1952 CITROËN TRACTION AVANT 15CV
QUEEN OF THE ROAD
Production Years: 1938-1955
Number Produced: 47,882
The 1952 Citroën 15CV, designed by André Lefèbvre and Flaminio Bertoni in 1938, stands as a testament to post-war automotive excellence. Affectionately known as the 'Traction Avant' or the 'Queen of the Road,' this iconic vehicle, remains a symbol of exceptional ride, handling, and performance—qualities that still hold up admirably by today's standards.
The list of pioneering innovations from the early 1930s for the Citroën Traction Avant is truly remarkable: crash-tested unibody, rack and pinion steering, and 4-wheel independent wishbone suspension utilizing torsion bar springs. True to its name, the 'Traction Avant' boasted front-wheel drive, a unit-constructed body with no separate frame, and an innovative layout that placed the wheels at the extreme corners, resulting in an incredibly low silhouette and outstanding road-holding capabilities.
Initially powered by a small 4-cylinder engine, the design was later extended to accommodate an inline six, earning it a French fiscal horsepower rating of 15 chevaux vapeur and the model designation, 15CV. Renowned for exceptional handling, comfort, spacious accommodations, and surprising speed, the 15CV, along with its smaller 4-cylinder sibling, the 11CV, became favorites in motorsports and featured prominently in films and chase scenes. The 1952 CITROËN 15CV was phased out in 1953 with the arrival of the DS. In 1954, the 15/6H achieved another milestone as the first to be produced with Citroën's revolutionary Hydro-Pneumatic suspension.
This particular model, favored by the French government and even by Charles de Gaulle, earned its place as the esteemed getaway car for French gangsters. It also became a favorite in motorsports for rear mid-engined race cars, including the 1958 Formula 1-winning Cooper T43—the first mid-engined car to win a World Driver’s Championship race.