Padova Finarte - Collectible cars

Padua, Friday 25 October 2019


1953 Citroën 11BL "Traction Avant" (Citroën)

chassis no 624976 motore no. AW14361

  • In one car the greatest innovations of the 1930s.
  • Last years of production: it has all the most important improvements.
  • Restoration of bodywork and interiors.
  • Short wheelbase and 1911cc engine: handly and healthy.
  • Comfortable and with a "modern" feeling.

Sold € 18.635,00

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The model

In the early thirties, despite the recent 1929 crisis, André Citroën thought that a new car was needed, good to surprise the competitors. At that time, he found some of the best collaborators and innovators: Flaminio Bertoni, a young Italian sculptor with a visionary talent and the French engineer André Lefèbvre. The new car would have front-wheel drive, unibody chassis and steel body: solutions that were already introduced by others, but never together on the same car. Other specifications that Citroën cared about concerned: low weight, fuel economy, automatic transmission, four seats, a price of 15,000 francs and a fiscal power (according to the French legislation of the time) of 7 CV. The development of the car was completed in record time: 18 months against the 60 normally expected at the time. Flaminio Bertoni created a three-dimensional model: the line showed avant-garde stylistic solutions, first of all the lower and profiled bodywork compared to the cars of the time, thanks to the unibody structure and the attention to aerodynamics. The footboard was removed, giving slenderness to the side line. From the technological point of view, some solutions were considered very daring at the time, such as front-wheel drive, which caused problems in finding suitable homokinetic joints. Another major innovation was torsion bar suspensions. The 4-cylinder in-line 1303 cc was the first Citroën engine with overhead valve distribution. Among other innovative aspects, the rubber engine supports, to reduce vibrations. The tested automatic gearbox had proved to be subject to overheating and it was decided for a three-speed manual gearbox. The first Traction Avant was born, called 7CV. The record times of the car introduction on the market led to a small number of tests and, therefore, to several issues to correct. In July 1934 the 7CV was replaced by the 7B, with a 1529 cc engine. The range expanded with the 7 Sport (or 7S), with more brilliant performance thanks to the 1911 cc engine, a 1.5 L long stroke variant. The 1911 cc engine is the forefather of an entire generation of engines that would have arrived , with derivative displacements, even as early as 1991. Longer-wheelbase versions called "model 11" were also launched. The basic version, later also referred to as 11A, was equipped with the 7 Sport engine; this latter was later renamed 11 Légère. Sales progressed, but at an insufficient pace. André Citroën, at the beginning of 1935, had to give up control to Michelin which continued the production of the Traction Avant and the logic of continuous updates. In 1937 the 11 Normale (or 11A) was renamed 11B, while the 11 Legère (or 11AL) was renamed 11BL. With the outbreak of the Second World War, production was reduced and then stopped. It was resumed in June 1945 and only with the 11 Légère model: the availability of raw materials was scarce and some plants had suffered enormous damage. Updates began to slow down. Starting in 1948, the only color available became black over the entire range. On the 11B and 11BL versions, the only significant update was the value of the compression ratio, brought to 6.5: 1. In 1952, on the 11 and 11 Légère models straight bumpers were introduced and, on all models, an oversized trunk and wipers hinged at the bottom. In May 1954 the brand new 11D engine was introduced, which foreshadowed the unit that would equip the DS. On 25 July 1957 the definitive release of production took place.

The car

The Citroën 11 BL, chassis no. 624976 was produced in 1953. It is, therefore, one of the last Traction Avant produced with the 1911cc engine called “Perfo”, with 56 hp for 115 km/h of maximum speed. In addition to the aforementioned characteristics, in this engine, born in the 1930s and with a very long life, liquid cooling with forced circulation and removable wet cylinder liners should be noted. Being a 1953 specimen, the car inevitably comes in black and despite having a very similar appearance to the pre-war models, it enjoys all the meticulous improvements of twenty years of production. As a "11BL" version, evolution of the 11 Légère, in turn derived from the 7 Sport, it has a short wheelbase of 3.090 m which makes it more handly and lighter, to the benefit of performance. The frame no. 624976 is in perfect condition. Bodywork and interiors have been restored. The engine has been overhauled and is in working order, even if the car has been stopped for some time. French plates and documents are in order and ready and useful for possible re-registration. The car has a Certificate of Technical Characteristics, issued by the Citroën PSA Homologation Service. With the car, a use and maintenance manual and the original workshop manual. In addition, four new tires and some spare parts are included in the lot.

State of the Art

In perfect shape. Restored body and interiors. Engine serviced and working.


  • Jon Pressnell,Citroën Traction Avant, Crowood Press, UK 2003.-
  • Olivier Serres,Traction Avant, Le Grand Livre,E.p.a.,France 1993.
  • Leonardo Bertoni, Bertoni Citroën, Macchione Editore, Italia 2008.

Certifications and Statements

“Certificato delle Caratteristiche Tecniche”, released by the “Servizio Omologazioni” PSA Citroën.


French Registration and license plates in order to re-register the car.


  • Giro di Sicilia. Eligible.
  • Targa Florio. Eligible.
  • Goodwood Revival. Eligible
  • Tour Auto. Eligible.
  • Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti.Eligible.
  • Coppa delle Alpi by 1000 Miglia. Eligible.
  • Winther Marathon. Eligible.
  • Nürburgring Classic. Eligible.



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