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Tout Acier - all steel bodywork

On one of his trips to the USA, Andrť CitroŽn visited the Budd company who had developed an industrial process for manufacturing car bodies entirely out of steel. Originally developed for the construction of railway coaches and buses, the system could be readily adapted for use in motor cars. Hitherto, CitroŽn, along with nearly all other motor manufacturers built car bodies in the traditional manner - out of wood, leather and metal. The Budd process was revolutionary since it resulted in a very strong structure that resisted deformation and which was also very much safer in the event of an accident than the traditional bodywork.

In 1924, upon his return to Paris, CitroŽn instructed the Bureau d'Etudes to apply this new process to the new Type B and he sent numerous engineers to Budd to work out the subtleties of the new process. Presses weighing 1400 tonnes were ordered from Budd and within a matter of a few months, much to the astonishment of Budd's engineers, CitroŽn had a production line up and running at the Quai de Javel.

The investment was enormous - huge electrical welding machines unlike anything else on the European continent enabled the company to mass produce cars on a previously unknown scale.

And CitroŽn made sure that his publicists made the most of this innovation - for the first time ever, safety was used to sell cars.

© 1996 Julian Marsh/CitroŽnŽt/SA Automobiles CitroŽn