This is in reply to the letter from Nigel Dent, published in Floating Power March/April 2015
I know I am new to the Citroen Traction but I jumped in with everything I had, taking a scrapyard car, sitting in a barn since 1970, back on the road fully legal in the past 6 months. I know every nut and bolt on the car and have learnt the hard way but taking on everyones advice, tips and experiences so I can drive the car in comfort knowing it works and performs perfectly (well near enough 😉 ) I must say that André must have been slightly drunk on some of the design as it is not an easy restoration project, but as an engineer, most of it is superb engineering for sure.
Yes, along the way, I changed it to 12 volts, I re-wired the complete car so why not “modify it: with electric fuel pump, light/horn relays, temperature sensor, electric fan, oil pressure gauges and what….. electric power steering 😮 . I had to replace the complete interior and the original owner (from new) had put in tartan door panels and red seat covers…. but why should I stick to the “standard” grey seat covers available from all the spares outlets. We wanted something slightly different that when someone opened the door, would say, “oh…. that is different” and I took inspiration from a few other Traction owners who dared to steer from the norm (and there are not many out there).
What worries me with the Traction is who will be the next owners. Who is going to take on these cars after the current owners are driving through the clouds. Take one look on Le Bon Coin or Les Anciennes and there are 500 Citroen Tractions for sale, all black, with grey interiors and cream hubcaps. I am not young but I feel it when driving my Traction. Many other classic car organisations have a vast range of styles from the classic resto to the modern custom mods. The spares are kept up to date with new modified spares coming through keeping these cars on the road and safe and allow them to become more “cool” to the younger generation and possibly more affordable too. I am talking of the Mini, the Beatle, the 2CV and 4Ls, all cars I have owned where at the shows there is a vast spectrum of types, models and levels of restoration and modification, a field of colour. In my opinion, and keeping in mind I am new to the Traction world, this needs to creep into the Traction sooner than later without the wrath of the purists and of the clubs. It should be encouraged without doubt and not “tut tutted” at. There is plenty of room for all.
I would love to drive down the motorway at 140Kph in my Traction and I love driving it down the lanes at 60Kph and there is no difference between the two as long as it keeps the Tractions on the roads and the spares on the shelf at affordable prices for the enthusiast in his garage.
Now where is that bright red metallic paint and chrome wheels……. only kidding 😀
Also in France
You can add my name to the above which mirrors my thoughts.
I am a member of the North Of Englands largest Multi Marque car club (as well as TOC) whose philosophy is to keep old cars on the road and Drive them at every opportunity.
If that means some are not truly ‘original’ it doesn’t matter, the car has been saved and is in use.
Nigel is fortunate to live in Southern France. France is a much larger country than the UK, its roads are such that there are many, many more opportunities to take a long leisurely drive and indeed to visit other parts of the country in a Traction than it is in the UK.
Yes the Traction was way ahead of its time but that doesn’t mean that it can hold its own in the 21st century driving environment.
Power Steering. Some of us are older owners and may no longer find the Traction easy to manoeuvre. Some wives of Tractions owners drive them; some may want but find them difficult to manoeuvre perhaps because they are petite ladies. Power steering is a viable alternative for those of us that wish to continue to enjoy our Tractions into our old age and is reversible; replace the missing piece of the steering column or replace the whole column with another. You may have been forward thinking enough to have found one to put away in the garage.
4 Speed Gearboxes. Provided that these are installed in such a way, for example that that the bulkhead is not changed in a rare Traction then I cannot see the problem. A gearbox crossmember could have been found and stored way before the conversion. We should enjoy our cars; after all if they are kept on the road then it increases the chances of interest in the Traction and hopefully new membership.
Air Conditioning and Heaters. If we wish to use our Tractions in the winter months then air-conditioning or heaters can be a benefit especially as there is no means of demisting the windscreen if it is raining.
Electronic Ignition. 2 of my Tractions are used for weddings and the most popular one has electronic ignition. Reliability is key when having a wedding car hire business and besides not all Traction owners are maintenance skilled, so what is wrong with them having peace of mind.
My third Traction is a cabriolet converted from a 1955 Normale by Rudolf Resell in Germany using Mick Peacock body parts. All mechanicals when I bought it were Traction and it came with Pilote wheels. I expect that Rudi bought a very commonly available Traction that was in need of extensive renovation but instead produced a Traction that creates a great deal of interest and I always tell people the history of the Traction and all of the body styles that were available.
This is the Traction that I like to use the most and needs to be suitable for driving on the UK’s motorways and dual carriageways. To this end I have fitted a DS19 engine with cross flow head and an ID19 4 speed gearbox. I can now safely drive on motorways, comfortably cruise at 70mph and overtake without waiting for a very long gap when it is busy.
It is 12 volts, Rudi did that and it has an alternator. Since buying the car I have fitted the correct bonnet, grille and chevrons for a 1939 cabriolet. I have fitted a front fog and spot lamps, a rear fog lamp and a reversing light with warning beeper. Also warning beepers for the indicators so that I do not forget to turn them off. I have also fitted more visible indicators. All lamps, switches and ignition coil are Marchal.
Nigel then has the gall to stick 2 fingers up at us UK owners and sign off by saying “off now to poodle around the French country lanes at 60kms and hour”,
I am not sorry if Nigel is upset by my reply. I offer no apology.
Hi Ian. Excuse very late reply to your letter (I think I’ll just have to leave the Forum open on my machine as the best way to keep an eye on things). I’m just putting the July August FP together and wondered if you would like me to print your letter as ‘hard copy’? Just let me know. Cheers, The Ed.
Can do if you need filler 😉
Hi Ian. I don’t need a filler (the reverse is true this issue!) but your comments should be read by the whole club, I think. I’ll print it. Cheers, BOB