2018 Shannons Melbourne Late Summer Classic Auction

1953 Citroen Big 15 Saloon




Engine In-line 4-cylinder, 1911cc
Gearbox 4-speed manual
Body Work Saloon
Colour Black on Red
Interior Burgundy
Trim Vinyl
Wheels Steel Disc
Brakes Drums


This lot is no longer available

Citroën’s Traction Avant was introduced in 1934 and is best known for being the world's first mass-produced, steel monocoque vehicle driven by the front wheels (it was inspired by an earlier US Miller design).  It was very popular across Europe with over three-quarters of a million produced in several variants from 1934 to 1957, despite the interruption of World War 2.  The Traction Avant series utilised a front-drive layout that placed the gearbox at the front of a longitudinally-mounted engine, joined by the differential.  Available in two and four-door body styles, a convertible was also offered.  The engine was originally a 1303cc four-cylinder, though that capacity increased to 1911cc fairly early on and a more powerful 2867cc six-cylinder model was also released in 1938.  Right-hand drive versions of the Traction Avant were built at Slough in England, known as the Light Fifteen, Big Fifteen (for the longer wheelbase variant) and Big Six.  British Citroëns differed from their French counterparts in having 12-volt Lucas electrics, headlamps, starter and dynamo, different bumpers and chrome grille.  The interior on Slough-built cars also benefited from Connolly leather upholstery on the seats and door panels, woollen headlining and a walnut dash panel featuring Jaeger instruments.  For all its ground breaking engineering (the Traction Avant was said to be over 300kg lighter than other cars with similar interior seating), the cost of development took its toll on Citroën and Andre Citroën was forced to stand down and sell the company to Michelin in late 1934, as the new models were coming on stream.  This didn't stop it from remaining popular, and today these cars are seen as technological marvels that have robust mechanicals and great club support.