Citroën Traction Avant at the Greenwich Concours

Looking like a manta ray, wings spread over the driven front wheels, I kind of fell for the Traction Avant.

 

I haven’t seen one since I was in Rome a couple of years ago, and I don’t remember it looking quite so gorgeous as this. Modeled off of contemporary Fords (it looks a lot like a ’34 model), the Citroën is just so low and broad and simple.

 It’s like an elemental hot rod, but given a somewhat pulled back, angular bit of streamlining.

Two of the men responsible are some of my favorites in the car world. There’s the famed gambler and Jew Andre Citroën, who wanted a car so forward-thinking for economic reasons. If it was thirty years ahead of its time, he could keep it in production for thirty years and just make his production line more efficient. Hey, it worked for his idol, Henry Ford.

There was also André Lefèbvre whose previous job had been with Voisin, just about the wildest, most art deco bonkers of all the prewar French superluxury carmakers. It was Voisin, Tatra, and a few scattered German marques competing for the unofficial title of Most Insane Carmaker of the 1920s.

This Traction Avant was sitting way in the back of the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance along with the other relegated European oddities, like an Amphicar, a 2CV, and a few Saabs. I think it deserved a place right in the front with the Bugattis.

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Further reading:

If you want to know the whole mad, destructive story of Andre Citroën  and the Traction Avant, Aaron Severson covered the history brilliantly and succinctly on Ate Up With Motor.

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