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Traction Avant 11BL 1938 Challenger

© Copyright: J.Cats.


Car type: Traction Avant 11BL 1938 Challenger
Serial number: 406914
Engine number:
Engine date: July 30, 1938
Bought: January 2005

This car was offered on ebay and the seller contacted us for more info on the car. The ebay reservee was pretty high and we weren't really interested. The car didn't sell and after some months the seller contacted us again to see if we were interested or if we knew somebody else that would be. The price was discussed and the car became more interesting for us. A friend in California went over to the seller, shaved a bit of the price and the deal was struck. The car was put on the boat to antwerp where we picked it up.

Photos from ebay and the seller:

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The car was sold in 1938 by the Challenger Motor Corp in Los Angeles California. It was build in france and very likely started it's life as a 11bl berline. Not much history is known, nor do we know who did the bodywork. If you have any info, please contact us.

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Picking up the car from the shipper.

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Picking up the car from the shipper.

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These are some pictures of the reconstruction of the body. After straightening the body so that the doors would align and close properly, a frame was welded inside to keep everything in place during welding. The photos show how rotten the floor and sills initially were and how extra strength was achieved. I think they speak for themselves.

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More pictures of the reconstruction of the body. I stopped counting the hours that went into the body. The rear bootlid was so heavy (and rotten) that I divided it into two separate parts, not uncommon for roadsters from the thirties.
Welding this car was complicated by the fact that almost the entire body was covered in lead solder to fill the seems and straighten the body panels. This had to be removed completely before welding repair sections in. I had to teach myself this old technique of solder filling the panels in order to be able to repair rotten panels and straighten them again after welding.
Also the fake nose was replaced by an original Traction grill which give it a much more recognisable look. (the “fake” nose is kept with the car).As a result also the bonnet had to be modified as well. With it’s Traction nose, the car is now much more recognisable as a Citroen.
Since the car came without a hood of any kind, I have constructed one myself, together with some detacheable side screens on top of the doors. The underside of the car was anti-rust treated while the body was low pressure sand-blasted and sprayed in 2-pack epoxy primer.

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