Crazy V8-Powered Custom! 1950 Citroën 15C9

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In parts of California you’d have to strip naked, stand up through the sun roof, and set your hair on fire to be noticed driving a Ferrari. Even in that rarefied air you will definitely catch motorists and pedestrians staring at this custom V8-powered Citroën! The 1950 Citroën 15C9 in Glendale, California comes to market here on eBay classifieds where $17,500 guarantees an end to your anonymity in traffic and parking lots everywhere. French car-maker Citroën produced similar variants of the long-running Traction Avant from 1934 through 1958, according to Humans with a keen eye may recognize this 15C9 as resembling the 1948 Citroën 11 BL used in the 1965 film The Sound of Music.

While details on the car’s clearly-American V8 escaped the listing, it appears nearly stock and I’m guessing from the early 1960s. The rear distributor and water pump bypass suggest Chevrolet, but I couldn’t find one with valve covers like this. A virtual beverage of your choice to the smarty-pants who recognizes this one straight off. I have personally plumbed a “T” just like the one shown on the vehicle’s left for a mechanical pressure gauge.

That’s right; a standard transmission backs the unknown V8, with a Hurst-style shifter that calls to mind Ford’s Boss 302 Mustang. Most wooden dashboards feature a thin veneer of exotic hardwoods, but this one suggests more of a block of walnut? bored and finished in high school Wood Shop, especially the core-sample horn button. Nevertheless, the instruments provide vital information despite lacking the elegance of this 1952 Traction Avant instrument panel.

Beneath the French bodywork lies mechanical bits from a 1957 Chevrolet including Chevy suspension, brakes, and rear differential. The rear bumper suggests an intention to resist parking damage. Said to run, drive and stop “great,” this V8-powered Franco-American sedan may appeal to those who appreciate a meaty American burger with a side of French fries. Such a person might also forgive the misspelling of Citroën as a compromise likely necessary to obtain a personalized license plate. Is this hot-rod Citroën pushing the right buttons for you?

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  1. Slantasaurus

    Oldsmobile V-8 engine, can’t tell displacement likely a 350, 403.

    Like 9
  2. Chas358 Chas358


    You are correct. Oldsmobile V8.


    Like 4
  3. MitchellMember

    Throw some W31 parts at that Olds small block, swap in different wheels, do some burnouts, take it to Power Tour next year

    Like 6
  4. Jeff

    The motor may also be a Olds 307.

    Like 1
  5. Popawafox

    I believe the Olds 307 was painted black. Built from 81 to 87. (88?)
    I would say that is a mid 70s Oldsmobile 350. Good engines. Hard on water pumps though.
    My 2cents.

    Like 0
  6. Rodney - GSM

    You had me at “core sample horn button”…

    Like 11
  7. Bmac777

    It’s an Olds but I don’t think I’ve seen one with that long of a metal pipe attached to the thermostat housing. I’ve owned 69-72’s and It’s usually just the nipple that the little formed hose attaches to. It might give a hint to the year/ cid.

    Like 0
  8. oilngas

    With that type of oil cap breather will be from the 60’s. California put a stop to vented oil caps by the 70’s. My guess would be 455 Olds.

    Like 0
  9. Bakyrdhero BakyrdheroMember

    Looks like early 70’s GM Speedo, odometer, and fuel gauge. I’m thinking Buick.

    Like 0
  10. Solosolo UK ken tilly UKMember

    Somebody spent a lot of time, energy and money creating this car, which doesn’t look too bad at the end of the day, however, the dashboard is a complete letdown.

    Like 11
  11. Todd FitchAuthor

    Thanks to several of you for the Oldsmobile engine ID! I figured it was in the GM family. The closest match I can find with the valve covers, oil filler, etc. is a 1969 350. See what you all think…

    Like 0
  12. angliagt angliagtMember

    I’m almost sure that this is the same car that I used
    to see in the Eureka/Arcata,CA area.I was told that a
    Humboldt State University professor built & drove it.
    I saw that car a few years back,when I lived there.

    Like 1
  13. James Koscs

    A guy in North Jersey built something similar but used a 4.3-liter V6 from a Chevy S10 pickup.

    Like 0
  14. John CoreyMember

    I am throwing up in my mouth a bit here. The Citroen TA is the first mass-produced front-drive, unibody car. It came with full floating power engine mounts and full independent torsion bar suspension. It was 8 inches lower and hundreds of pounds lighter than any of its contemporaries.
    This retrograde ‘project’ reverts it to a more primitive thing; and that one-foot cowl extension wrecks the visual balance of an outstanding body design. Never mind the trunk box and bumper!
    Bleahhh! Not to my taste. No taste at all, IMHO.

    Like 10
  15. John CoreyMember

    Oh, I forgot to mention those oversize Superfly headlights. Yecch.
    Also, this no-running-board body was the inspiration for the iconic 1940-41 Lincoln Continental. Crime to trash it this way.

    Like 5
  16. gerardfrederick

    Well, whatever yanks your chain. I kind of like it. This is obviously a labor of love AND total individuality. The builder was a hell of a guy, I am sure.

    Like 5
  17. Ian

    ……in a way this (not very nice to my eyes ) rework is following Citroens history.

    At the 1934 Paris car show when the Traction was launched on the stand were also 3 prototype V8s . They were 90hp 3822 cc V8 including one drophead. ..with streamlined front ends.

    They provide one of the big questions of Traction history -what happened to them ?

    Like 0
  18. unclemymyMember

    “strip naked, stand up through the sun roof, and set your hair on fire” – I wondered where I’d seen that d*****d car before!

    Like 1
  19. C5 Corvette

    In the mid 60’s there were thousands of stock Citroen’s in the city areas of Viet Nam. these were mainly privately owned or used as high class taxi’s for the wealthy Viet’s. Most were painted black. The next lower class taxi’s were Fiat’s (at least I think that is what they were). Then came the Lambretta’s. 3 wheel vehicle that was used for just about everything. When a few GI’s got in we would need to push it to get it going. I wasn’t able to ever ride in a Citroen, but I did like the look.

    Like 0
  20. Eric_13cars Eric_13carsMember

    I’m not going to knock what this customizer did. It’s all good. I’ve always wanted to do something to modernize the Citroen Traction Avant with a modern front-wheel drive engine and drive train. Given the long narrow nose, perhaps one of the Saab 900 series engines and drive trains would work since they’re not transverse mounted. The old TAs were so low and cool looking with those suicide doors. They’ve been in so many movies, sometimes sinister and sometimes friendly. In “The Conformist” with Jean Louis Trintignant (sic) they were sinister. In “Charade” less so. The inspector with the black bushy mustache would step out of them :-). The current attempt is pretty cool too but not the way I’d have done it (why not a Toronado or Eldorado drive train if you have to have a V8)?

    Like 0
  21. MikeH

    I would love to have a traction avant 15, but this is no longer a Traction avant . The misspelling on the license is appropriate.

    Like 1
  22. bull

    Time to git NAKED!

    Like 1
  23. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

    The only thing Citroen is the main body shell, doors, hood & fenders.

    Like 2

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