La Citroën Traction 11 BL de ‘2009’
Finally finished – the 75th anniversary ‘2009’ Citroën Traction Avant BL. The vehicle is currently being road tested in Brabant, the Netherlands, and will be at the 75th anniversary Citroën re-union in Arras, northern France, this weekend.
The car is the culmination of 10 months work at CTA Holland. In the 75th anniversary year of the Traction, the intention has been to make a car fit for the the next 75 years. The emphasis has been on useability rather than slavish authenticity – a restoration decision that may provoke some mutterings of disapproval among some Traction collectors.
The basis of the car is a monocoque Paris-built in 1951. Nothing is known of the early history of the car although the vehicle subsequently became the property of a Belgian general/Traction enthusiast who attempted to restore the car backwards to a superficially 1936 appearance (though fooling no expert).
The general fitted pre-war body panels, lights, seats and in a deviation forwards in time, an 11D engine – the same engine fitted to the early Citroën ID. By 2005 as the car passed from his family to eBay to me, this engine was leaking at both ends and the gearbox was on its last legs.
All this restoration may or may not have been well-advised at the time, but judging from the norm, there are very few cars with unblotted claims to originality and the general did create an attractive vehicle (although an expert will notice, for example, the post-war rear-window molding) but with the power of the later performance versions of the Traction.
Because the car was not original in any case, the restoration was not inhibited by the requirement for preservation. Nevertheless, visually, modernisation has been done as sympathetically as possible, with the intention that the car should still superficially appear as a pre-war vehicle, albeit with 21st century technology where it could hardly be seen.
As the car was dismantled and deterioration was revealed, the decision was taken to profoundly restore the extensive body deterioration underneath the car. To achieve more power, the nominal 60hp 11D engine was replaced with a CTA re-built 11D unit with twin overhead carburetors.
The car was entirely re-wired with a 12v electrical system enabling a largely invisible updating of the vehicle’s communication, entertainment and navigation systems to 21st century standards. An electrical power steering unit added directly to the base of the steering column transforms the driver control of the car eliminating all fatigue associated with the Traction’s notoriously heavy front end.
The 12v system also powers LED lighting which is fitted to the rear for improved evening and night-time visibility.
The car is compatible with GPS, iPhone/iPod and similar devices. Bluetooth hands-free telephony is available through an Alpine head unit under the glove box. Seats and interior have been finished in leather. Inertial seat belts have been added for driver and passenger.
The colour scheme uses a 1936 paint colour named Vert Olive with the fenders in black.
CTA Holland did the work.
Vive La Traction! Vive les 75 prochaines années!