by Pierre Wattecamps….
I am refurbishing a very rare 1951 Traction Avant Light 15 with left hand drive! N° 135 186. There is an interesting history to the car.
In 1951 the french druggist of the “Pharmacie Internationale” of Casablanca, Pierre Sabbah wanted a Citroën Traction but not the common only black french model. So he asked for a special order for the Slough made “De Luxe” Light 15, with red leather trim, wooden dash, sliding sunroof, in light metalic grey and… left hand drive of course!
Few LHD Light 15 were made. According to Olivier de Serre 304 in total:
– 68 in 1949
– 110 in 1950
– 97 in 1951 (serial numbers 135179 to 135275. Mine is 135186.)
– only 15 in 1952
– 7 in 1953 and in 1954
25 years later, in 1976, Pierre Sabbah retired in Strasbourg and brought the car to Alsace. In the 90’ his son Bernard Sabbah inherited the car and took it to Perpignan (the capital of the Pyrénées-Orientales region of southern France. But unfortunately Bernard died young. For years the Light 15 slept in the far end of a shed.
The car came into the hands of his sister Erika who decided to sell it in an auction in Perpignan on the 20th of November 2003. The son of Philippe Lassons (Tractions sans Frontières), Emmanuel, purchased the car. But, too busy in his job, the car stayed in hibernation for 10 more years.
In 2012, Emmanuel Lasson had to leave Perpignan for Athens. The english Traction was transported in Collonges-la Rouge in Corrèze. In June 2012 I visited Philippe and Nana Lasson, and went to see that car! And I bought it!!
Why ? – I recalled an old memory where, in 1973 when living in Northern France by Lille, I purchased my first Traction, a 1951 11B from a very old farmer near my wife’s village. Two weeks later we went to Waterloo by Bruxelles to meet the Belgian ACA members. There I discovered, for the first time of my life, a oh-so-pretty red Traction! And it was right-hand-drive! (At that time I didn’t know that Tractions were made in GB! (Someone there told me it was a Traction “anglaise” with RHD of course.) I have retained several images of that car in my mind for 40 years ! And that’s why old dreams can true!
The car is now in total refurbishing; The engine and gearbox at the moment. Then, this winter, the bodywork, paint, trim… I hope it will be ready for Spring 2014 and the 80th Anniversary of the Traction Avant meetings.
Otherwise, I’m a happy Citroên enthusiast as I have owned a 15H (now in hands of Richard Boudrias in Montréal). I have in my garage a 1968 DS21 cabriolet, a 1956 2CV AZ long hood, and a 1956 11 B “rough-and-tumble” driver with which I travelled with “Tractions sans Frontières” as far away as Malaysia – Thaïland in the summer of 2010 and Argentina – Bolivia and the Altiplano (Andean Plateau) in in the winter of 2012.
Best wishes to from a French Citroën enthusiast;
Fleur de Sel
10 rue des saulniers
F – 85330 Noirmoutier (an island on Atlantic coast in Western Loire 60 mi. south of Nantes)