Sunday, April 17, 2022

Citroën Traction Avant during WWII

One of my all time favourite cars is the Citroën Traction Avant. Growing up in the ‘60s Netherlands, these were still a fairly common sight.

The umbrella-name Traction Avant was used for a range of mostly 4-door saloons and executive cars (7, C11, C15/6), with four or six-cylinder engines, produced by the French manufacturer Citroën from 1934 to 1957. Approximately 760,000 units were produced.

The Traction Avant pioneered mass-production of a crash resistant, unitary, monocoque body. Additionally, the car was also an early adopter of rack and pinion steering.

Although the car's name emphasized its front-wheel drive power delivery ("Traction Avant" literally means “front traction”), the car stood out at least as much by its much lower profile and stance – made possible by the absence of a separate chassis under the car's unitary body – sharply distinguishing it visually from its contemporaries.

During the war years the Traction was much loved, first by the French army, then the occupying Nazi’s (who typically preferred the Traction over their own German vehicles) and took it as far as Norway and the Soviet front. 

All these photos depict the Traction in use by the French military in the years 1938-1940.

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