A curious mixture of a romantic visionary and a practical businessman, André Citroën knew a promising invention when he saw one. While traveling through Poland at the age of 22, he had visited a foundry and there noticed an unfamiliar type of gearwheel that used V-shaped teeth.
He immediately recognized the potential of this design and bought the patent, setting up André Citroën & Cie in the rue Saint-Denis near Paris’s Gare du Nord to manufacture his new double-helical gears.
Having prospered throughout the 1920s, Citroën was determined that economic depression and a contracting car market would not prevent him from introducing a revolutionary new model – the so-called Traction Avant – which he was convinced would ensure his company’s future.
A noteworthy vehicle for Citroën, the Traction Avant pioneered several automotive firsts. It was amongst the first vehicles to boast not only unibody construction, but also four-wheel independent suspension and front-wheel drive. With production straddling WWII, approximately 760,000 units were produced in a variety of different formats.
The first convertible Traction Avant was unveiled in May 1934, a few weeks after the launch of the sedan.
The front part was identical, but besides the two front seats, two (smaller) places were available in the charming folding seats located at the rear of the car.
On the 11 BL, the car was powered by the four-cylinder 1911cc engine.
ABOUT THIS SPECIFIC EXAMPLE
The Citroen Traction Avant was produced between 1934 and 1957 and was ahead of its time with the use of a unitary body and frame, the so called monocoque, four wheel independent suspension and front wheel drive. Now the Traction Avant is a popular classic car because of its beautiful lines, great handling and good maintenance opportunities.
The story of this 1939 Traction Avant 11BL Cabriolet starts when the car was sold from France to a person in The Netherlands in 1993. A few years later the car was bought by CTA (Citroen Traction Avant) Service Holland bv. In 1998 the current owner bought the car and commissioned a complete body-off restoration and mechanical overhaul with original Citroen parts. Unfortunately however, it soon became apparent that the bodywork was in such a deplorable condition, that it was decided to replace it with a ‘Peacock’ body from England
Over a period of two years from early 1998 to late 1999 the car was meticulously rebuilt to the highest quality, with the help of several experts in their specific profession, not only with the technical skills required, but also with the heart in the right place with love for the car. Engine, gearbox, axles and brakes were completely restored, renewed or replaced with parts from other models to complement the car to what it is today.
The bodywork has exquisitely straight and thin body panels and perfect fittings. The dickey seat which was folded into the rear of the coach disappeared in favor of practicality to provide extra loading volume. The car is painted according to a color scheme of a Traction Avant 11BL Cabriolet as it appeared in one of the Michelin adds in its time, and which served as inspiration for this unique restoration project; an elegant two-tone burgundy red and black lacquer, and with the unique Michelin Pilote ivory-yellow rims. The chrome is also in excellent condition. The black linen hood and red leather upholstery completes the picture.
Thanks to the meticulous care and attention to detail the car is a real showpiece for every occasion. The current owner participated in numerous club tour rallies, both national as international, in which it proved to be a super reliable and great car to drive!
The current owner still uses the car regularly if weather permits, but as he now has become of age he is looking to give the car a new home. The car today still looks brand new and is in pristine condition, serving as a testament to the quality pursued during its restoration 20 years ago.
When the owner brought the car to our showroom it was almost the first time that the soft top was put on the car due to some rain drops. It means that the car has never been used with rain since the restoration.
The exterior of the Citroën is in an outstanding condition. The paint shows a very nice deep shine.
The chrome parts are in as new condition and the wheels are in a fully restored condition as well.
The glass and lenses don’t show any signs of use and the mohair soft-top is almost never used and therefore in a beautiful condition.
The doors are opening and closing beautiful and the lining is perfect.
Also the bonnet lines are perfect.
Exterior wise it is clear that this Citroën has been very well restored.
The red with black body paint finished with the yellow wheels is original for these cars.
The interior is in the same condition as the exterior. Every part is just wonderful restored.
The wood on the doors, the gauges on the dashboard but also the paint on the dashboard is in a wonderful condition.
The doorcards are covered with the same beautiful dark red leather as the seats.
No signs of use or wearing can be found in the interior.
All meters, gauges and knobs are functioning as they should be.
2 extra meters are nicely installed on the left side under the dashboard. These can be taken away without any damage to the originality.
ENGINE BAY / UNDERNEATH
Due to the fact that this entire car is very properly restored, the engine bay but als the underside of the Citroën are in a beautiful condition. There will be a serious possibility to become a concours winner with this car.
The car is technically unique on paper but in real it is almost unbelievable that this car is from 1939.
When the starter button is pushed the engine switches immediately on.
The gears which have to be selected on the dashboard can be handled very easily and the car drives a a post war car.
Impressively easy and smooth.
The handling of the car is seriously impressive. The steering, the suspension, the brakes, the transmission, the power. Actually all these parts are surprising us. What a fantastic car to drive.