Traction Venerability — Film Archive Proof

Jean Sunny was the ‘King of Driving on Two Wheels’.  Born on August 15, 1928 in Roubaix, Nord, France, he got hooked on stunt driving after seeing, the “Hollywood Auto Rodeo” in 1954.  He was convinced he could do the same sorts of things, and very soon afterwards founded the “Europe Auto Rodeo”, becoming the first person in Europe to drive a car on two wheels.  He once drove a rear-engined Simca from Paris to Chartres, a distance of about 120 kms with the car tilted up an angle the entire time!  

His trick in doing so was to over-inflate the tires and lock the differential.

In addition to all the side-wheeling, Jean Sunny, along with a support team, had a traveling car-stunt  show called ‘Crash-Cars’ that traveled all over Europe and the Middle East in the mid-’60s, using French cars such as Simcas and Renaults, but he seemed have a penchant for the Traction Avant.  No wonder, as Tractions have an incredibly strong uni-body shell construction, just what Sunny needed for his high-impact stunts.  

Check out this British Pathé newsreel about Jean Sunny.  While a bit disheartening to see Tractions trashed — it certainly shows their integrity!

Jean Sunny is also known for his work on Fantomas (1964), Drôles de zèbres (1977) and Les étoiles de la chanson (1971).  He died on August 27, 2007 in Gonesse, Val-d’Oise, France, but his legacy lives on…

And here’s another video clip showing the venerability of the Traction Avant.   The 13 Hours of France 2 told its story on March 26, 2021.  It begins in a French garage belonging to Dominique Bellière, who has 3 Tractions in his collection.  It shows footage of Tractions during the war, General Charles De Gaulle’s 15-6, gangsters also made the car a legend, footage of the last one made and, of course, the “drive of the cliff” film that Citroën made in 1934 to demonstrate the Traction’s strength.   A must watch (in French) here:

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