Have you come across video clips posted online like this one showing footage of Citroën’s “Super Traction Avant” the 8 cylinder 22CV?
Sorry to tell you but no 22CV have been known to survive. Citroën produced at least nine 22CV’s. Perhaps as many as 20 by expert accounts. Roadster, coupe, sedan and familalle versions were all displayed at the 1934 Paris Salon. Publicity and sales material were produced but the car never went into production. However at the time Citroën was filing for bankruptcy due in good measure to the development cost of the Traction Avant and Michelin was taking over control of the company. Extravagance had to cease and two reported crashes of 22CV’s did not endear management to take it any further.
All 22CV’s were ordered by Pierre Boulanger (Citroën’s Managing Director at the time) to be dismantled or converted into 11CV Tractions. Conversion meant: removal of specific 22cv nose and V8 engine and fitting of 11 (4 cylinder) engine and nose. They were then sold to employees of the factory or friends of the developers. The luxurious interior and other specific 22 details remained with the car. Three cars were retained by the Bureau d’Etudes as test beds for the Bibax driveshaft dampers of the 15-6 until early 1937, but were almost certainly scrapped.
We won’t go into a full history of the 22CV here. (For that read Fabien Sabatès and Hervé Laronde’s book La 22 – Enquête sur use Mystérieuse Citroën). The point of this article is let you know that all the internet video clips featuring the 22CV are of one car and it is a replica that was fabricated by a Dutch dentist by the the name of Bouwe de Boer. Clips like this one showing Dr. de Boer’s garage:
The replica was made from 1985-89, and is powered by a Ford side-valve V8 mated to a Renault 16 gearbox. The engine choice was both practical and reasonably authentic as only 2 of the 22CV prototypes are thought to have had Citroën developed V8 engines. The balance (that were running at least) had Ford 8 cylinder power plants.
Dr. de Boer started with a post-war 11 Normale body shell. The “bulge” trunk lid was removed and a flush external tire boot-lid mounted. Up front a 15-6 hood with louvers was modified to single “22” style vents on each side. The front fenders were widened by about 2 inches and integral front headlamps were created using the lenses from a pre-war Chenard et Walcker. About the only visual clue to Dr. de Boer’s creation not looking like the original 22CV is that the little grills below each headlight do not actually have the correct number of vertical slats. To his credit the car was made to look well worn; like a barn find that was just dusted off and fluids changed to go back on the road. It has an uncanny “long lost charm” about it.
Dr. de Boer’s 22CV replica was on display at the 75th Anniversary of the Traction Avant meet in Arras, France back in 2009.
Given all the effort by Dr. de Boer to make it look like the real thing, we suppose people can be forgiven for thinking it is. If you’d like to hear the 22CV replica running (and it sounds very sweet) just click on this link:
We must admit it’s pretty cool to see a running CV22 and can’t help but wonder what it could have become had Citroën the cash and resources at the time to refine it a bit further.