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22 CV Traction Avant

Not strictly speaking a prototype, the 22CV was fully intended to be a production vehicle.

Anyone with a passing knowledge of CitroŽn will have heard of the 22CV - the "Super Traction" which was displayed at the 1934 Paris Salon. Publicity and sales material were produced but the car never went into production.

The 22CV employed the 11CV body shell but with a restyled front end incorporating phared-in headlamps and would have been available as a decapotable, berline and familiale.

Rumours abound however that a couple of V8 equipped cars were sold although this has never been confirmed. At least one prototype survived the war in the Javel basement onlty to be destroyed by Pierre Boulanger in the 50s. There is another rumour that refuses to die - apparently either a doctor or a dentist in Brittany or Gascony has a 22 CV locked up in a barn...

Above - proposal for frontal styling rejected as being too avant-garde

Above the Cabriolet shown at the Salon and below the plaque describing the car



As one might conclude from the model designation, the 22CV was a "double 11" - fitted with a V8 engine of 3.822cc capacity - double that of the 11CV's 1911cc.

Early prototypes were fitted with a Ford V8 . 

Certainly the models displayed at the Salon had sealed bonnets.

Publicity photos of the engine were allegedly of wooden mock ups.

The reasons for Michelin pulling the plug on this model were apparently due to problems with the constant velocity joints.

It was claimed that the 22CV would have had a top speed in excess of 140 kph (87 mph).

A number of prototypes were constructed and once the decision had been made not to go into production, rather than destroy them, they were fitted with standard 11 CV four cylinder engines and bonnet and wings and sold as 11 CVs.

A great deal of publicity material was produced for the entire Traction Avant range - 7CV, 11CV and the 22CV.

It was intended that an entire range of 22CVs would be sold, comprising Berline, Conduite Intťrieure, Familiale, Cabriolet and Faux Cabriolet.

Above and below pictures of the 1934 Paris Salon

Left although the bonnets of the cars shown at the Salon were sealed, this one photograph exists which shows the V8 fitted to the cabriolet.

None of the other pictures of the engine show it in situ.

A V8 engine was displayed alongside the car. It has been suggested that this engine was either a Ford V8 (which apparently had been used for test purposes) or a mock up.


Rear wheel drive, rear-engined 22CV

Left since 1934, the name CitroŽn has been indissolubly linked to the concept of front wheel drive and yet in 1936 the company proposed a rear wheel drive, rear engined MPV.

No prototypes have survived although there is some publicity material which shows a streamlined vehicle with a Kamm tail and with headlamps concealed behind a grill.

What is not clear is why a rear engined vehicle needed a grill unless it was purely for styling purposes. 

The 22 CV's V8 would have been the powerplant.

Again, it is not clear why this vehicle was never manufactured - perhaps it was felt that the Familiale versions of the Traction met the needs of large families or perhaps the world wasn't ready for an MPV.


© 1996 & 1997 Julian Marsh