You're not going to believe what I saw last night!

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    Peter Fereday

      Right, I’ve now watched the film; fascinating, although definitely not the best thing to come out of France. Thought the car chases were pretty contrived although conceptually a good idea – nothing could catch a traction in 1935. And the car les mechants stole wouldn’t have had rack and pinion steering then, in spite of what the salesman said, as this did not come in until May 36. Nit picking really.

      The really interesting thing, as Larry says, is the 6Cyl Roadster seen right at the end of the film. It seems to be the real deal – can anyone shed any light on where it came from and where it is now?


        Hi Everyone

        Can anyone help me get a copy with English subtitles,so far none of the links seem to have worked





          Just to follow up on the 6 cylinder roadsters – you might be aware that I write the Pulling Power column in the CCC’s Citroenian monthly mag. Back in March 2015 I wrote a bit about these…

          Beware the Ides of March!

          For on this day you may be tempted.  Well, if you’re not I might. Temptation comes in the form of a 1939 15/6 Cabriolet up for auction on March 15th. When I first saw the advertisement I though this must not just be a 1939 15/6 Cabriolet – but it must be THE 1939 15/6 cabriolet: the car that was owned by Michelin and used by Madame Michelin. (In those days I guess being called Mrs Michelin didn’t have the unfortunate connotations that Mr Bibendum’s well upholstered figure now suggests).

          I sent an email to the Osenat, the auction house, to ask if this was the Michelin car, and I received a very nice reply from Stephane Pavot at Osenat explaining that this was not, but one of the other two surviving such cars that Citroen made. The body was constructed in 1939 but this car was not completed until 1946 due to other distractions of the period. M. Pavot did not tell me the estimated selling price (I did ask) and it is the only lot on their web site with no estimate. They have a restored 1956 11B estimated at 9,000 to 10,000 euros.

          The story of the 15/6 cabriolet is a complicated one which I don’t think I completely understand.

          Citroen made seem to have finished five 15/6 Cabriolets, having originally made seven shells. Three cars seem to have survived, one green (Mme Michelin’s car), one beige and one red, which is the car that is for sale.

          There is quite a lot of stuff on the intranet about these cars and also, possibly more reliably, in well researched books. One such book is of course Olivier de Serres’ “Grand Livre” and another is Jon Pressnell’s “Traction Avant” which has the benefit of being in English. Olivier de Serres reports that one car was destroyed in an accident and another was lost – at least in my edition of the book.  I believe this history is a little out of date and M. de Serres has published more recently a book specifically on the Cabriolets and Coupes (ISBN-10: 2726889859). I have not read that book yet but Jon Pressnell’s book is very helpful here.

          One olive green was completed in 1939 and used by Mme Michelin. It found its way to the states and following an accident it was painted turquoise and before its restoration it was bronze. The story of its purchase and restoration in the US by Donald “Red” Dillinger can be found in the Winter 2008 edition of Citroenthusiast which is online at:

 document/view/10339754/winter- 2008-nl-web-res

          The Michelin Company also apparently had a car of which I have no details

          Another was made for Helene Comptese de Portes and mistress of Paul Reynaud the French Prime minister up to 1940 (I guess he didn’t have a scooter like M. D’Hollande does). This car was reported to have been destroyed in an accident – but that now appears to be in doubt.

          One was made for the French Ambassador to Washington.  I am not sure if this car was shipped in 1939 or was held over until 1946. This car was shipped to the US. I think this was the beige one and I think this is now in the Netherlands

          In 1946 a red car was completed from one of the remaining shells for Robert Puiseux who was a director of Michelin factories after the war, he crashed it 18 months later. This is, I believe, the car that is now for sale at Osenat. I believe this is the only factory built 15/6 cabriolet with the later 15G engine – which turns clockwise, the others, being pre-war having the 15D engine. By the time you read this the auction will be over – maybe you bought the car. If your pocket is not deep enough, you may have been tempted by a nice lithograph of the rear or malle platte Legere  for 100 – 150 euros.

          Two other shells are reported to have been converted into presidential limousines by Franay and Chapron.

          Why did Citroen use two of them for the basis of presidential limousines? It seems that the front suspension on the 15/6 cabriolets was different from the regular 15/6. I am not sure of the difference but it may have been beneficial to the needs of the Limos.

          So that adds up to seven – but there are also reports of other shells being scrapped – as Jon Pressnell says “Whichever way you slice it, the numbers do not add up, and picking a way through this tangle is a brain-stretching and ultimately frustrating challenge.”

          Several  11 Normale Cabriolets were converted to 15/6 specification by taking the front from a 15/6 saloon and fitting it to the Cabriolet body. About 17 of these are known.

          It is not clear to me why Citroen didn’t do it this way anyway, but as I mentioned earlier, for some reason the genuine version is reported to have a different front suspension from the saloon.

          Mme Michelin’s car in its bronze era

          Mme Michelin’s car as it is now.


            just to add a little more – this is a picture of the red car from the Osenat catalogue in 2015. If I remember correctly it went for over 600,000 euros. The green Mme Michelin car was sold recently – I don’t believe the price was ever released but I think it was over a million.

            What do you think of the rear lights on the red car? I much prefer the originals on Steve Southgate’s black car.



              Interesting stuff, Chris.  But …..

              In referring to the first (1946) red car, you say “I believe this is the only factory built 15/6 cabriolet with the later 15G engine – which turns clockwise, the others, being pre-war having the 15D engine”.

              However the early 15/6 engines, up to chassis no. 682729, were anti-clock (G) engines and those from chassis 682730 turned clockwise and were designated “15/6D”.  This change occurred in September 1947 – 2 years after the war was over – and, on that basis, in 1946 the red car would certainly have had a “G” engine – as you say – but it was still the “early” not the “later ” engine.

              I did not recall  spotting the above when I first read your piece 3 years ago so I returned to your original Citroënian article and guess what – sure enough, you had your Ds and Gs the correct way round then.  Aha – but then you assumed the red car would have had a “D” engine because it was post war and I did not spot that at the time because I only learned that the change was as late as 1947 once I started looking for my own 15/6 in 2016.

              Chief Pedant.



                ….. and just in case anybody else wants to go back in time, Chris’s initial article may have been written in March but actually appeared in the April 2015 issue of Citroënian.

                CP – again



                  Thanks for the corrections Bernie



                    Peter asked me where I got the figure of 17 for the number of 11 Normale Cabriolets which were converted to 15/6 specification by taking the front from a 15/6 saloon and fitting it to the Cabriolet body.

                    I believe I got it from this website which is trying to list all the “Traction Coupés, Cabriolets, et Carrosseries Spéciales ”

                    – worth a look…


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