Tag Archives: Traction

Déesse Of The Sky – Citroën DS19

When Citroën put their minds to replacing the Traction Avant which had been in production since 1934 they wanted a car that would be equally revolutionary and innovative setting new standards in style, comfort and safety.

Citroën DS19, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Italian sculptor and industrial designer Flaminio Bertoni and the French aeronautical engineer André Lefèbvre took care of the styling and engineering while Paul Magès took care of the hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension that could be adjusted to ride height.

Citroën DS19, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Additionally the DS featured a single spoke steering wheel, lightweight fiber glass roof to keep the center of gravity down, semi automatic transmission requiring no clutch and was the first mass production car to be fitted with disc brakes.

Citroën DS19, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

It was originally intended to scale up the aircooled flat 2 cylinder 2CV motor into a flat six motor for the DS, but when the development costs could no longer be met the 1,911 cc (116.6 cu in) in line four from the Traction Avant was upgraded with an aluminium hemi cylinder head that bumped the horsepower up from 60hp to 75 hp and mounted behind the gearbox which drives the front wheels.

Citroën DS19, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

The DS pronounced “Déesse” in French double meaning “goddess” was received with tremendous enthusiasm, which translated into 12,000 orders on the 5th of October 1955 the day it was launched at the Paris Motor Show and was described by structuralist philosopher Roland Barthes as looking as thought it had “fallen from the sky”.

The DS19 seen above at Goodwood Festival of Speed was built in 1957.

Thanks for joining me on this “Déesse Of The Sky” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be visiting Goodwood Festival of Speed. Don’t forget to come back now !


Perfect car for a wedding #1 – Citroen Traction Avant

I don’t propose to post photos of cars used at Weddings every Saturday but I thought I’d give today’s blog a topical theme, though I suspect the summer wedding season is probably already over.

Most of the photo’s I have taken of cars used at weddings are not even taken on a Saturday, this is because just down the row of buildings from my city centre bank is an old court house that has been rebranded as a Registry Office. The City centre location is of course used for weddings 6 days a week though as can be seen from these photo’s the location is not without a few ‘parking issues’.

The Citroen Traction Avant is probably most famous as being the car that the cartoon detective Tintin used in the, now deemed less than politically correct, series of stories by Belgian artist Georges Rémi who published his work under the nom de plume Hergé.

The Citroen Traction Avant Garde was a revolutionary vehicle for it’s time, which spanned 1934 -1957, it was the worlds first front wheel drive steel monocoque production car, setting a trend that is almost ubiquitous for passenger vehicles 76 years later.

The construction without the hitherto universal separate chassis was available with a variety of 4 and 6 cylinder engines from 1.3 litres / 79.5 CUI up to 2.9 litres / 176 CUI which sit behind the gearbox driving the front wheels, optimising the weight distribution on the independently sprung wheels.

There were plans to build a 3.8 litre / 231 CUI V8 version of the Traction Avant featuring an automatic transmission with a torque converter, similar to that later employed in the GM Dynaflow transmission, however after 20 prototypes had been built Citroen had gone bankrupt and Michelin who bought the company to primarily test its tyre and other rubber products cancelled the project.

In 1954 a Traction Avant was used to test the self levelling hydropneumatic suspension of the later equally revolutionary Citroen DS which would eventually replace the Traction Avant series in 1955. 759,111 of these vehicles were built in Paris (France), Forest (Belgium), Cologne (Germany) and Slough (England)

Best wishes to anyone who is getting married to day, hope you have enjoyed my first week as a blogger as much as I have, I look forward to to hearing from you all, ‘y’all come back now ! Hear !.’