In April 1934 Citroën unveiled the 7A, a car that would go on to make motoring history with a series of revolutionary innovations. The so-called Traction Avant provided the basis for a wide family of models that remained in production until 1957.
The most prominent feature was the front-wheel-drive (or Traction Avant in French), which set new standards for handling and road holding characteristics.
Another major innovation was the all steel monocoque body, which united into a single unit the frame and body panels, a solution that would become the industry standard over the years.
All this, combined with a low center of gravity and honed aerodynamics, made the Traction Avant stand out as a vehicle truly ahead of its times.
The most important men behind the Traction Avant were engineer André Lefèbvre, who proposed and developed the front-drive layout; designer Flaminio Bertoni, who in the next years would design iconic cars such as the 2CV and the DS; and Edward G. Budd, founder of the Philadelphia-based Budd Company, which developed the unibody construction technology.
The Traction Avant was also the first car design to be created by sculpting rather than based on traditional drawings: it is said that the final design was based on a 1:5 clay scale model sculpted by Bertoni in just one night.
To pay homage to this milestone in automotive history Citroën has now announced the series of celebrating events.
Starting off the year’s celebrations, the Paris based Retromobile show in February featured two Traction Avant 11 Familiale models, dated 1937 and 1957, which were exhibited by La Traction Universelle club, which has more than 1,400 members worldwide.
Then from March to June, a unique Traction Avant is being displayed in the My Citroën Adventure exhibition at the C_42 showcase on the Champs-Elysées in Paris.
The 1955 Traction Avant Sans Frontières 11BL belongs to the Traction Sans Frontières association, which travels the world taking part in vintage vehicle rallies and events.
- Autodrome Heritage Festival, 7 – 8 June, at the legendary Montlhéry track on the outskirts of Paris
- Eurocitro 2014, 8 – 10 August at the Le Mans racetrack
- Exhibitions in Orléans, 20 – 21 September & Epoqu’Auto, 7 – 9 November, in Lyon
- Excursions organised by regional sections of La Traction Universelle club, such as at Roost-Warendin on 31 May – 1 June & at Ferté Vidame on 13 – 14 September – which is expected to be the biggest event of its kind this year, with almost 800 Traction Avants expected to attend.