1955 Citroën BIG SIX

Lot 42
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40 000 - 60 000 EUR
Result with fees
Result : 47 775 EUR

1955 Citroën BIG SIX

Only 13 survivors recorded, with 7 known to be in running order
The ultimate version, restored with no expense spared

British registration papers
Chassis number: 9-557541
Body number: 145
Engine number: W02077 casting date: 31.5D/15
Gearbox - casting date: 29.6D/39

While the English know Citroën today for its modern cars since the 2CV and Ami 8, from the 1940s to the 1960s it was a rather exclusive make aimed at true ‘gentleman drivers'. A difference in the fiscal horsepower ratings led to different model names being used on either side of the Channel. A 7 thus became a Twelve, an 11 Légère a Light Fifteen, and an 11 Normale a Big Fifteen, but the 15 was reverently referred to as the Six-Cylinder. From this it can be concluded that it takes more English horses than French to propel these cars! They were far better equipped than the Tractions built on the Continent, to cater to the tastes of English customers buying quite an expensive car; all the Tractions, like the DS and ID models which followed, had leather upholstery and wooden dashboards, and, of course, righthand drive. They were assembled in the factory at Slough, to the west of London, from 1925.
The Six was considered a legendary model in the United Kingdom: just 1300 cars were built and only a few are known to survive. Among these models, one stands out, the very last series produced, which was fitted with hydraulic rear suspension, a precursor of the system characteristic of the DS. Assembling these Citroëns in workshops which were less industrialized than those of the quai de Javel was quite an undertaking, so when the question of building the 15 Hydraulique in Slough arose, Citroën invited the technicians in Slough to work on it, but without forcing them in any way, knowing in any case that the project would be short-lived. The engineer Ken Smith has some invaluable memories of the marque's history in the UK and recalls the 15 H: “Even if it was complicated, there were plans and a method for going about it, so why shouldn't we manage to do it?” And manage it they did, assembling all the same 77 examples of the 15 H.
To meet the standards expected in Britain, these models differed considerably from their French-built counterparts: apart from their leather interior and wooden dashboard, their exterior trim was much simpler, without any trim strips or chrome at the base of the front wings, but with smaller
Lucas headlamps and the same chrome radiator grille. The car we are presenting for sale was owned by the British connoisseur B.H., who sold it during the 1980s to the great Belgian collector Nico Michon.
Michon kept it in his collection until the 2000s, when it joined the collection of its current owner. He then undertook a through restoration of the car and it received a most attractive combination of dark blue paintwork and red upholstery.
Work on the body was carried out by Hubert Haberbusch and on the engine and radiator by J.C. Tilly. John Gillard (the ultimate Citroën restorer in England and the official mechanic of our collection) took care of the electrics and tuning the engine, while Aloïs Peter handled the gearbox; work on the interior trim was assigned to Andover Upholstery and on the bench seats to Marcel Reusser. It is plain to see that its owner entrusted this Traction, like the other cars in his collection, to the leading specialists in the field throughout the world. As well as being in magnificent condition, this Six H is a true rarity. The electrical system runs on 12 volts, like all the Tractions built in Slough, but uses an alternator. The transmission was entrusted to Roger Williams, while a stainless steel exhaust ensures that the car runs quietly. The owner is keen to add that the hydraulic system uses original parts bought from J.C. Tilly and adapted to use LHM hydraulic fluid.
Just 77 Six H models built in Slough (7 in 1954, 70 in 1955)
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