This year’s Canadian International AutoShow features a special display called “20th Century Disruptors” put on by Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance celebrating historic vehicles that made a difference.

The exhibit features 15 cars from throughout the 20th century, all beautifully and painstakingly restored. Among the cars shown are a 1904 Oldsmobile Model 6C, a 1912 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, a 1934 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante Coupe, a 1938 Delahaye 135MS Coupe, a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K, a 1959 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and a 1969 Lamborghini Miura S.

All fine and well, but if we’re talking about 20th Century Disruption in the automobile industry, a few Citroëns come to mind that arguably should be included, namely; the Traction Avant, the 2CV and of course, the DS.

The Traction Avant introduced the all-steel monocoque body and was the world’s first front-wheel drive production car.  It’s novel design was the pre-cursor to many modern cars still in production today! It also incorporated torsion bar suspension, hydraulic brakes and rack and pinion steering (which was installed for the first time in 1936).

Traction Avant 7A

The 2CV (or “deux chevaux”) is one of the most iconic cars of the 20th Century. Designed as an economy vehicle with uncompromisingly utilitarian unconventional looks and engineering, it was technologically advanced and innovative, with engineering such as front-wheel-drive and a front-to-rear compressed spring interconnected suspension system that gave it an incredible “floating” ride.

2CV

After 18 years of secret development as the successor to the Traction Avant, the DS was introduced in 1955 at the Paris Motor Show and was considered “out of this world’ as it boasted a unique automatic levelling hydraulic suspension system and dozens of other technical innovations that set it apart from anything else on the road.  Hydraulics were also applied to the clutch, transmission, steering and brakes allowing the car to achieve sharp handling combined with very superior ride quality frequently compared to a “magic carpet”.

DS 19

And the Mini and VW Beetle deserve to be in such a display.

Nevertheless, the cars on display are significant and each have a compelling story. The Bugatti Type 57 Atalante Coupe, the 1938 Delahaye 135MS Coupe, and the 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K are truly magnificent automobiles to behold.

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K

“Each of these beautiful cars can be considered a disruptor in the automotive industry,” says Rob McLeese, Founder and Show Chair of Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. “They changed the game when they were introduced with new technologies or styles. They made a difference, and turned things in a new direction.”

The Autoshow runs from February 14 – 23, and is well worth a visit. And for those that cannot attend the show in Toronto, we are pleased to provide this photo gallery of the Cobble Beach Classics on display:

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmLpqW6p

With more than 650,000 square feet of exhibits, displays and attractions at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and annual attendance of 360,000, the Canadian International AutoShow is the largest automotive expo in Canada. It boasts more than 1,000 cars, trucks, SUVs, concept cars, exotics, classics, muscle cars, fully electric and autonomous vehicles each year.

On September 19 & 20, 2020, the 8th annual Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance will be held at the 574-acre Cobble Beach Golf Resort community on the shore of Georgian Bay outside Owen Sound, Ontario. You just might see some Citroëns there! More info is at: https://www.cobblebeachconcours.com/.