Citroen Traction Avant 11B Cabrio, 1938
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The Citroën Traction Avant was an automobile produced by the French manufacturer Citroën.
The Traction Avant, designed by André Lefèbvre and Flaminio Bertoni in late 1933 / early 1934, was the first front wheel drive car in large scale production. Cord had built front wheel drive vehicles a few years earlier in limited quantities at high prices.
The car introduced the use of an arc-welded monocoque frame, where other cars of the era were based on a frame onto which the body ("coachwork") was built. Monocoque construction results in a lighter vehicle, and is now used for virtually all car construction, although body-on-frame construction is still suitable for larger vehicles such as trucks.
The method of construction was viewed with great suspicion in many quarters, with doubts about its strength. A type of crash test was developed, taking the form of driving the car off a cliff, to illustrate its great inherent resilience.
The novel design made the car seem very low-slung relative to its contemporaries — the Traction Avant always possessed a unique look, which went from appearing rakish in 1934 to familiar and somewhat old fashioned by 1955.