Front Wheel Frenchman: 1949 Citroen Traction Avant

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A favorite in France, the Traction Avant was a well received and quite stylish auto available to the masses from 1934 to 1957 with nearly 760,000 cars built. This particular car appears as a garage find, although it would seem that it was in the hands of a ‘Traction enthusiast as there is an invitation to the Traction Avant picnic of 1996. Having sat for 21 years, this sleek French classic looks to be a solid endeavor. Hailing from the dry and sunny state of California, this Citroen is offered for $4,000. Check it out here on craigslist out of San Rafael, California. Thanks to Pat L. for the French connection!

Although there are several photos, there were some key details missed to give a better understanding of the condition of this car. It is unclear if the car runs or not, but it has been parked since 1996. There is at least power to be seen in the interior, so hopefully being in Cali’ means a few weekends wrenching and fresh fluids could get this beauty going again. The Traction Avants are front wheel drive, and were offered in a few different body types. Convertibles, coupes, sedans, pickups and “limousines” were all offered over the long production range.

Little rust is visible in the images, and it would seem most of the paint is present, and original. The paint is worn on the passenger front fender, and there is also some wear on the engine covers.  The body seems straight, minus a minor dent on the passenger front fender. There is a fine layer of dust and dirt that has gone untouched for many years. For the reasonable buy in price, and the reasonable condition, this Citroen would likely be a great driver grade classic in its current condition. Thankfully there is still a huge following for these cars, and with the internet at your command, parts and help are a few key strokes away. Considerably far apart in comparison from a front wheel drive Cord automobile, these Citroens always reminded me of the large American front wheel drive sedans, but in a smaller yet different package. Would you cruise in this neat front wheel drive classic?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. redwagon

    advert is gone. i would assume that it sold quickly at that price.

    Like 1
  2. Brad

    Neat. Pack a picnic, pump up the Piaf, and you’re on holiday.

    Like 0
  3. DolphinMember

    Reminds me of old French movies. They always had a few of these running around the streets of Paris. Some of them contained the bad guys and others contained the cops…, gendarmes I think they are called.

    If it’s as good as it looks this was a screaming bargain at $4K.

    Like 0
    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      I remember watching Hogan’s Heroes, in between the old Mercedes Benz’s that General Berhalter was being chauffeured, there was usually a Citroen or two, the Chevrons on the grille being hard to miss.

      There was one here in Connecticut, a six, that was just recently restored nicely.

      I agree with the others, THIS IS A STEAL!!!

      Wish I had the space in my workshop.

      Like 0
  4. geomechs geomechsMember

    I always liked this style. I never did get used to the later ones where someone put wheels on a cow patty and thought it had class. Of course there are lots of you who would vehemently disagree with me (I hear the sound of voices, the lighting of torches and heating up that vat of tar), and that’s OK. Give me one of these and I’d take it anywhere. I wouldn’t even need to put a paper sack over my head so no one would recognize me behind the wheel….

    Like 0
  5. healeydays

    I’ve always wondered how much work it would be to make a rod out of one of these.

    Like 0
  6. Jack Quantrill

    Louie Jourdan, and Claude Dauphine motored around in this in “Paris Precinct” TV show. Loved that hi-lo police horn!

    Like 0
  7. Christo

    I bought it! It’s pretty tidy, but it has indeed been sitting since 1996. It lives with a very dead Citroen ID19 and two late 504 Peugeots. The motor is very much frozen. Only plus to that, is I already have a spare Traction motor that turns freely. The previous owner converted it to 12v which I can’t say I hate. I’ll let you guys know how it works out

    Like 0
    • Jesse Jesse MortensenStaff

      Awesome news! Thanks for letting us know and please keep us updated.

      Like 0
  8. Paul B

    Nice buy and it will be a good runner before too long I’ll bet. Clean it up and leave it, or repaint?

    Like 0
    • Christo

      Patina is hot right now, so I’ll leave it and just give it a good polish and cleaning overall. It needs to air out too, smelled a bit musty inside, but after sitting up there for 20 years wouldn’t we all?

      Like 0
      • glen

        Just no clearcoat! Congratulations on your purchase.

        Like 0
  9. Maestro1

    Brian, they are wonderful esoteric cars. I hope the new owner does it justice.

    Like 0
  10. Dairyman

    Christo, take some better pictures after a good clean up so we can look at this beauty in all her glory!

    Like 0
  11. Peter

    It has post war louvred hood sides

    Like 0

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