1934 Citroën TRACTION 7B

Lot 32
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15 000 - 25 000 EUR
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Result : 24 700 EUR

1934 Citroën TRACTION 7B

Very fine original condition
Complete, for restoration
One of the first series of 7s

French registration papers
Current status: Switzerland - not registered
Chassis number: 015153
Body number: missing
Engine number: 8.7.46/35

Introduced somewhat prematurely in spring 1934, the first 7 Traction Avant was powered by a 7CV 1303cc engine: Citroën needed to do better and, above all, fit a livelier engine. As soon as June, therefore, Citroën presented the 7B, which now had a 9 fiscal horsepower 1529cc engine developing 35bhp.
The hard-wearing Traction was starting to reach maturity but still had to win over customers. The 7B's styling continued all the features of its predecessor, with the exception of the headlamps, which were now mounted slightly farther away from the bonnet. Apart from this, its finely drawn lines were more appealing than ever, with the same range of colours as before (black, blue, grey, maroon and this subtle Maintenon beige). The 7B carried over all the key features of the Traction Avant: the unitary body, ‘floating-power' engine, hydraulic brakes, suspension using torsion bars and shock absorbers, and front-wheel drive. The body still had a roof covered in moleskin, narrow wings and headlamps with flat lenses. From periodicals of the time such as La Vie
Automobile, it is possible to get a sense of what it was like to drive in 1934: it was considered an outstanding, spacious and comfortable car, with excellent roadholding and very reliable brakes.
The car we are presenting here has a special charm; preserved in remarkable original condition, it faithfully evokes the first year of production in 1934. Above all, it offers a wealth of references for these models at the time they were introduced, especially the distinguished Maintenon beige paintwork with its subtle hints of pink. Nothing has been touched on this car and nothing is missing; the three-piece spare wheel cover on the tail panel is present and correct. A car in such unmolested condition deserves to be kept this way, with only the engine - which will currently not turn over - in need of reconditioning. (It should be noted that the engine is believed to be one which was rebuilt by Citroën after the war, but the 7B specialist, Dominique Peter, has confirmed that it is indeed a 1529cc unit.)
This 7B comes from the Alpes-Maritimes in the south of France; it was found in 1979 by the dealer B. Lafond from Cannes as a virtually one-owner car. After he had kept the car for a long time in his showroom, it moved on to a collector in Nice, who tucked it away in his garage, without carrying out any hasty work, before it joined the Swiss collection which we are now offering at auction.
For a lover of Citroëns and of the Traction Avant in particular, to see a car up-close from 1934, one of the first series of 7s and so well preserved, is itself a rare moment, but the prospect of acquiring it is truly exciting and quite irresistible. This is a car which deserves being listed as a historic monument!

A mix of balanced styling and innovative engineering...... A Citroën collection
It is for its details, innovation and beautiful lines that Citroën has always attracted me. If I had to choose just one? I think my collection would give me away! The irresistible appeal of the Traction has made me an enthusiastic collector and kept me amused. How many wonderful people I have met and what fond memories I have from behind the wheel of my cars! I can remember each of them, whether at the wheel or in the workshop repairing and restoring them or putting the finishing touches to them. In a way, my cars reflect who I am, that's all I can say. Sometimes I look at them with the eyes of a child, sometimes, unfortunately, as a man pressed for time... but always with the same satisfaction that I can say I have been able to preserve a living heritage!
Time, time, time... To drive for days on end could make my heart beat forever. May their new owners share this feeling, may they look after them as well as I have done and continue what I have tried to do... and make them last forever...
Today, Citroën is one of the most collected makes of car in the world, and the aura which surrounds it is due in large part to the Traction Avant, which has brought in its trail the other iconic models from the quai de Javel.
This car is so fascinating to collect because so many different versions of it exist: saloons, convertibles, coupés, family models and limousines. This has made some enthusiasts who have been particularly affected surround themselves with 10, 20 or 30 Tractions; if some of them are not in running order, never mind, it is still a pleasure to look at them and savour all their differences. It is not a matter of lining them up and seeing a single bonnet, but of enjoying all the body styles derived from the original little 7, the one the boss wanted and which was developed by a small group of inspired engineers.
When I was a child, my parents drove Tractions. They kept one of them long enough for me to learn to drive with it and for it to be the start of a small collection, an obsession which would take me well beyond that. For many boys of my generation, the Traction was a students' car, but I remained attached to it. To drive a Traction was to recall a period in time, but it was more than that: I loved to feel its balance on the road, to make that typical shoulder movement when changing gear, to hear the steady hum of its engine, the music of the six cylinders in the 15.
I must admit that it is impossible to conceal the romantic aspect of an approach like this to a moving object, and since we are talking about its appearance, I will leave the final word to the author of a Traction catalogue in Australia: “Long, slender and distinguished, the Citroën's lines are indicative of a high standard of artistic design, in the same way as the most exquisite haute couture created in France...”.
That says it all.
Olivier de SERRES
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