Curbside Classic: Citroen 11CV – A Traction Avant Sends Its Greetings From Switzerland

Mathis ( says this fine late-model Citroen 11CV is a regular visitor in his neighborhood in Switzerland, and often spends the night outside. Looks like it’s none the worse for it. Let’s take a closer look, including that alloy gearbox hiding behind the grille.

Yes, that’s the gearbox, since the Traction Avant, and the DS/ID that replaced it, had their engines behind the front axle, the reverse of the Audi’s configuration. And if you look closely, that’s the transmission’s input shaft (I assume) protruding into the grille opening for the hand-crank starter, a feature many French cars kept, some until the early seventies, like the Peugeot 404.

This is the “Light” version of the 11CV, with a shorter wheelbase. It was more commonly in use as a personal vehicle, as the “Normal”, with tis extended rear passenger compartment, was popular for taxi service and governmental work, and such. We covered some of the other details of the Traction Avant here, and Mathis’ full set of pictures are here at the CCCohort.