The Paris to Peking Challenge

Project Proposal

The 2002 Paris to Peking Challenge
e-mail:    Tel: 07789 674167     Fax: 0208 699 3238

The CitroŽn Traction Avant:

Automobiles CitroŽn started making cars in 1919, with the production of the Type A. The Type A was one of the first European cars to be built on an assembly line following the practice of the construction of the famous Ford Model T.
Despite being an innovative company, by the 1930's Automobiles CitroŽn was running out of ideas and running out of money. A new model was needed, and it had to be a revolutionary automobile. Andrť LefŤbvre was engineer for the project, and Flamino Bertoni was responsible for the design of the car. They came up with the Traction Avant - 'Traction Avant' means front-wheel drive and was used by CitroŽn to distinguish the new models from the models still in production with rear wheel drive (Propulsion ArriŤre). Most people soon adopted the new term and the revolutionary cars became called, simply 'Tractions'. They were the first front-wheel drive production line cars in the world.

On March 3rd 1934 the first Traction Avant, the Type 7, was presented to the dealers and it was an immediate sensation. The car had a uni-body, front-wheel drive, independently sprung front wheels, torsion bar suspension, hydraulic brakes, rubber motor mounts for the engine, and so on. Compared to what was on the roads at the time, the new Tractions were quite remarkable.

During WWII, the Tractions were a favourite of the French Rťsistance because of their agility and road holding. For this reason it's quite difficult these days to find a pre-war Traction in reasonable condition. Most of them 'died' for the French people while fighting against the Nazi occupation, and during the war car production at CitroŽn was practically non existant, because the company was building military vehicles for the French armed forces, and later on in the war it was forced to produce vehicles for German armed forces.
After the war, CitroŽn began manufacturing cars again and the Traction Avant continued being improved. The last CitroŽn Traction Avant, an 11CV Familiale, rolled off the production line in July 1957 with no big fuss. Finally, it was just another outdated car.

And now, almost half a century later, will one of these old beasts make it all the way from Paris to Peking..? Yes, we think so...

Introduction     Itinerary     Route map

Costs/Paperwork     1907 Paris to Peking rally

The 2002 Paris to Peking Challenge
e-mail:    Tel: 07789 674167     Fax: 0208 699 3238