Henri Chapron was a prominent French automobile coachbuilder. His atelier, created in 1919, was located in the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret. Chapron was born in Nouan-le-Fuzelier, began his career developing custom body designs for French luxury vehicles, like Talbot and Delahaye, in the 1920s. France ceased building vehicles of this type in the 1950s, due to tax legislation that made luxury vehicles prohibitively expensive in France. Chapron switched his attention to the launched Citroën DS. At first, Chapron customised them as one-off creations. Many of these became unique convertible variants, he soon supplied Citroën directly, distributing a "Décapotable usine" through their worldwide dealership network - 1,365 cars in all. In 1968, Chapron made a special extended DS Presidential model for the government of Charles de Gaulle. In 1972, Chapron delivered two SM Presidential models to the government of Georges Pompidou; these gigantic 4 door convertibles were first used for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to France and continued in use through the inauguration of Jacques Chirac in 1995.
Henri Chapron died in Paris in 1978, the company itself survived for some time under the direction of his widow. Less than five months after Chapron's own death the company presented a Landaulet bodied conversion constructed for a rich Dutch customer, based on a lengthened Peugeot 604. There were hopes this might lead to a low but steady production of similar conversions, as had happened during with Chapron's lengthened specials based on the Citroën DS; that did not happen, but the company did produce some special luxury versions, with lavishly equipped interiors, of the Citroën CX. Operations ceased in 1985. Heuliez Official web site Coachbuild.com Encyclopedia: Chapron
A luxury vehicle is intended to provide passengers with increased comfort, a higher level of equipment and increased perception of quality than regular cars for an increased price. The term is subjective and can be based on either the qualities of the car itself or the brand image of its manufacturer. Luxury brands are considered to have a higher status than premium brands, however there is no fixed differentiation between the two. Traditionally, luxury cars have been large vehicles, however contemporary luxury cars range in size from compact cars to large sedans and SUVs; some car manufacturers market their luxury models using the same marque as the rest of their models. Other manufacturers market their luxury models separately under a different marque, for example Lexus and Bentley. A luxury car is sold under a mainstream marque and is re-branded under a specific luxury marque. For mass-produced luxury cars, sharing of platforms or components with other models is common, as per modern automotive industry practice.
Several car classification schemes which include a luxury category, such as: Australia: Since the year 2000, the Federal Government's luxury car tax applies to new vehicles over a certain purchase price, with higher thresholds applying for cars considered as fuel efficient. As of 2019, the thresholds were AU$66,000 for normal cars and AU$76,000 for fuel efficient cars. Europe: Luxury cars are classified as F-segment vehicles in the European Commission classification scheme. France: The term "voiture de luxe" is used for luxury cars. Germany: The term German: Oberklasse is used for luxury cars. Russia: The term (автомобиль представительского класса is used for luxury cars. Rental cars: The ACRISS Car Classification Code is a system used by many car rental companies to define equivalent vehicles across brands; this system includes "Luxury" and "Luxury Elite" categories. The criteria for a vehicle to be considered "luxury" is not published; the premium compact class is the smallest category of luxury cars.
It became popular in the mid-2000s, when European manufacturers— such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz— introduced new entry level models that were smaller and cheaper than their compact executive models. Examples include the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Audi A3, Buick Verano, BMW 1 Series, Lexus CT 200h, Infiniti Q30, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Mercedes-Benz B-Class, Volvo C30, Volvo V40, BMW i3. Premium compacts compete with well-equipped mid-size cars, optioned premium compact cars can have pricing and features that operlaps with compact executive cars. A compact executive car is a premium car smaller than an executive car. In European classification, compact executive cars are part of the D-segment. In North American terms, close equivalents are "compact premium car", "compact luxury car", "entry-level luxury car" and "near-luxury car". Executive car is a British term for an automobile larger than a large family car. In official use, the term is adopted by Euro NCAP, a European organization founded to test for car safety.
It is a passenger car classification defined by the European Commission. The next category of luxury cars is known in Great Britain as a luxury saloon or luxury limousine, is known in the United States as a full-size luxury sedan or large luxury sedan, it is the equivalent of the European German Oberklasse segment. Many of these luxury saloons are the flagship for the marque and therefore include the newest automotive technology. Several models are available in long-wheelbase versions, which provide additional rear legroom and a higher level of standard features. Examples of luxury saloons / full-size luxury sedans include the BMW 7 Series, Cadillac CT6 Genesis G90, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Lexus LS, Porsche Panamera. Luxury cars costing over US$100,000 can be considered as "ultra-luxury cars". Examples include Maybach 57 and Bentley Arnage. Exotic cars which are targeted towards performance rather than luxury are not classified as ultra-luxury cars when their cost is greater than US$100,000. Several entry-level models from low-volume luxury car manufacturers, such as the Bentley Continental GT and the Rolls-Royce Ghost have been described as "entry-opulent" cars.
Many ultra-luxury cars are produced by brands with a long history of manufacturing luxury cars. The history of a brand and the exclusivity of a particular model can result in price premiums compared to luxury cars with similar features from less prestigious manufacturers. V12 engines are common in ultra-luxury cars. Long before the luxury SUV segment became popular in the 1990s, the vehicle in this segment was the 1966 Jeep Super Wagoneer, marketed at the time as a station wagon, it was the first off-road SUV to offer a V8 engine, automatic transmission, luxury car trim and equipment. Standard equipment included bucket seating, a center console, air conditioning, seven-position tilt steering wheel, a vinyl roof and gold colored trim panels on the body sides and tailgate. By the late 1970s, optional equipment included an electric sunroof, The 1978 Jeep Wagoneer Limited was the spiritual successor to the Super Wagoneer and was the first four-wheel drive car to use leather upholstery. Another precursor to the luxury SUV is the Range Rover, released in 1970.
It was the first road-going vehicle to have a permanent four-wheel drive system, split
Delahaye automobile was an automotive manufacturing company founded by Émile Delahaye in 1894, in Tours, his home town. His first cars were belt-driven, with single- or twin-cylinder engines mounted at the rear, his Type One was an instant success, he urgently needed investment capital and a larger manufacturing facility. Both were provided by a new Delahaye owner and fellow racer, George Morane, his brother-in-law Leon Desmarais, who partnered with Émile in the incorporation of the new automotive company, "Societe Des Automobiles Delahaye", in 1898. All three worked with the foundry workers to assemble the new machines, but middle-aged Émile was not in good health. In January 1901, he found himself unable to capably continue, resigned, selling his shares to his two equal partners. Émile Delahaye died soon after, in 1905. Delahaye had hired two instrumental men, Charles Weiffenbach and Amédée Varlet in 1898, to assist the three partners. Both were graduate mechanical engineers, they remained with Delahaye their entire working careers.
Weiffenbach was appointed Manager of Operations, with the blessing of both George Morane and Leon Desmarais, assumed control over all of Delahaye's operations and much of its decision-making, in 1906. Amédée Varlet was the company's design-engineer, with a number of innovative inventions to his credit, generated between 1905 and 1914, which Delahaye patented; these included the twin-cam multi-valve engine, the V6 configuration. Varlet continued in this role until he took over the Drawing Office, at 76 years of age, when much younger Jean François was hired in 1932 as chief design-engineer. In 1932, Varlet was instructed by Weiffenbach, under direction from majority shareholder Madame Desmarais, Leon Desmarais' widow, to set up the company's Racing Department, assisted by Jean François; those who knew him well at the factory affectionately referred to Charles Weiffenbach as "Monsieur Charles". Delahaye began experimenting with belt-driven cars while manager of the Brethon Foundry and Machine-works in Tours, in 1894.
These experiments encouraged an entry in the 1896 Paris–Marseille–Paris race, held between 24 September-3 October 1896, fielding one car for himself and one for sportsman Ernest Archdeacon. The winning Panhard averaged 15.7 mph. For the 1897 Paris-Dieppe, the 6 hp four-cylinder Delahayes ran in four- and six-seater classes, with a full complement of passengers. Archdeacon was third in the four-seaters behind a De Dion-Bouton and a Panhard, Courtois winning the six-seater class, ahead of the only other car in the class. In March 1898, 6 hp the Delahayes of Georges Morane and Courtois came sixteenth and twenty-eighth at the Marseilles-Nice rally, while at the Course de Perigeux in May, De Solages finished sixth in a field of ten; the July Paris-Amsterdam-Paris earned. Soon after the new company was formed in 1898, the firm moved its manufacturing from Tours to Paris, into its new factory. Charles Weiffenbach was named Operations Manager. Delahaye would produce three models there, until the close of the 19th century: two twins, the 2.2-litre 4.5 hp Type 1 and 6 hp Type 2, the lighter Type 0, with a 1.4-liter single rated between 5 and 7 hp.
All three had bicycle-style steering, water-cooled engines mounted in the rear, automatic valves, surface carburetors, trembler coil ignition. In 1899, Archdeacon piloted an 8 hp racer in the Nice-Castellane-Nice rally, coming eighth, while teammate Buissot's 8 hp was twelfth. Founder Émile Delahaye retired in 1901, leaving Morane in control. Delahaye's racing days were over with Émile Delahaye's death. Charles Weiffenbach had no interest in racing, focused his production on responsible motorized automotive chassis, heavy commercial vehicles, early firetrucks for the French government. Race-cars had become a thing of the past for Delahaye, until 1933, when Madame Desmarais caused her company to change direction 180 degrees, return to racing; the new 10B debuted in 1902. It had a 2,199 cc vertical twin rated 12/14 hp by RAC, mounted in front, with removable cylinder head, steering wheel, chain drive. Delahaye entered the Paris-Vienna rally with a 16 hp four. At the same year's Ardennes event, Perrin's 16 hp four came tenth.
In 1902, the singles and twins ceased to be offered except as light vans. Delahaye's first production four, the Type 13B, with 24/27 hp 4.4-litre, appeared in 1903. The model range expanded in 1904, including the 4.9-litre 28 hp four-cylinder Type 21, the mid-priced Type 16, the two-cylinder Type 15B. These were joined in 1905 by a chain-driven 8-litre luxury model, one of, purchased by King Alfonso XIII of Spain. All 1907 models featured half-elliptic springs at the rear as well as transverse leaf springs, while shaft drive appeared that year, chain drive was retained on luxury models until 1911. In 1908, the Type 32 was the company's first to offer an L-head monoblock engine. Protos began licence production of Delahayes in G
Delahaye 175 was an automobile manufactured by Delahaye between 1947 and 1951. The last of the large Delahayes, the type 175 was a brand new chassis and engine; the chassis bore little resemblance to the preceding Type 135, other than in the cockpit area, with its welded driveshaft tunnel and perimeter-welded stamped-steel floor that acted as a stressed structural member. It introduced the semi-monocoque chassis structure to the automobile realm; this revolutionary approach allowed the seat rails to be mounted on the bottom-plane of the chassis, instead of sitting on top of it, as competitors were doing. Their chassis had a heavy X-braced cruciform in the middle of the passenger compartment, with the driveshaft passing through a hole at intersection.. This methodology allowed a Coachbuilt Delahaye body to be lower in profile than the competition; the rigid chassis delighted France's coachbuilders for its remarkable rigidity, low profile stance, its comfortably expansive rectangular passenger compartment.
The new 4.5-litre engine was visually similar to the preceding Type 135, but larger, improved. It had seven main bearings, versus the Type 135's four, its cylinder head had six intake and six exhaust ports, twelve in all, versus nine in the standard Type 135; the larger engine was breathed better. The new Type 175 chassis was different from the 135 in dimensions and structural design, it had a larger. Parallel-sided central structure, whereas the Type 135's tapered from the cockpit's rear cross-member forward, was narrower, both at its extremity, behind the driver, the footwell forward. A distinct feature of this new chassis, was the nearly round open hoop through both rear chassis-rails, through which the DeDion tube and the differential's splined half-shafts extended out to the hub-carriers, on to the rear leaf springs; the rear section of the chassis aft of the cockpit was visually similar to the Type 57 Bugatti in this respect. More modern suspension than that of the Type 135 was featured in the 175/178/180 chassis-series.
Delahaye's Type 135 had independent front suspension, a proprietary system it shared with Delage and Talbot-Lago. The new 4.5-liter chassis had a untried independent front suspension, unfamiliar to Delahaye. This was the proven Dubonnet-licensed independent suspension system replacing the outdated proprietary system used in the Delahaye Types 135, 145, 155, 165; the Dubonnet system was not unproven, since it was adopted by General Motors in 1933, as well as by Alfa-Romeo, Vauxhall. Time proved the Dubonnet system to be problematical, unless it was fastidiously serviced and rigorously maintained. Oil-seal leaks caused component seizures, notorious internal component breakage; the new chassis's rear DeDion suspension system had earlier been employed by Delahaye, in its infamous Type 155 grand-prix "monoposto". Like the Type 155, the Type 175, 178, 180 DeDion system featured a rigidly mounted differential in a cast aluminum housing containing a Gleason hypoid final-drive gear-set, with a curve-formed large-diameter steel tube connecting both rear hubs.
The rear wheels were driven by splined half-shafts. The semi-elliptical rear leaf-springs were conventional, dampened by lever-arm hydraulic shock absorbers, instead of outdated friction-type; the new inline six-cylinder overhead-valve engine produced between 140 and 160 brake horsepower, depending on whether a single Solex carburetor, or triple Solex carburettors were fitted. The standard compression ratio was a modest 6.8:1. The optional Type 175-S had an increased compression ratio, for enhanced performance; the Type 175-S racing engines employed by Charles Pozzi, France's champion driver, Eugene Chabaud, had a claimed 9.1:1 compression ratio, with its three horizontal Stromberg carburetors, was claimed to deliver over 220 brake horsepower. The higher performance Type 175S came with two factory options: Rudge wire-wheels; the front's new grille designed by young in-house designer, Philippe Charbonneaux, in a corporate effort to develop a particular Delahaye "face" after the war. Delahaye required coachbuilders to use the new corporate grille design, although several of the more famous, such as Joseph Figoni, Jacques Saoutchik, Henri Chapron were given artistic licence.
The new six-cylinder 4.5-litre engine in these cars carried the "183" casting code, was made in two visually distinct forms. The first series were stamped Type 1AL-183, as were found in the six pre-production chassis known about by 1946, but the majority of the production motors were stamped as being Type 2AL-183. These came out of the same "183"casting molds, but of revised configuration, with modifications made for easier production, cost saving, internal reinforcement of the bottom end; the transmission was a clever semi-automatic electrically shifted solenoid-actuated four-speed Cotal epicyclic gearbox. The shift lever protruding from the transmission operated forward and reverse only, the car being capable of being driven in either direction with the same four gear-ratios - only to be attempted by the brave or fool-hardy, as was proven by racing-team owner Rob Walker. After having spent World War II building railroad rolling stock for the German occupiers, Delahaye was included in deputy director General Paul-Marie Pons' 1945 plan Pons for French industry and engineering.
His Plan Pons was a five-year program for the reconstruction of French industry, a supposed source for incoming
A preselector or self-changing gearbox is a type of manual gearbox used on a variety of vehicles, most in the 1930s. The defining characteristic of a preselector gearbox is that the manual shift lever is used to "pre-select" the next gear to be used a separate control is used to engage this in one single operation, without needing to work a manual clutch. Most pre-selector transmissions avoid a driver-controlled clutch entirely; some use one for starting off. Preselector gearboxes are not automatic gearboxes. A automatic gearbox is able to select the ratio used. There are several radically different mechanical designs of preselector gearbox; the best known is the Wilson design. Some gearboxes, such as the Cotal, shift gears as the control is moved, without requiring the separate pedal action; these were considered under the same overall heading. In recent years, a similar role is carried out by the increasing number of'Tiptronic' or'paddle shift' gearboxes, using manual selection and immediate automated changing.
For the driver, there are two advantages: Fast shifting, with only a single operation. This requires less skill to learn than techniques like double declutching and it offers faster shifts when racing. Ability to handle far more engine power, with a lighter mechanism. In engineering terms, some designs of pre-selector gearbox may offer particular advantages; the Wilson gearbox offers these, although they're shared by some of the other designs though the designs are quite different: Their friction components are brakes, rather than clutches. These are simpler to engineer, as the wear components can be arranged to not be rotating parts; the friction wear components can be mounted on the outside of the mechanism, rather than buried within it. This makes regular adjustment easier, they were common on Daimler cars and commercial vehicles, Alvis, Talbot-Lago, Lagonda Rapier and Armstrong Siddeley cars as well as on many London buses. They have been used in racing cars, such as the 1935 ERA R4D, hillclimbing cars such as Auto Union "Silver Arrows".
Military applications began in 1929 and included tanks such as the German Tiger I and Tiger II in World War II, through to current tanks such as the Challenger 2. Many pre-selector designs made use of a series of epicyclic gearboxes; the Viratelle epicyclic pre-selector gearbox is the first one known designed and used from 1906, used on Viratelle motorcycles with 3 speeds but on cyclecars with 3 forward speeds and a reverse gear. The Wilson pre-selector gearbox is the best known design and is the archetype meant when the term "pre-selector gearbox" is used without further qualification. Major W. G. Wilson was rewarded as one of the major co-inventors of the tank after World War I, he had been involved with the development of transmissions for tanks the problem of their steering gearbox. He had become an advocate for the benefits of the epicyclic gearbox, which allowed large torques to be transmitted whilst still being controllable through a small input force. In 1917, Wilson designed the Mark V tank.
Wilson's major claim for its advantage was that the epicyclic system allowed control through a brake, rather than through a clutch, "a brake can stand more punishment than a clutch and is easier to judge in its application". This was the first of the heavy tanks that could be driven by a single driver, without requiring him to signal orders inside to others working the secondary gear levers. Since 1900, the Lanchester Motor Company had built cars with manually controlled epicyclic gearboxes, first with a cone clutch with multi-plate clutches; these formed the ratio-changing gearbox of the transmission. In 1918, an experimental tank "Lanchester Gearbox Machine" or "Experimental Machine K" was tested, fitted with an epicyclic gearbox built by Lanchester. After the War, Wilson had a considerable reputation as an engineer of genius for gearbox design. In 1928 he patented his design for a novel pre-selective gearbox. Various manufacturers produced preselector transmissions under licence to the Wilson patents.
Wilson himself formed a partnership with J. D. Siddeley of the car maker Armstrong Siddeley, first under the name of "Improved Gears Ltd." later as "Self-Changing Gears Ltd.". As its name suggests, gear changes were made by selecting a gear ratio in advance of its being needed; the chosen gear was brought into operation by pressing and releasing the'gear change pedal', the left pedal, installed in place of the usual clutch pedal. It is not to be confused with an automatic transmission, in that both the ratio chosen, the moment for gear changing, are controlled by the driver; the Wilson gearbox was produced with a variety of clutches. The best-known is the fluid flywheel, used for touring cars such as the Daimler and the Armstrong Siddeley. Sports cars used a Newton centrifugal clutch; this was a multiple plate dry clutch, similar to racing manual clutches of the time, but with the pressure plate centrifugally actuated to engage at around 600rpm. Pure racing cars, such as the ERA, avoided a clutch altogether and relied on the progressive engagement of the gearbox's band brake on lowest gear when starting.
The Wilson gearbox relied on a number of epicyclic gears, coupled in an ingenious manner, Wilson's invention. A separate epicyclic was required for each intermediate gear, with a cone clutch for the straight-through top gear and a further epicyclic for reverse. Four gears were provided, at a time when
The layout of a car is defined by the location of the engine and drive wheels. Layouts can be divided into three categories: front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. Many different combinations of engine location and driven wheels are found in practice, the location of each is dependent on the application for which the car will be used; the front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout places both the internal combustion engine and driven wheels at the front of the vehicle. This is the most common layout for cars since the late 20th century; some early front-wheel drive cars from the 1930s had the engine located in the middle of the car. A rear-engine, front-wheel-drive layout is one in which the engine is between or behind the rear wheels, drives the front wheels via a driveshaft, the complete reverse of a conventional front-engine, rear-wheel-drive vehicle layout; this layout has only been used on concept cars. The front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout is one where the engine is located at the front of the vehicle and driven wheels are located at the rear.
This was the traditional automobile layout for most of the 20th century, remains the most common layout for rear-wheel drive cars. The mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout is one where the rear wheels are driven by an engine placed just in front of them, behind the passenger compartment. In contrast to the rear-engined RR layout, the center of mass of the engine is in front of the rear axle; this layout is chosen for its low moment of inertia and favorable weight distribution. The rear-engine, rear-wheel drive layout places both the engine and drive wheels at the rear of the vehicle. In contrast to the MR layout, the center of mass of the engine is between the rear axle and the rear bumper. Although common in transit buses and coaches due to the elimination of the drive shaft with low-floor bus, this layout has become rare in passenger cars; the Porsche 911 is notable for its continuous use of the RR layout since 1963. Car drivetrains where power can be sent to all four wheels are referred to as either four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
The front-engine, four-wheel drive layout places the engine at the front of the vehicle and drives all four roadwheels. This layout is chosen for better control on many surfaces, is an important part of rally racing as well as off-road driving. Most four-wheel-drive layouts are front-engined and are derivatives of earlier front-engine, rear-wheel-drive designs; the mid-engine, four-wheel drive layout places the engine in the middle of the vehicle, between both axles and drives all four road wheels. Although the term "mid-engine" can mean the engine is placed anywhere in the car such that the centre of gravity of the engine lies between the front and rear axles, it is used for sports cars and racing cars where the engine is behind the passenger compartment; the motive output is sent down a shaft to a differential in the centre of the car, which in the case of an M4 layout, distributes power to both front and rear axles. The rear-engine, four-wheel drive layout places the engine at the rear of the vehicle, drives all four wheels.
This layout is chosen to improve the traction or the handling of existing vehicle designs using the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. For example, the Porsche 911 added all-wheel drive to the existing line-up of rear-wheel drive models in 1989. Automobile handling Car classification Drivetrain layout
Citroën Traction Avant
The Citroën Traction Avant was a range of 4-door saloons and executive cars, with four or six-cylinder engines, produced by the French manufacturer Citroën from 1934 to 1957. 760,000 units were produced. The Traction Avant pioneered mass-production of three revolutionary innovations adopted since, still used today: front-wheel drive, four-wheel independent suspension, the use of a crash resistant, monocoque body. Additionally, the car was one of the earliest mass-production adopters of pinion steering. Although the car's name emphasized its front-wheel drive power delivery – the car stood out at least as much by its much lower profile and stance – made possible by the absence of a separate chassis under the car's unitary body – distinguishing it visually from its contemporaries; the Traction Avant, French for front-wheel drive, was designed by André Lefèbvre and Flaminio Bertoni in late 1933 / early 1934. The Traction Avant pioneered front-wheel drive on the European mass car market, along with DKW's and Adler's 1930s models.
Front-wheel drive had just appeared for the first time through luxury vehicle manufacturers Alvis, which built the 1928 Racing FWD in the UK, Cord, which produced the L29 from 1929 to 1932 in the United States. The Traction Avant's structure was a welded unitary body / chassis. Most other cars of the era were based on a separate frame onto which the non-structural body was built. Unitary construction results in a lighter vehicle, is now used for all car constructionThis unitary body saved 70 kg in steel per car, it was mass-produced. Weight reduction was a motivation for Citroën; this method of construction was viewed with great suspicion in many quarters, with doubts about its strength. A type of crash test was conceived, taking the form of driving the car off a cliff, to illustrate its great inherent resilience; the novel design made the car low-slung relative to its contemporaries – the Traction Avant was always distinctive, which went from appearing rakish in 1934 to familiar and somewhat old fashioned by 1955.
The suspension was advanced for the car's era. The front wheels were independently sprung, using a torsion bar and wishbone suspension arrangement, where most contemporaries used live axle and cart-type leaf spring designs; the rear suspension was a simple steel beam axle and a Panhard rod, trailing arms and torsion bars attached to a 75-millimetre steel tube, which in turn was bolted to the main platform. Since it was lighter than conventional designs of the era, it was capable of 100 km/h, consumed fuel only at the rate of 10 L/100 km; the scale of investment in production capacity reflected André Citroën's ambitions for the car. Site preparation began during the winter of 1932/33, on 15 March 1933 demolition of the existing 30,000 m2 factory started. Construction of the new factory started on 21 April, by the end of August the building's shell had been erected, four times the size of the factory that it replaced, using 5,000 t of structural iron and steel. All this was achieved while continuing to produce several hundred Rosalies every day.
With characteristic showmanship, André Citroën celebrated by inviting 6,000 guests – dealers and agents and others who would be involved in selling and promoting the car – to a spectacular banquet in the new and at this stage still empty factory, on 8 October 1933. Citroën's gesture came to be seen as hubristic, as the ensuing months became a race against time to finish the development of the car and tool up for its production before his investors lost patience. In the end the first car was presented at Citroën's huge Paris showroom on 18 April 1934, by which time principal dealers had had their own private unveiling on 23 March. There had been much chatter and speculation, before April 1934 the details of the car had been kept remarkably quiet outside the walls of the Quai de Javel plant. Volume production formally started on 19 April 1934. Although the revolutionary unitary bodyshell was, according to most reports, not affected by the rushed launch schedule, problems with transmission joints and the hydraulic brakes – another "first" in a volume car in Europe – reflected the financial pressure to get the car into production as as possible.
Traction Avant, which translates as "front wheel drive," is not the official name. The car was named according to the French fiscal horsepower rating, or CV, used to determine annual car tax levels. However, manufacturers did not change the model name every time a change of engine size caused a change in fiscal horsepower. For example, in 1934, Citroën introduced the 7CV, unofficially the 7A, they continued calling the car 7CV when the 7B model's larger engine pushed it into the 9 CV tax band. Other designations were 11CV, 15CV and 22CV. In France, the Traction is known as "Reine de la Route". In September 1939 France declared war on Germany and in June 1940 the German Army invaded and occupied Northern France; the war years were characterised by a desperate shortage of raw materials for civilian industry and of petrol, but these factors were not apparent instantly. The Paris Motor Show scheduled for October 1939 was cancelled at short notice. For the Traction Avant, the last “normal”