Citroen CX and Traction, The Heritage Innovation

Citroen CX and Traction

CX and Traction, The Heritage Innovation. There ANNIVERSARY 40 years born Citroen CX, heir to the Traction Avant appeared 40 years earlier. Two pioneering models, entry and exit points of the Michelin governance. At the end of the Great War, the reputation of André Citroën Polytechnicien beyond the small world of the automobile in which he was known by straightening finance pioneer Mors. Flying to the aid of the French army out of ammunition, the young artillery lieutenant accomplishes the unimaginable by building on the outskirts of Paris where a factory out shells and cartridges at a rate never seen before, with a rejection rate well lower than in traditional workshops. Three months earlier, on the famous Quai de Javel ranged melon bells gardeners.

With this ultra-modern factory, André Citroën had prepared for the conversion of its plant Quai de Javel before the end of the conflict. Decided to produce a good useful consumption recovery of his country, he stopped his choice on the car and did produce two prototypes: one of a bourgeois car similar to Mors he knew well and a small modest car and cheap .

Citroen CX and Traction

André Citroën chooses the small and the great ceded to the manufacturer Gabriel Voisin. A fervent admirer of the methods implemented by Henry Ford, the French realized that his great car even mass produced would require a much higher selling price that the majority of future motorists could pay. Conversely, the small car designed as a working tool would resonate with all segments of the population and its cost price would fall as qu'augmenterait distribution.

Thus André Citroën organizer put all his talent to the reduction of manufacturing costs, key to success of the conversion of its plant. To ensure fast installation, the first car to bear his name - the Citroën Type A launched in 1919 - multiplied design tips. The guarantee full interchangeability of its components constituted a breakthrough at a time when the parts master car engines were adjusted by hand by craftsmen companions jealous of their expertise. Less skilled, Citroën workers could simply reproduce a defined task, timed and monitored.

This logic of production would motivate André Citroën throughout his meteoric career (1919-1935). The obligation to sell more to cushion the huge investments never allowed respite in this industrialist who was accustomed to think big, very big. Such as when the process adopted by the American Budd for the manufacture of all-steel body, even as the Detroit manufacturers found it too expensive.

Citroen CX and Traction

This is because he knew he was desperate André Citroën ventured to combine the Traction Avant unprecedented amount of innovations intended to shelter the fashions and the competition for many years. Developed in record time, this model actually enjoyed exceptional longevity (even if one puts aside the termination of the war), but its completion imperfectly developed precipitated the collapse of the house and its takeover in 1935 by Michelin brothers, his first creditors. (Read about this review of the book: "Michelin, the conquest of the car").

Imperfect at birth, the Citroën Traction cost to independence. At its launch in 1934, the Citroen 7 A (soon nicknamed "Traction Avant" by the public) added to a whole new engine box and suspended all-metal construction, a monocoque structure called (integrated chassis to the body), a suspension torsion bars, four-wheel independent, a hydraulic brake control, rack and pinion steering (as of 1936) and front-wheel drive. This bold solution had certainly been seen on some American, British and German achievements but never applied in very large series or combined with many technical refinements. Indeed, Lefebvre engineer was not content to remove the transmission and rear differential shaft for Citroën Rosalie July 1 A. Formed in the school of genius Gabriel Voisin, "second of André Citroën adventure "had tried to make the 7 A more stable sedan than any contemporary sports car by spreading best axle load. He did so the Traction Avant one of the first cars ostensibly "heavy front and rear light" in order to focus on the front all the negative influences to drive (centrifugal force crosswind) . At the wheel of the Citroen, swerving were rare and the catalog of the time could validly proclaim: "We turns 90 without danger."

Michelin management. Michelin's candidacy for the resumption of André Citroën was supported by the Chambre Syndicale de l'Automobile, which feared that a foreign manufacturer does do its Trojan horse. In the manner of Ford and Fiat with Mathis with Simca. It took only three years to tire manufacturers to clean up the finances of the firm bleach and restore its position as the leading French manufacturer. This was not done without pain because while Andre Lefebvre corrected the teething problems of Traction, Pierre Michelin important methods of rigorous management. P. Verges discusses the free cuts in personnel expenses as in: local lighting was reduced, the rationed toilet paper and collaborators on a crowded office space two times less. The Bibs, as imported it nicknamed moreover their unhealthy culture of secrecy. The new recruits were undergoing a thorough investigation of morality before being assigned to the engineering department. Those who participated in the setting-au-point of the DS 19 were neatly compartmentalized, so a few days before the presentation of the car, they knew what his general appearance. Other times, other customs.

The particular mechanical architecture of the Traction Avant worth it surprising roominess at the time that allowed large very worthy gentlemen keep their hats. The onlookers were ecstatic at this silhouette lowered and flat floor for the first time, they rode over in a car, they let it fall. Besides Traction was one of the first in the world, two years before the tiny Fiat 500 "Topolino" to dispense with footstool.

Despite modern desired body, if not avant-garde, the Traction Avant masterfully designed by Flaminio Bertoni could not divest quite trademarks of their time. In the early 1950s, its separate wings, prominent headlights, her tiny windshield and the grille heraldry hopelessly dated. Even as the technical and dynamic level, this Citroën damnait still pawn younger and more powerful than her. Except drought of his suspension and the heaviness of his leadership the huge turning radius.

Citroën 15 Six (1951) The steering wheel diameter does not erase completely the heaviness of an overloaded direction relative to competitors propulsion models. Image © LQA - E. Bergerolle
The engineer André Lefebvre wanted to correct these defects with the fabulous Citroën DS 19 presented at the Paris Salon in 1955. Once again, the goal was to spare Citroën comfortably ahead of the competition. In twenty years of career, the DS probably evolved more than what the manufacturer had anticipated but his style and technique allowed him to escape the modes and costly modifications. Willingly economic management of Pierre-Jules Boulanger - Citroën orders placed with Michelin - is poorly accommodated the US practice of coming to throw dust in the eyes of the customer at every change of vintage.

This logic still prevailed at Citroën in the second half of the 1960s, when the study was started CX will replace the DS in 1974. She was the last Citroën conceived under the Michelin era before the assignment the same year 90% stake in rival Peugeot after the failure of the merger with Fiat.

Automotive history buffs like to imagine what the future has reserved for André Citroën had he not had to capitulate to the bankers in 1935. They forget too quickly that hacker, people Michelin became real curators. This is Pierre-Jules Boulanger who first believed in the potential of the Traction Avant and knew to look beyond its worries youth. It was he who let the rein of engineering engineers gathered around André Lefebvre in a design office which for nearly forty years, was free to undertake research with sometimes very little to do with the automobile.

Imagined around small engines, DS and CX treat their aerodynamic finesse. From the beginning of "The Project", it was assumed that one that was not called yet CX inherit the hydraulic system of the DS, long reliable. A significant saving in cost as time, which was to allow engineers to devote himself to the study of new engines. Las! Against all odds, the Citroën CX had to settle for versions deflated 4-cylinder 5 steps of its predecessor, itself derived engine designed for the Traction Avant. In the context of the energy crisis, two engines and three rotary piston envisaged for the CX were judged too greedy. Not to mention their uncertain reliability highlighted by the series of GS Birotor was not followed.

Citroen CX and Traction

The new car, however, took revenge on the DS since it had the right to install mechanical transversely to substantially lower its cover. Robert Opron avenged his Flaminio Bertoni predecessor was forced to redesign the DS designed around a 6-cylinder to flat (less bulky than the 4-cylinder Traction) that never saw the light.

In its book "Michelin, the conquest of the car," the journalist P. Verges discusses the financial difficulties that Citroën was heavily in debt to build the plant in Aulnay-sous-Bois, 12 years after that of Rennes, La Janais and abandon a Quai de Javel become too narrow. In 1973, the DS late career preceded the CX these ultramodern chains that have ceased operations in early 2014.

Citroen CX inherited the high pressure circuit and spheres of the DS, the enslaved reminder direction (DIRAVI) of the SM and the speedometer to roll under magnifying glass GS. It was his amazing driving qualities to that other innovation from DS, the famous steering pivot placed in the centerline of the wheel that allowed him to maintain course in case of puncture.

At first sight, therefore, the Citroën CX innovated less than its predecessors. Except to look in detail. Citroën CX 25 GTi Turbo 2 ABS (1989) The CX 25 GTi Turbo 2 Conservatory Citroën file on one of the huge parking lot of the factory in Aulnay-sous-Bois soon to be decommissioned.  The fineness of the hood Opron allowed to draw a rounded windscreen and long enough to allow the use of a single wiper blade. What reduce the drag coefficient in air (Cx) which gave its name to the car. To lower weight and cost, the box frame of the DS was replaced by an alliance between a thin floor, a lighter body and two very rigid cradles. Assembled on rubber wedges, they offered a semblance of horizontal suspension explaining unreal capacity to absorb CX blackcurrant and potholes. Ahead of its time, the Citroën CX was as the "first comprehensive safety car" with crumple zones, a monoline a deformable steering wheel and steering column, dashboard foamed having no sharp edge.

Citroen CX and Traction

Two Belles du Conservatoire Citroën. At the end of July, the Citroën Heritage Manager greets us at the Conservatoire protected enclave in the heart of vast deserts parking lot of the factory in Aulnay-sous-Bois. The blazing sun adds to the surreal side of the places that, far from television cameras, begin their removal. In honor of the eightieth anniversary of the birth of the Traction Avant and forty years of CX, Marc-André Biehler gives us the opportunity to drive a beautiful Citroën 15 Six of 1951 and a Citroën CX 25 GTi Turbo 2 ABS levied at the chain end in 1989 and preserved from Aulnay.

While there is no doubt that the 25 GTi Turbo 2 168 horses is the most complete version of the line of CX, it lacks the surname of the 15 Six a letter to make the Grail collectors. Built 3,074 copies from 1954 to 56, the 15 Six H enabled the Citroën design department to assess skills in real conditions of the hydropneumatic suspension system that would equip the DS 19.

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