Welcome Classic Citroen Fans!
OSL 282 - is a Front Wheel Drive, Citroen Traction Avant 11 BL (Legere) built in Paris in December 1952 (LHD) which we have taken over the care of which we thought (very naively) only required some general 'cosmetic' restoration work to the interior and exterior which turned into a 4.5 year 'rolling restoration'.
When the car went down the factory assembly line, the control number was the coque number (BR 34277). It was then tested, and a certificate issued, and the “date of commercialisation” recorded as 17th December 1952. (The engine casting has a date of 13th November 1952 and so appears to be original to the car.)
Then the dealer collected it, and it got its chassis serial number (610072) this could have been the same day, or even weeks later.
Why buy a 60 year old Traction Avant you may well ask? Well I have owned 'classic' cars before (some I learnt to drive in when they were new and not considered classics!) and for some reason always wanted a Traction. No ryhme or reason to it, I just 'needed' one....... and really needed to'scratch that itch'.
Now, finding the right Traction Avant is not so easy, there are often cars for sale, but care needs to be taken, as they can be expensive to repair if any mechanical faults exist. Gearboxes are one of the things I was told to be careful of and after driving a few during my search, I understand why.
I could have continued the search for a more 'luxurious' Slough Built (RHD) car, but realised after driving both variants, that there wasn't enough room in the drivers footwell for my size 10's in a Slough car. Also anything other than a 'Big Boot Legere' meant extending the garage!
OSL 282 was bought 'as seen' from a long term Citroen specialist who had taken the car in part exchange for another and had a list of recent works carried out already which included: Upgraded Cylinder Head to use unleaded petrol, Electronic Ignition, Water Pump, New Timing Chain and Sprockets, New Exhaust Manifold and Exhaust downpipe. New Fuel Pump, clutch rebuilt with old style lining, 1 replacement CV type Drive shaft on the offside. New Voltage Regulator (6v), Fuel tank sender, separate 12v battery for the starter motor, New brake pipes and flexible hoses.
Whilst the car looked 'reasonable' externally, it was not 'shiny' had a few 'parking' dings on the wings, paint damage on the bonnet edges and there is rust coming through the door bottoms and boot lid so it was decided that a full paint job was the best way forward. However the body is structurally sound with a good solid floor etc. and a lot of the external features like wings, bonnet and doors, simply bolt on.
The interior was a bit 'rough' as well (apart from the recently re upholstered seats in tan leather), and the rear window had been leaking water badly and the inner door panels were all bowed and buckled due to water getting at the backing 'cards'.
The carpets were also rotted so a full interior re trim followed the paint job, (apart from the original roof lining,) which we saved, though there are a good 6 inches missing under the rear window and the lower half of the wooden frame had rotted away!
Once the paintwork restoration was completed though it was found that the 6 volt system electrical wiring for the lights and indicators had suffered after 60 years of use, so the wiring loom required some repairs and some areas required complete replacement. In October 2013 the electrical system was upgraded to 12 volt with a 75 amp alternator.
The brakes however were not perfect so these were given a complete overhaul and as the near side front wheel bearing is a bit 'noisy' it was changed along with the driveshaft and a replacement 'CV' type has been sourced to replace the original 'Hardy Spicer' joint type.
Original Restoration: The Original Restoration Plan >>
No time for the full story, go to: The Restored 1952 Traction Avant Interior and Exterior >>
Last Update: 11th February 2017