Citroen Traction Avant At The Rallye Monte Carlo Historique

One of the more surprising cars that I saw at the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique was a Citroen Traction Avant.  Claude and Chantal entered this 1953 Citroen 11BL Traction Avant in the rally.  The Citroen Traction Avant is one of the more iconic French cars, but is not a car that I typically associate with car rallying.


1953 Citroen 11BL Traction Avant

The Citroen Traction Avant was in production from 1934 to 1957 with over 750,000 cars being built.  In 1934 the Traction Avant was a far ahead of its time.  Its main feature was the front wheel drive.  The car also had a unit body/chassis design that was unusual at the time.  All of these features allowed the car to be set rather low compared to other designs of that era.  This design and the problems of getting the car into production were so problematic that Citroen went bankrupt in December 1934.  Tire manufacturer Michelin, paid off the company’s debts and became owner of the Citroen company at that time.


The Traction Avant Had A Low Slung Design Although This Particular Rally Car Sits A Little Higher Than Typical Traction Avants

The car’s suspension was also very advanced at that time. The front wheels were independently sprung, using a torsion bar and wishbone suspension arrangement.  The rear suspension was a simple steel beam axle and a Panhard rod, trailing arms and torsion bars.

This model, the Citroen 11BL, had a 1,911cc four-cylinder engine that produced 56 horsepower.  The transmission was a three-speed manual transmission with the shifter mounted on the dash.  These cars were relatively light for the time, but they had only modest performance.


If You Look Carefully Through The Grille, The Transmission Is Visible

The engine was mounted behind the front axle, while the transmission was mounted in front of the axle.


The Car Attracted Lots Interest At the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique

If you have any comments or questions about the Traction Avant or this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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