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Citroen Traction Avant 'Onze Normale'
In 1934, Andre Citroen decided to make the best car he could...
About this creation
... and went broke in the attempt. The car itself went on to be a great success, and was in production for 23 years - it was still ahead of many new designs when it gave way to the even more astonishing DS.



The Citroen Traction Avant was the first mass-produced car with front wheel drive, a monocoque bodyshell, all round independent suspension and rack and pinion steering. A technical masterclass at the time.

My model of it is 12 studs wide and is, unusually for me, largely studless. It features working steering and suspension on all four wheels - a pendular axle at the front and torsion bars at the rear. The real car had torsion bars all round.



Twiddle the spare wheel to operate the steering. The wheel inside will turn in a ghostly fashion, connected as it is to the main control by an elastic band...



All four doors are hinged from the B-post. Welcome to my sparsely furnished but spacious interior...



Or get in the back if you like...



You can open both doors at the same time, but only if there's at least 90 degrees between them...



The simple dashboard with single large dial and delicate little gearchange lever, known as the 'mustard spoon'.



I tried to express all the subtleties of this car's shape, with panels tilting inwards towards the front and towards the top - it's one stud narrower at the roof than the sill, the roof itself curves (ish..) and the doors and front lower panel form a reasonably seamless(!) curve along the side. I left the wings studded at their outer edge because I thought that looked better than with tiles on. It's all about the texture...



Underside - you might spot the steering and suspension set-up under here and the angles of the sides. If you want, I don't mind if you don't...



Because of it's new-fangled unitary body, this car was lower, lighter and much more efficient than 1930s contemporaries. With it's independent suspension it was a lot more comfortable too, and it was still a reasonably priced family car.



This is the pre-war Onze Normale version, with the medium sized body and 1.9 litre engine rated at 11CV, producing about 50 horsepower. It might be the oldest 'ordinary' car that I'd be happy to drive in modern traffic, with modern-feeling handling and roadholding, enough speed and decent brakes.



My collection of Lego Citroens continues to grow... more soon!






Comments

 I like it 
  February 14, 2014
It is a shame that there was no comment with Like no. 100, you really deserve it. But here comes one with No. 101. Your Citroen models are really second to none. Just that little detail to turn the knobs outward on the front wings, indicates a good eye for the perfect shape. Congratulations
Nick Barrett
 I like it 
Xavier Villalonga
  January 8, 2014
Can you put the building instructions?
 I made it 
  January 8, 2014
Quoting Xavier Villalonga Can you put the building instructions?
They don't exist, unfortunately. I hardly ever use LDD. Thanks for your interest anyway.
 I like it 
  January 7, 2014
Incredible effort to get the shape so well at his scale! Wonderful!
 I like it 
  June 21, 2012
Nice new Citroen, I saw one of these lately in a junkyard, almost made me cry...
 I like it 
  May 10, 2012
beautifull
 I like it 
  May 10, 2012
Nice car. I like the CitroŽn logo at the front a lot. Very clever. Keep them coming, mr. Barrett!
 I made it 
  May 10, 2012
Quoting Dan the Man Very impressed, great work! It's a shame the 22CV never made it...
Sure is. That V8 would've been amazing. Thanks Dan :-)
 I like it 
  May 10, 2012
Wow! I'm not sure how I missed this, but it's amazing! Very, very cleverly built, I certainly couldn't put so much functionality and moving bits into such a small model (hence the 'easy' option of just building things bigger in my case). Very impressed, great work! It's a shame the 22CV never made it...
 I made it 
  April 19, 2012
Quoting Ape Fight Back for a second look - it's sill great! Someone's posted on TLCB asking to buy it by the way...
Lordy! Doubt if I could part with it, though...
 I like it 
  April 19, 2012
Back for a second look - it's sill great! Someone's posted on TLCB asking to buy it by the way...
 I like it 
  April 10, 2012
a great addition to your collection nick, a nice classic, it s full of character, and it s historical story is fascinating, I always loved it s shape!
 I made it 
  March 18, 2012
Quoting Barney R This is quite a Citroen family you've now got. I was driving round France a few months ago(in a terribly slow modern Clio) and despite my driving as fast as safely possible, I was completely outpaced for ages on a country road by a straight 6 version of the Traction Avant. Gorgeous looking thing in the flesh and your model is as brilliant as ever; my fav solution of yours is the chevron on the radiator grill. A brilliant use of levers.
Thanks Barney. Always nice to hear from a fellow Citroeniste :-)
 I like it 
  March 18, 2012
This is quite a Citroen family you've now got. I was driving round France a few months ago(in a terribly slow modern Clio) and despite my driving as fast as safely possible, I was completely outpaced for ages on a country road by a straight 6 version of the Traction Avant. Gorgeous looking thing in the flesh and your model is as brilliant as ever; my fav solution of yours is the chevron on the radiator grill. A brilliant use of levers.
 I made it 
  February 22, 2012
Quoting Larry Pan HI! Just finished reading some more Tintin, i realized that this car was the "bad guy's" car in one of the books! :D Oh and it was extremely accurate :)
Thanks Larry. I think Herge was a car fan, all the cars in his books were always appropriate, somehow.
  February 22, 2012
HI! Just finished reading some more Tintin, i realized that this car was the "bad guy's" car in one of the books! :D Oh and it was extremely accurate :)
 I made it 
  February 9, 2012
Quoting Mark van Dongen beautiful model can and will you send me the building instructions mooi model zou je mij eventueel de bouwtekening willen mailen. greetz groeten mark
Hi. Building instructions for this don't exist.
 I like it 
  February 9, 2012
beautiful model can and will you send me the building instructions mooi model zou je mij eventueel de bouwtekening willen mailen. greetz groeten mark
 I like it 
  February 8, 2012
Exceptional! Great techniques!!
 I like it 
  February 8, 2012
Very clever build - love the Citroen badge on the grille!
 I like it 
  February 4, 2012
Wow!!! This is great to see you building in a different style, very SNOTy of you ;) I haven't taken the time to read all the comments yet, so if i repeat something, i'm sorry. There are dozens of wonderful technic functions in this car at this scale, which makes it better, i still haven't figured out technic yet :D
 I like it 
  February 1, 2012
Love the scale !!!! The way you made those curves.....fantastic work !!!!
 I like it 
  January 31, 2012
I have gone back to a non-Lego project I had been working on before the Legos. I'm producing a video game. It was getting burned out on it that led me here, and I think that will have to happen again. I have plenty of MOC ideas, but am too hot to trot for the game to take the time now. We'll see what happens after another 6 months of frying my brain with writing code and such. Still a pleasure to check out your stuff Nick. Gives me my Lego outlet while preserving most of my time. Till your next MOC!
 I like it 
  January 30, 2012
Super car/
 I like it 
  January 29, 2012
You're taking us back in the 50's movies... What a challenge and what a great work! I love the way you endled the citroen symbol on the front: very clever!! And still, you insert so many details inside. Impressive!!
 I made it 
  January 29, 2012
Quoting Tom Simon Lovely job Nick. Masterful angling and curving.
Thanks Tom. Always nice to hear from you - have you recovered from your Mocathlon-induced burnout ?
 I like it 
  January 29, 2012
Lovely job Nick. Masterful angling and curving.
 I made it 
  January 28, 2012
Quoting Elk Guard Interesting to see that your other Citroen's are intact too, do you ever steal parts off of them?
Yes, all the time - I find it very difficult to take them apart!
 I like it 
  January 28, 2012
Superb shaping and styling! Interesting to see that your other Citroen's are intact too, do you ever steal parts off of them?
 I made it 
  January 27, 2012
Quoting Senator. Chincilla . Amazing job on this one! You're style of building manages to shine through the tiles, and to marvelous affect. I really like how all the functions haven't compromised the looks of the exterior, and the interior shines as a beacon to mustard spoons everywhere! =)
Thanks Senator C. I only hope the gearchange doesn't feel like stirring mustard...
 I like it 
  January 27, 2012
Well, now that's a pretty car. The curves are amazing!
 I like it 
  January 27, 2012
Oh, I love how you got the emblem on the nose and the mudguards are very nice too, terrific ;)
 I like it 
  January 27, 2012
Err...are you sick or what? No studs? 5/5 PS sorry for the late comment. :) ~LB Jr.
 I like it 
  January 27, 2012
Wow! It's a very good car. The bodywork is perfect, but the best thing is the brand! Well done!
 I like it 
  January 27, 2012
beautifull car, i love the olds citroen.
 I like it 
  January 27, 2012
Awesome! It's so realistic! Excellent work
 I like it 
  January 27, 2012
Haha, it looks so much bigger from the thumbnail! All of the functional features are VERY impressive, but the Citroen emblem on the grille just completes it for me. And while I think everybody likes the "huge" cars you've built before, I think I'd also like to see some more in this scale.
Nick Barrett
 I like it 
kenneth rattledge
  January 26, 2012
excellent model, nice collection you have too.
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Amazing job on this one! You're style of building manages to shine through the tiles, and to marvelous affect. I really like how all the functions haven't compromised the looks of the exterior, and the interior shines as a beacon to mustard spoons everywhere! =)
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Fantastic work. I love the way you made the citroen logo on the grill.
 I made it 
  January 26, 2012
Quoting Ben 289 very beautiful. My parents got married in one of those. 5/5
People with great style, obviously. Thanks Ben
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
No Studs!? Haha, great work, Nick! This is a stunningly clever design, and the subtleties of the shapes are captured quite nicely. I really had trouble telling the scale on this one, It seemed so much bigger, I still have a hard time believing it's as small as it is! Excellent details, and bravo with the working functions!
  January 26, 2012
Quoting Nick Barrett Studless Technic ? Heaven forfend, no. The roof does look like technic but it's done with bricks.
Oh, I had to look once more to realize that you used classic steering plates with bricks. I'm glad you are OK :-)) By the way, I bought the new orange trike yesterday, it has quite a lot Technic parts for Ä20,-. I'm still not getting warm with the studless Technic parts, but I have to admit, it has some advantages. Well, I'm a Trekkie AND a Star Wars fan, why not combine classic and studless Technic one day ;-))
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
I'm with Shifu, black and gorgeous mate.
 I made it 
  January 26, 2012
Quoting Senator. Chincilla . Wait a minute, ALL your Citroens? That doesn't bode well for your yellow 2CV =P
Quite a lot of the yellow 2CV is in the Ecurie Ecosse transporter. Blame Ape Fight ;-)
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Black beauty!
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Very impressive! The angles are masterful, and the SNOT is fantastic. Truly brilliant work!
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Wait a minute, ALL your Citroens? That doesn't bode well for your yellow 2CV =P
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Wonderful! I'm missing the studs only a little bit - but the curved shape is great!
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
very beautiful. My parents got married in one of those. 5/5
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Nice one, Nick!
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Beautiful!
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Well Nick, to be honest, this your best Citroen, next to the 'Cloverleaf'. I restrain to ask you to create a 2CV and a DS in the same style. :-). And I add it to my comment again: one of the references in this scale on the pages. I first thought to much sirup, but it has to be said.
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
looks great, very nice shaping and features. 5/5
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
ravishingly beautiful!
 I made it 
  January 26, 2012
Quoting Joost Cumps Looking at every picture I stopped, and noticed those little details who make this car so perfect. Every picture again, this build amazes more in it's perfection, it's shape,it's detail. However it is not 'your style', you made a brilliant studless build, without any doubt one of the references on the pages. Thank you very much for sharing!
Thanks Joost. A departure from my studtastic norm, for sure, but something I've wanted to do for a while. Glad you like it! :-)
  January 26, 2012
Ok, just a little less sirup in an edited comment: I especially like it's spot-on proportions,the combo of technic and 'normal' parts, how you achieved the door hinges, and also great work with the front suspension and steering. However it is not 'your style', you made a brilliant studless build. Thank you very much for sharing!
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Another mythic car in a very original style! Some nice solutions, but especially I like the front grill with the logo.
 I made it 
  January 26, 2012
Quoting Hot Rod
Thanks and btw English make absolute beauty cars too!
We do, but yours break down less... :-)
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Quoting Nick Barrett Strangely, no. I'm British but the French do make the best cars.
Thanks and btw English make absolute beauty cars too!
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Splendid! Keep up the great work, Nick!
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
MASTERFUL! :)
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Fabulous! This is great! There was one of these abandoned in an underground parking lot of an apartment in Senegal. Never took photos of it because I was small when I was living at that place and I never thought old cars were interesting. Your Citroen collection is coming out great. I can see that you are making a collection of classic ones but I want you to try one of the modern ones. ;) It would be great%
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Wow! Very good model. Some great techniques were used.... you definitely have a thing for citroens! :)
 I made it 
  January 26, 2012
Quoting Nils O. Wow, Nick, this one is awesome. But studless Technic - Are you OK, Nick, no fever or anything? ;-)) The result is great, nevertheless! I recognized it at the first glance, this classic movie gangster car. The details are very cool, especially the creative use of the small antennas :-) Your Technic funtions are top (as always), I love the rear suspension! Great job! :-))
Studless Technic ? Heaven forfend, no. The roof does look like technic but it's done with bricks. Thanks, Nils.
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
You did an excellent beauty Nick , with a lot of great solutions!
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Wow, Nick, this one is awesome. But studless Technic - Are you OK, Nick, no fever or anything? ;-)) The result is great, nevertheless! I recognized it at the first glance, this classic movie gangster car. The details are very cool, especially the creative use of the small antennas :-) Your Technic funtions are top (as always), I love the rear suspension! Great job! :-))
 I made it 
  January 26, 2012
Quoting Vibor Cavor The shape is definitely exact and so are the sides. Lovely work. Now I know your style is oldschool, brickish and stuff but that front looks very messy for my taste. It could be a bit cleaner, but that's just me. Either way lovely work!
It was a compromise between detail and proportion and detail won. Thanks for the comment, I don't disagree...
 I made it 
  January 26, 2012
Quoting Hot Rod Are you french?!
Strangely, no. I'm British but the French do make the best cars.
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Wow, this is outstanding my friend!
 I made it 
  January 26, 2012
Quoting Ape Fight I didn't recognise this as your creation, there are so few studs! It's awesome, the grill, doors and roof shaping especially. One of the nicest medium scale cars I've ever seen. AND you've got working functions in there too (see people, you can put steering and whatnot into any MOC). 10/10 : )
Thanks Ape. Although it's worth mentioning that I did without a show engine or opening bonnet to include them. It's just what I prefer to do.
 I made it 
  January 26, 2012
Quoting DeTomaso Pantera This was well worth taking time-out on the 'D' for! It's beautiful! I think I only counted 31 studs lol, what's happened Nick? Is your nose a bit conjested? I love the way you did the Citroen badge and those doors are exceedingly clever. We're going to need a very large table at this show, I hope you're going to bring these!
Haha! Yeah, I'm all bunged up now, but not for long ;-)
 I made it 
  January 26, 2012
Quoting MortalSwordsman . Itís wonderful. I love how you have created the curves and the door opening mechanism (via the B strut). The technical functions are excellent (as ever) especially the HOG and in-car steering which at this scale must have been very difficult. My favourite colour too :). Hope you are well
Thanks Joe. I'm very well indeed. I think a greater percentage of these were black than Model T Fords!
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
10/ 10 :)
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
The shape is definitely exact and so are the sides. Lovely work. Now I know your style is oldschool, brickish and stuff but that front looks very messy for my taste. It could be a bit cleaner, but that's just me. Either way lovely work!
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Are you french?! I've the feeling you are, because you do splendid french cars many times! This one is one of my favorite french car from the 30's an excellent "Frenchy" Hot Rod base! (The Hot Rod custom culture come to france some years later than in USA... ; ) ) and it wasn't "extreme" customisation rather than american ones... So, after this hisory page, Your Traction is very good! great details (Really like the front grill and the technic used for the CitroŽn logo!) 100/5 : )
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Absolument incroyable! Je suis tombť amoureux! - A fantastic build, I will take some time to explore all the details and functions. The silhouette is a masterpiece. Outstanding!
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
I didn't recognise this as your creation, there are so few studs! It's awesome, the grill, doors and roof shaping especially. One of the nicest medium scale cars I've ever seen. AND you've got working functions in there too (see people, you can put steering and whatnot into any MOC). 10/10 : )
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
This was well worth taking time-out on the 'D' for! It's beautiful! I think I only counted 31 studs lol, what's happened Nick? Is your nose a bit conjested? I love the way you did the Citroen badge and those doors are exceedingly clever. We're going to need a very large table at this show, I hope you're going to bring these!
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Itís wonderful. I love how you have created the curves and the door opening mechanism (via the B strut). The technical functions are excellent (as ever) especially the HOG and in-car steering which at this scale must have been very difficult. My favourite colour too :). Hope you are well
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Thats just brilliant!What a beauty!!No words!Keep up the great work!
 I like it 
  January 26, 2012
Brilliant!!! I love how you made the shape, it looks really good! The doors are just amezing. the steering is awesome. I love how you did the logo on front of the car!! 5/5 :-)
 
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