1936 Citroen Traction Avant 11A
Innovative construction ...
The Citroen Traction Avant was launched in 1934. Although it was not the first vehicle to utilize front wheel drive, nor the first to use a monocoque construction, it was the first to bring these two innovations together into a mass production car. Its styling was equally innovative, like nothing else on the market, yet it was a comfortable family car with excellent road holding.
The Traction Avant marked another milestone in the rapid transformation of motor cars in the 1930s. a shift that truly welcomed in the age of mass motoring. This rapid transformation has always intrigued me. So the Traction Avant seemed like a worthy project and Heller had, conveniently, made a 1:8 scale kit.
In keeping with the transformative theme of the 1930s, I wanted to model a version of the Traction Avant that was close to its original launch in 1934. But there was a problem.
The Heller kit is of a 1952 Traction Avant with a 6-cylinder engine, an engine that wasn't introduced until 1938. At launch, in April 1934, the 'Tractions', (designated 7CV, a reflection of the tax code into which the engine fell), had a 4-cylinder engine. So a 4-cyl engine plus its associated gearbox and engine cradle would have to be built. Challenging, but reasonably so.
The 7CV also utilized a shorter, narrower body than the 1952 version. But, in Sept 1934, new 11CV versions were launched which had a bigger 4-cyl engine. One version, with a longer, wider body, was called the 'Normale' and initially designated 11A. That body is very similar to the 1952 6-cylinder version. So a late '35 or early '36 version of the 11A 'Normale' seemed like a real possibility without pressing my modeling skills too far.
The following chart shows the evolution of the Traction Avant through 1938. The green box highlights the version I plan to build. Click on the chart to see a bigger image.