convertible bodies. Extended cars were also produced in a commercial version, with a rising rear wall of the body (an analogue of modern station wagons). In addition to France, cars were assembled in Germany, Belgium, Denmark and, with right-hand drive, in the UK. Until 1957, 759 123 copies of the Citroen-TA were built. Their lion's share, 620, 455 cars, are 11CV models.