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Designed by André Lefèbvre and developed in just 18 months, the Citroën Traction Avant debuted at the October 1934 Paris Motor Show and saw production, interrupted by WWII, across several variants to the mid-1950s. The world’s first mass-produced, front-wheel-drive automobile with steel monocoque construction, the Traction Avant was an engineering marvel, inspired by André Citroën’s visit to Budd Corporation in the US. Providing greater interior room, lower ride height, and improved handling with a lower center of gravity, the new Citroën predicted advances in automobile design many years before they became mainstream. The Traction Avant also marked the end of an era as the last new automobile developed under company founder André Citroën, who passed away soon after the new car’s launch, followed by the company’s takeover by Michelin.

The introductory Traction Avant was the 1.3-liter (later 1.5L and 1.6L) 7CV and by November 1934, the 1.9-liter 11CV was offered and built in two versions: the 11BL (Light), which was the same size as the 7CV, and the 11B (Normal), which had a longer wheelbase and wider track. The 2.9-liter 15CV would follow in June 1938. A wide array of body styles was available, including a dashing Roadster, only built from 1934 to 1940.

According to correspondence on file, this 11CV is believed to be one of five Roadsters that was imported by the Challenger Motor Car Co. of Los Angeles and sold locally in 1938. The correspondence further notes that it was eventually acquired by a former WWII fighter pilot and car enthusiast, John Bowen of Los Angeles, who intended to restore it. Never completed and missing its engine, interior, and other components, the vehicle sat in his garage unused since the late 1960s and, following his passing in 2015, the project was acquired by the Mullin Collection in 2016. As offered, it provides an uncommon opportunity to own and restore a sophisticated and innovative prewar European automobile.

*Please note that all of the Lots in this Auction have been in long-term static storage at the Mullin Automotive Museum and may not be currently operational. They will require mechanical attention and in some cases significant restoration prior to any road use.

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