1952 Citroen

France is known for its idiosyncratic automobiles built by forceful, determined individuals, including Bugatti, Renault, Talbot, Delahaye and Voisin, as well as equally unique coachwork from houses like Figoni et Falaschi and Saoutchik. None, however, combined innovation and individuality with any more effect than Andre Citroen. The Paris firm's innovations were many including early adoption of all-steel bodies. In 1934 Citroen introduced the Traction Avant which made anything built elsewhere in the world immediately outdated. As its name implied it was front wheel drive. The body was unit constructed with no separate frame. The engine and front wheels mounted to a separate subframe. The wheels were placed at the extreme corners of the car allowing the body to be dropped between them for the lowest silhouette of anything on the road, and a low center of gravity that delivered outstanding road holding and dynamics. Initially powered by a small 4-cylinder, the package was soon lengthened to accept an inline six. With 2,867cc displacement it had a French fiscal horsepower rating of 15 chevaux vapeur. Thus its model designation, 15CV. Popular throughout Europe for good handling, comfort, roomy accommodations and a surprising turn of speed, the 15CV and its smaller 4-cylinder sibling the 11CV have featured in hundreds of films and chase scenes. This remarkably original example shows just 62,000km on the odometer, a reading which is backed up by its condition. It was purchased in France, probably by a U.S. serviceman, and shipped back to the U.S. in 1956. The black paint and chrome trim have been redone as has some of the dark grey-brown cloth interior which otherwise is sound and original. A huge documentation file goes with it. The original operator's instruction sticker is still fastened inside the glove box lid and the glove box itself contains many original papers, books and a driver's handbook. It rides on a new set of Michelin radials. A Citroen 15CV is rare in the U.S., to say nothing of a carefully preserved and highly original 15CV such as this.

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