It’s ironic how Traction Avants that you think you lost track of seem to turn up again. Case in point is this 1939 11BL that one of our members, Nazar Miszcuk, had a friend check out for him 10 years ago in Toronto and advertised for sale on the Citroën Autoclub Canada website at the time. It was stored in an apartment garage near Bathurst and Sheppard streets in Toronto and its condition then was questionable, but for a 1939 Traction it had very low mileage, (just 16K kilometers) and with a few things like; an original 3-spoke steering wheel in decent shape which is very hard to find, and presumably an engine and gearbox with very little wear, and Pilote wheel rims, it made the car worth considering. In fact another member of the Club, Larry Lewis knew of the car having seen it in the same garage about 5 years prior. Nazar’s friend took the following pictures:
Nazar recalls the ad for the car back in 2007:
For Sale – 1939 Traction Avant 11BL
1939 Citroën 11BL. This is a one of a kind pre-war Citroën. Imported from France in 1975. I am the second owner. The original owner was the chief of police in Lyon, France. This baby has only original 16,000 Kms. It has been in storage since 1975. It needs restoration and a new home. The lucky Citroënthusiast will be the proud new owner of this head turning unique beauty anywhere/ any show it goes. Moving sale opportunity. Price negotiable.
Nazar thinks he was asking $7 or $9K CAN back then. Ultimately Nazar found a 1937 Traction 7A in New Jersey that was in slightly better shape and purchased it. Working in it on for a few years he has managed to get it to the point it is now a really nice Traction!
In 2013 Nazar, moved to San Francisco and took his Traction with him. He has a passion for Citroëns of that era (and earlier) and constantly searches online for them. Surfing Kijiji ads in Ontario Nazar noticed a familiar vehicle for sale on Ft. Erie and let us in nearby Toronto know about it. The ad was shorter this time but with 2 photos:
After a few emails back and forth, we determined that is was the same vehicle he and Larry saw in the Toronto garage and Lewis said he was heading in the direction of Ft. Erie in a couple of days and would stop by to check it out.
What Larry found was indeed the same car but a little worse for wear because it has been stored outside in a tent. As the following pictures show, its condition now is pretty much a parts car worth something for the Pilote wheels (which most likely have rust structural issue that will require re-welding), gearbox, starter and generator and the three-spoke steering wheel which is “unobtanium,” but that’s about it. The headlights have disappeared as well as some of the interior trim, and the original carb has been swapped out for a later one. It does look like it has some serious structural damage to rear axle mounting. With first pothole the rear axle will be gone!
Murray said a guy wanted to make a hot rod out of it and Larry told him that would probably be the best thing for it, it’s really too far gone for anything else. If that were to happen though, it would be good to save the gearbox, starter and generator. Toward the end of the conversation Murray said that the would take $2,500 for it. Larry decided to pass…
It’s very unfortunate how people neglect cars. If you are going to make an investment in a classic, at least understand that it it also requires basic maintenance and decent storage location to not only remain in decent shape, but to retain its purchase value. In any event, it’s unlikely we are going to see the Traction as anything but the shape of a street rod in the future.