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Traction Avant 7C 1935

© Copyright: J.Cats.

Car type: Traction Avant 7C
Production date: October 1935
Serial number: 70 397
Body number: AB 12 11
Engine date:
Engine number:
Bought: July 6th 1976
Km when bought: 38,460
Km now: 43,000
Condition: Fully rebuilt, running since 1981

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After driving Traction Avant for a few years, the idea came to restore one of these cars. But it had to be something special, preferably pre-war. In 1977 came a very special opportunity. A friend had heard about a very early Traction Avant, and this was investigated.

First a little history about the early years of Traction Avant production.

The first years of Traction Avant production included numerous small chances, some of which aren't even properly listed in the books. The T.A. was launched prematurely and the changes were necessary to eliminate the problems that occurred with the first cars. At the end of 1935 it became clear that a couple of things on the T.A. had to be changed. The steering was heavy, had much play and wore fast, so a different type of steering was needed. The rear luggage space wasn't accessible through a boot lid but by swinging the upper part of the back seat up and securing it to the roof with two straps. Citroën claimed that this way you could access your luggage while on the road, but the public liked a boot lid better. When Citroën decided to change these things they were left with a pile of old parts, which they decided to use in a small series of 1000 cars. Here is a list of typical characteristics:

  • Front shock absorbers on the back of the suspension arms.
  • 5 stud 10" forged brake drums all-round.
  • Gemmer steering with two bearing steering box.
  • Engine: 72x100mm, 1628cc.
  • Cruciform rear axle.
  • Exhaust running through the right jambonneau.
  • Horns mounted behind grilles in the wings.
  • Twin air inlets below the windscreen.
  • Twin gloveboxes, speedo in the middle of the dash.
  • Commodo light switch on the steering tube.

When the car was first seen this special history was unknown, but the car was bought nevertheless. The man who was selling it, had bought the car himself in 1937! The car was bought on July 6th 1976. The car was very sound and complete except for the front part of the floor which had to be replaced and a slight accident damage which was easily corrected. Other problems included a totally worn out steering box and two different front wings, one 1935 with grille and one 1934 without grille.

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It took a large number of years to find a steering box replacement. The one that was eventually found was a brand new one with the original storage label still on it. A replacement wing was found after the car had been fully rebuilt. This was a closer match but still not exactly right. At least now they both have the grilles. The horns are still on the bumper but they will be moved. The only problem that still remains is that of the tail lights. When bought, the car didn't have any tail lights and the right type of tail lights still hasn't been located. These original lights are round and go into the rear wing and onto the number plate with a chromed edge on top. They should have red glass with a small tip in the middle. The search is still on for these.

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The rebuilt was completed and the car put on the road on June 3rd 1981. It hasn't given any problems since. Even though it hasn't got much power it's still a very nice car to drive. It pulls quite good and it never gives the impression of a lack of power. At the moment more then 20 years after the car was finished, a respray and retrim are being considered. Although the car is still immaculate, today's standards are a lot higher.

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