Mar 3, 2013

Citroën cars at Adlams European


I'm not really a car person. I also pass by this building quite regularly but have rarely really looked at it. The other day though... I guess I just looked up while passing it. In the window among much newer models is this old-timey car. It always faces forward like it hates being in there and wants to escape to the road again. After sketching the building, I asked permission to draw this classy roadster. The owner and staff were very welcoming as I sketched. I actually learned a lot about Citroëns while I was there! In particular, the car that I was drawing is a 'Big Six' (6-cylinder) variant of a Traction Avant (which is French for 'front-wheel drive'). I guessed that the car was a 1940's model. I was wrong; it turns out that it was made in 1954! Being no expert, I am used to 1950's cars being big American cruisers. It occurred to me that France didn't come out of World War 2 as affluent as America did. One of the effects of this is that France just kept making the same cars and didn't have extra money for new fancy designs. (The first Citroën Traction Avant was built in 1934!)

As I sketched and chatted, I discussed the 2CV and the legendary Citroën DS. Just before finishing, I noticed that the discussion was less about the specifications of each car and was more about anecdotes and driving stories involving each car. Maybe this is what being a car person is... less about the facts of owning, driving and tinkering these vehicles and more about how they change and become part of your life.