Ever since I was just a little boy, the Tractions with the third side window always appealed to me, even more then the convertible and coupé. When I was a little older I learned that the 15 Six was a very special Traction type so I quickly concluded that a 15 Six with third side windows would be the ultimate car to have. My dad had a picture of a 15 Six Familiale wreck and this became my dream. At the age of 19 I had put my mind on a Familiale. A friend mentioned he knew about a 15 Six with long wheelbase. This was a opportunity to good to miss so the car was bought in June 1994.
The car had been standing without wheels in a wet field / swamp for many years. The car was very rotten. It was so bad that the car had been completely stripped of all mechanical and interior parts.
When got the car, only the doors, wings and axles were still on the body. The wings were too far gone to be of any use. The doors needed full outer skins and lower inner sections. But more importantly, all the floors and sills were completely gone. In fact the car was so far gone that many people thought it was beyond restoration and declared it insane to even consider this car as a restoration project. The only reason the car hadn't collapsed yet was because it had been sitting on the ground without wheels. But this was the only way I could ever get such a rare car.
First a set of front wings and a bonnet were bought. Then all parts were put on the car to see what we had and what was still missing
The front axle collapsed when it was taken off. The bottom of the cradle was completely rotten. The body was put on specially made stands with a support frame inside the body. The remains of the old floor were taken out. The section under the rear seat and behind it were also taken out. The first repairs were made on the lower front bulkhead. After that, new inner sill sections were made. The inner sills were cut off 5cm above floor level. The new sections were put in and the 2 strengthening plates below the B post remade and put in as well. All welding was done according to German TUV guidelines, the toughest in Europe.
Since new floors for long wheel base cars were not available, 2 new Berline floors were bought. Together, the 2 floors were modified to resemble the original one as good as possible.
In October 1995 the inner sills and floor were ready. One small section of floor, behind the rear seat and in front of the rear axle, still needed to be shaped and put in. At that point the project was put on in order to make time for another project, the built of my special 2cv.
In the mean time the quest for the missing parts was continued. After a few offers from all around the world, a Traction Avant 15 Six wreck was found France. This was a very rusty car (no sills and floor) but very complete. The body had bend in the middle, so the doors couldn't be shut anymore. Because of the difference between this donor car and the other one, there are a few parts which can't be used. These will have to be sourced elsewhere. This car has now been stripped and scrapped.
After this a few other missing parts were located. Most important being the third side window trimmings which were proving impossible to get. A set of new original Citroën pistons and barrels for the 15 6 engine was also found. In 1998 a set of Lambert Nivelle wheels was bought and the 185-400 tyres were bought as well.
Soon, the work on the body will be continued. After the last floor section, the outer sills are next. These will have to be completely replaced. Before this work can be started, some sections of middle sill have to be repaired. A new boot floor has been bought since the original one was to far gone to be repaired. The rear parcel shelf has been replaced. The rain gutters will also need to be replaced.
The following special Belgian parts will be on the car: