Abandoned French Collection: Unclaimed Citroen Lot

Does this seem too good to be true? A lot of abandoned Citroen projects, now being sold off at no price other than “best offer”? If you can deal with having no titles and a potentially nerve-wracking time at your local DMV, give this collection of French classics a look here on craigslist in New Jersey. Thanks to Barn Finds reader David F. for the find, and go here if the ad disappears.

As we recently saw with the $500 BMW 7-Series limousine, it is possible for land to be sold with vehicles of unknown ownership still parked on it. But this collection of vintage Citroens seems a little too complete to imagine an owner just parking them and walking away. This early Citroen DS looks salvageable, but these cars can be pricey to restore.

This certainly looks like a worthwhile project: a Citroen Traction Avant, one of the company’s early executive cars. While there is a high likelihood that all of these cars share a common flaw – i.e., body damage, rot, mechanical flaws, lack of parts availability – they are also worthy of being sold off as projects to other Citroen enthusiasts. My guess is they are being used to settle a debt or the owner passed away with no heirs.

What model is this? I couldn’t confirm via my limited web sleuthing. And while we’re at it, what else can you identify in the top photo? Depending on how anxious the seller is to clear this lot, there could be some bargains to be had in the field of forlorn Citroens, but only for buyers who reside in states with somewhat lax registration standards.

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  1. RayT Member

    Jeff, the white car is a Renault 4CV. It’s a late-model example, as it has the “normal” three-lug wheels, not the distinctive “star” wheels used from the start of production until the late 1950s.

    As for the top photo, I see a whole bunch of 2CV Citroen components — looks like mostly bare body shells — and perhaps another DS. Or ID. The Citroen 11 TA is resting next to a 2CV “Truckette.”

    The Ford pickup truck looks salvageable, though!

  2. JohnT

    These cars were all victims of Noel Slade (for information on him, go to the Citroenvie web site).

  3. healeydays

    Was somewhat interested in the Tractions, but just read the comment on Citroenvie:

    “It looks like Noel’s landlord is selling off his client’s cars. If anyone has a car there and you still want it, work on getting it out of there now! An early DS and a Traction Avant could be a steal for someone if their respective owners don’t do something about it.

    We are amazed that the landlord can just offer them for sale. We suppose he now has mechanics liens on them, or the equivalent thereof in NJ.”

    After reading that, I’l pass

  4. Rube Goldberg

    No mistaking the white car, indeed, a 4CV, my 1st car. Without a grill, it could be a FASA Renault,( Spain) a Hino 4CV( Japan) or a 750 ( Australia) While they resembled a Bug, they were actually a much better car. 4 doors, liquid cooled ( a real heater) better suspension. It was the 1st French car to sell over a million units worldwide.

  5. classic Steel

    New York is a BOS state where title not
    required on older cars like these. I wonder if Jersey is the same where you bid and have them break each car down by the avg. to get BOS on each or ones worth to get a title

    Just a thought ..

    Love citereon cars!

  6. Mike Fisher

    We rented a Renault 4CV wagon in Morocco in 1976 that had the shifter coming straight out of the dashboard on the right of the steering wheel. I loved it once I got used to it. Victor did NOT want to drive, so I got plenty of practice for 5 days. I got warned by the cop stationed at a big roundabout in Rabat for hotrodding around it!

  7. Martin Horrocks

    The Traction is a nice drive, especially the 11 légère (smallest shell) version like this one.

    Parts for all these cars are plentiful and cheap if you buy from Europe.

    Shame that these are in such a bad way, they´d have to be very cheap to be restoration projects.

  8. Dik S

    Hello Guys, I would go for the first one, the DS.
    This is a 1967 model, it has the newer bumpers, but not the turnable headlights. Also the frogeys are special. And it was the first year that they used the much better green LHM hydraulic oil in stead of the old red oil. My second DS was this model (I have owned 6 of them). When ready, this will be a very special one.
    It is that I am dutch, living in the Netherlands, and shipping is to expensive for me and besides that I still have several other projects.
    I do not agree that they are difficult to repair.
    all doors are bolted with a simple system and can be removed by turning one screw. also the fenders are very easy to remove, the back ones also with one screw.

    • John T

      Unfortunately, the 67 DS is a USA model (note the bullet turn signal indicators). That means it is still LHS fluid (a/k/a brake fluid). USA did not get mineral oil LHM until the middle of 1968 because of US DOT regulations.


    I read out of curiosity about Noel Slade. Curious on what happened to him and his business. After reading a few articles I though maybe it was economic related as to its failure. He was overwhelmed with the amount of projects maybe? After a short time it was clear he was collecting money and either not starting on the cars or doing shoddy work. Switching parts from one car to another etc.

    It is sad for such a young guy with obvious knowledge and passion with French cars to do what he did. This should be a lesson for everyone thinking of a restoration who cannot do it for themselves. Do diligence.With the power of the internet there is no excuse. Hopefully a wake up call to those with an intent to defraud.

  10. Dik S

    Thank you for the comment.
    but the model is very special as it is only for 1967. After that the headlights behind the glass came

  11. Mike Fisher

    I’m told by Dubois that we rented a 4L, not a 4CV.

  12. Dubois

    Mike Fisher,it must have been a 4L you rented in Marocco and not a 4cv with the shifter out of the dashboard.
    This the one I prepared for my daughter for the 4L trophy

    • Peter

      Here is my Australian Renault R4 story. At the bottom of my street was an R4 sitting in the owner’s front yard for at least a year. It had a damaged front mudguard and bent stub axle. One day I saw the owner starting to move the car. I asked what was he doing with it and said he was taking it to the dump. I offered him $5 which he accepted. The stub axle and guard cost $15 when I saw another being sold for parts. Over the next 22 years I drove it 98,000 miles and then sold it to a collector for $2500. When I first drove it I was a student and needed some cheap transport and kept it because it was a fun car to drive with only 30bhp which meant you really had to drive it with skill to get the most out of it.

  13. michael streuly

    Nothing but junk cars.

  14. Wayne

    Rube, you and I have to get together some time. My first car was also a 4CV. Black 3 speed with the electric clutch. I grew up in northern Illinois not far from Wisconsin. (spent a lot of time at Road America) I Rolled that car on two different occasions in the same spot before I really learned about swing axle rear suspension! Luckily it was into a huge thicket that cushioned the roll with only minor scrapes and very minor denting. (pushed out from inside) I saw a 4CV once that was all stripped down (like no doors or glass) run at Blackhawk Farms Raceway one time. That thing really scooted around the corners!

    • Rube Goldberg

      Hey Wayne, I live in Colorado now, but spent 62 years in Wisconsin. I never actually drove the car on the street ( up and down my parents driveway a million times) I was too young, but I came up with the other half of the money with my brother ($12.50) for it, he had his license. The rear suspension was no better than the VW, but it seemed to handle a bit better. I have heard of the “electric” clutch, but never saw one. I read it actually worked quite well.

  15. 433jeff

    I like the black one, and the 62 Toyota I read about here , great look

  16. Wayne

    I lived in northern Illinois. And had enough of the winters. I have now been in northern Nevada for 35 years. The 4 CV was given to my dad because of the clutch problem. ( too expensive to repair. $80 in 1964). It just so happened that the week before my father had taught me how to adjust a voltage regulator. The 4CV had 2. One for normal electrical duties and one for the clutch. The clutch one was the root of the clutch issue. When he explained to me how it was supposed to work. The clutch was normally disengaged so when sitting at a light. You would just fit there until you started to accelerate the engine which generated more power ( slowly) which in turn engaged the clutch. The second
    part of the clutch regulator was simply a relay operated by the shift lever. When moving the lever in a forward or rearward manner it would disengage the clutch. ( inner shift lever was basically a rod in a tube which was the outer shift lever hinged at the top) so since we lived out in the boonies and I was 12 driving on forest fire roads my fix ( which my dad approved of) was to bend the tab over in the regulator that automatically engaged the clutch so that it was always engaged. Then pull the shift lever back, rev the engine and release the shift lever. All starts were wheels spinning! I enjoyed the car for 3 years until ” normal” “legal” driving started. I sold the car for $300 in 1968.
    I would love to have another one just to drive once in awhile.

  17. Bryam Cohn

    Seems to me this Noel guy needs a visit from a couple of guys named Vinnie the Ice Pick and Joey Knuckles.

    People like this only know one thing, scamming people. They aren’t good at what they do, get behind in one way or another and start down this path. Early on they see a way to make lots of money by scamming people at every step.

    A European repair shop I worked at in ’88-’89 had a young german mechanic who was actually talented but to me, the body shop manager so I never dealt with him direct, something just wasn’t right. Long story short over time it was discovered he do things like a clutch replacement on a BMW and only install the disc, stealing the cover, throwout bearing. Or he’d do a timing belt/water pump/idler pulleys on anything and only install the belt, stealing the other parts. He was then fixing cars on the side using the stolen bits. SOB got caught when he got lazy and started keeping some of the stolen parts in his toolbox!

    At least it got his sorry ass deported as my boss was his sponsor and he withdrew all support, reported the theft, etc.

    No one is going to get a penny so they might as well pool resources and hire a ruffian to do the needed job.

  18. vince

    the guy was nothing but a crook. most of us (his customers) lost either entire car or all money paid up front. I spent over 5 years with his promises on my DS and lost all $7,000.00 and the car became junk while sitting. HAVE NO TEARS FOR THIS CROOK!

  19. vince

    This lot is from an individual who was not able to complete work promised. Not able to return deposits. Caused a single handed loss to many customers and many possible restorations became worthless. My loss $7000.00 up front and the DS became worthless as sitting junk. Then in the USA….. he goes bankrupt!!! and feeling fine…!

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