Rare Citroën Traction Avant ‘Faux-Cabriolet’ to Be Auctioned.

A Traction Avant ‘Faux-Cabriolet’ will be auctioned on June 15th 2019 in Magny-Cours, near Nevers (France). A Faux-Cabriolet (two-door hardtop coupe)  is already very rare, but one in original condition, with only 2 owners since it has been delivered from the factory and with a very uncommon history….. this is really unique !

Estimated selling price is in the € 80.000 – 100.000 range.

You can find the auction listing here: https://www.metayer-auction.com/vehicules-anciens-et-de-collection-cycles-jouets-automobiles-et-plaques-emaillees-15062019/20620-lot-1.html

Read this story in the article written by Claude Bohère in «La Vie de l’Auto»  from May 23rd, 2019. (See the English translation in the text below the document).

The Colonel’s Traction Coupé…

How often does one come across an authentic Citroën Traction Coupé? Not very often. But an only second-hand Traction Coupé and with quite an unusual story? Please stay tuned, it is definitively worth it:

The story of this car starts on a 21st November 1934 at the French Citroën manufacturer building in Javel – Paris, exactly one month before Citroën had to file for insolvency. This day the body of the just mounted “faux cabriolet” car is erroneously registered as a “cabriolet” under the number AJ 02 99. At that time, the cars registrations were executed by hand at most of the car manufacturers. But this error shall be repeated twice again; firstly, when the bodywork was still in the production room of Citroën and was attributed a serial number, which was to be erased quickly due to two cabriolet commissions. Only on 19 of March 1937 will the car with the serial number 355420 and the type name 11 AL, then finally leave the production room. It will be exhibited at the Centre Automobile Est-Parisien, at Gustave Baehr’s, an important Citroën concession holder on Boulevard Voltaire in Paris. While the new 11 BL cars are already on sale, the blue “faux Cabriolet“ is still sporting details of the former production series: dashboard with mileage counter in the middle, two ventilation traps under the windscreen, symmetrical bonnet handles and not opposite, Gemmer steering (not rack and pinion), Houdailles suspension on the back axle. No doubt, the price tag was attractively lower than the official list price published by Citroën in March 1937. The sum of 28,500 Francs was the official asking price for a “Faux Cabriolet” 11 CV.

Colonel Marius Lhuillier cannot resist this offer; he acquires the car on the 19 of May 1937. The Bill of Sale still shows “Cabriolet”! Born in 1887, it is this Colonel Lhuilllier of all people who shall make military history: On the evening of the 7th November 1918, on the frontline between Fourmies and La Capell, this 25–year–old French captain had the historical task to receive the German officers asking for unconditional armistice to end the war. In 1937 Colonel Lhuillier is stationed at the Garrison of the 9th Alpine Soldiers’ Battalion in Antibes. His new car is now riding about the chic Côte d’Azûr, where the Colonel is often motoring with a couple of friends, the parents of the current owner! The wife of Colonel Lhuillier will be deported in 1943 and is never coming back. The “Faux Cabriolet” car is confiscated by a German Nazi officer. But during the liberation, the owner can easily identify his car as his property due to the tag number mounted on the glove box. The number trace of this sad period is still visible: a hole on the left-sided front wing shows where the military flag of the Nazi officer erroneously once was.

In 1965 the befriended couple and their son of 15 years pay a visit to the Colonel: the excitement of the adolescent in front of the coupé is so flattering that the Colonel generously offers the car to the boy. Since that time, the automobile has never left him. In 1977 the mechanics and electrics were completely redone and it was given new night blue and Oxford white paintwork. The underside and mechanicals were left original, as was the interior. The seating is still in original condition: cream fabric cover in the interior, brown moleskin headliner. The odometer reading shows just 63,300 kilometres, confirmed by the owner who drove the car only occasionally. But time marches on and this unique Coupé will have to find a proud new owner – only the third one in 82 years! The Citroën Traction faux Coupé will be offered on sale by Auction House Metayer Nevers – Paris on 15th of June on the racing grounds of Magny-Cours in France, not far away from Nevers in the Burgundy (www.metayer-auction.com).

1 comment

  1. Fascinating story… the cache of owning this lovely car and its unique history will continue… I hope the car doesn’t disappear into a museum and is displayed at various Citroën events around the world…

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