A curious mixture of romantic visionary and practical businessman, André Citroën was determined that economic depression and a contracting car market would not prevent him introducing a revolutionary new model, which he was convinced would ensure the future of his company. It did just that, but not until after Citroën had lost control of his empire when a minor creditor commenced legal proceedings against him. Within two years, new owner Michelin had paid off all of Citroën's debts.
Citroën's brainchild, the 7C 'Traction Avant', broke new ground in almost every aspect of production car engineering on its launch in 1934. Unitary construction of the body/chassis, front wheel drive, all-independent suspension sprung by torsion bars, hydraulic brakes, synchromesh transmission and a four-cylinder, overhead-valve, wet-liner engine were all incorporated in the new car at a time when the majority of its rivals employed a separate chassis, cart springs, sidevalve engines and mechanical brakes. This ground-breaking specification would have counted for little had the result not worked in practice, but the Traction soon gained a well deserved reputation for exceptional stability and exemplary handling that endures to this day.
The 1.3-litre original was soon superseded by larger-engined versions, the 1.9-litre 11 Legère model being known in Britain from 1938 as the 'Light Fifteen'. Production resumed after WW2 and lasted until 1957, when the Traction Avant was replaced by the equally revolutionary DS.
The right-hand drive Citroën Traction's accompanying old-style logbook lists only four owners, the last of whom - a Mr Loboda - is recorded as keeper on the V5C. Some years ago Mr Loboda went to live in South Africa and intended to have the car shipped out but never got around to it. It stood in his garage for several years before his son was asked to sell it on his behalf. In 2014 the Traction was sold and partly re-commissioned (see bills on file). Fitted with new brake master cylinder, wheel cylinders, brake shoes, water hoses and fuel/carburettor kits, the car is described as in generally very good condition, running and driving well.