1953 Citroën Traction Avant Six Familiale
Estimate: £16,000 - £20,000
ca. US$24,310 - US$30,388
Price realised: £16,800
The Citroën Traction Avant was manufactured from 1934 to 1957 with about 760,000 units produced. French for 'front wheel drive', it was designed by André Lefèbvre and Flaminio Bertoni in late 1933 and was one of the world's first front-wheel drive steel unitary body frame production car. With a low-slung design relative to its contemporaries, the Traction Avant always possessed a unique and often rakish look. The original model was a small saloon with later models, like the '11' and the '15' following on with bigger engines. In addition to the four-door body, it was also produced as a two-door coupé with a rumble seat, as a convertible and as an extended length Familiale, (Family) model with three rows of seats, seating seven adults in comfort. This is the largest model of the Citroën Traction Avant range produced, having the eight-seater bodywork and the six-cylinder engine. The Familiale body, the world's first factory-produced stretched limousine, had an extra row of three strapontin seats that could be folded into a recess in the floor. The extra length can be seen between the line of the rear door and the curve of the rear wing. The main market for what are now called 'people movers' were large families and taxi drivers. As a result, six-cylinder versions were comparatively rare, less than 500 were built before the war and only 450 afterwards in 1953. Indeed this car is the only known, running example of a Familiale in the UK. Built at Quai de Javel factory in Paris, this Traction Avant with Gregoire suspension and power steering, was first registered on 9th October, 1953, where it was used until the late 60s. It was then used in Majorca for some years and eventually imported into the UK in 1973. It lay unused in a lockup garage for 23 years and in March 1995, the present owner bought a very dusty and cob-webby vehicle standing on four flat and useless tyres. He overhauled its mechanicals and set its systems to work again. Rotten upholstery was renewed, of course, and some steel repairs were needed for its MoT test certificate in 1998. Since being re-mobilised in 1998, the car has driven an astonishing 40,000km; 3,000 of those in one month of 2002 during a visit to the USA and Canada for the 12th ICCCR (International Citroën Car Clubs Rally) and 2,500km on a trip to Gibraltar in 2007. In early 2012 it was given a new coat of paint and new chrome ready for its 60th birthday in 2013. Together with a large supporting history file, this very special Traction Avant has been well loved in its lifetime and is now ready for its next enthusiastic custodian.
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