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Rosalies in Australia

When I bought my very much un-restored 1933 CitroŽn 8A tourer in 1971 I did not realise just how rare these cars were. It must be remembered that in the early 1930s the world was in the midst of the Great Depression and Australia was just as affected as Europe or the US. As a result, new car sales were low and the Australian CitroŽn Agents were trying to sell an unpopular “foreign” car against the much more common English and American vehicles.

To add to the confusion, the CitroŽn was offered with three different engine sizes, the two larger ones in two different chassis sizes and all offered in sedan, coupť, tourer and roadster body styles. The 15 A was also offered as a 7 passenger sedan.

Since obtaining my car, I have done a lot of research into CitroŽns of the era and found sales were very low, particularly away from the more populous States of Victoria and New South Wales. Here in Queensland, with low population and vast distances, registrations barely reached double figures for 1933.

As I know, there are only two restored Rosalies in Australia, a 10AL sedan and my tourer. There are a few “gunna do” sedans of various models but no other of any body style. So mine is the only tourer and it is different from any other as it has an Australian built body.

Above: the first drive in 1980 after restoration

I got my car on the road in 1980 with the restoration drawn out by setting up a new home and family commitments.

Due to some problems, I replaced the restored 8A engine with the larger one from a 10A wreck and ran this for many years.

Restoration 2003
As the 1980 paint work began to deteriorate, in 2003 I decided to do a repaint and correct the problems in the original engine. There have been a couple of modifications with the fitting of the 1934 down-draught carburetor, vacuum advance and 12 volt electrics. I rallied the car for many years on Club events but more recently it gets very little use as I no longer get real enjoyment driving it mainly due to my age (it is younger than I am).

CitroŽn sales in Australia were affected by tariff constraints as they were in England which lead to the setting up of CitroŽn Cars Ltd. at Slough. Major mechanicals were made in France but cars were built at Slough using English components such as Lucas electrics and Rudge Whitworth wire wheels.

Cars were then imported into Australia in chassis/cowl form and the bodies built here. Flood Body Works in Melbourne built the sedans and coupťs while T.J. Richards Body Works, Adelaide did the tourers and roadsters. The Flood sedan bodies are much more attractive than any others I have found on the internet (see red car below), having a “bustle” rear boot.

Since 1975 it has shared my garage with a 1940 Austin 10 sedan which has done less than 60,000 miles. I treasure both cars, but do not know what the future holds for them as my family are not interested in the old car movement.

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

© 2008 Reg Harris/CitroŽnŽt