International Trophy Sale 2013

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1953 Citroen Traction Avant Big 6 Peacock Roadster

Lot No.: 350

Registration: NXT 669
Chassis Number: 9/537533
Engine Number: PS67080
Number of cylinders: 6
CC: 2866
Year of Manufacture: 1953
Sold for (£): Unsold


At the Paris Motor Show, in 1934, the 'Traction Avant' was launched. André Citroën's dream of the first mass produced front wheel drive automobile was, at last, exhibited by the French manufacturer. From 1934 to 1957 about 760,000 units were produced throughout Europe at factories in France, Belgium , Holland and England, each powered by a 4 or 6 cylinder engine. In addition to the 9 variants of the 4-door saloon, the car was also produced as a 2-door coupé with a dickey seat and the 2 door cabriolet. Citroen only produced the Traction Avant Roadster between 1934 and 1940, nearly all of which used 4 cylinder engines; about 70 were produced in the UK at the Citroën factory in Slough. In Paris about eight cabriolet body shells were commissioned for the larger 6 cylinder engine but ultimately only six were ever finished. They were built at the Javel factory, all in left hand drive. All Citroën were waiting for was an order from the UK for a 6 cylinder version and the car would undoubtedly have been assembled in Slough.

In the late 1980's our vendor commissioned the build of what is essentially the seventh Big Six Roadster from Peacock Engineering. In the early 1980's, Peacock Automotive Engineering from Loughborough, Leicestershire had started to gain a reputation as a leading authority on these very desirable Citroëns. What began as a business repairing customers' cars soon developed into fabricating new panels and pressings from scratch. Having built up the necessary press tools, jigs and machinery to assemble body shells, orders were taken to produce their own brand new cabriolet bodies. An authentic Peacock Roadster is therefore rather more than merely a saloon with the roof modified.

The original Citroen 1934 to 1940 Cabriolet examples were all hand built, with additional strengthening to the box members, bulkheads, floor pans and dickey seat areas. Peacock body shells were constructed in exactly the same way but with the benefit of modern day corrosion inhibiting steel and rust proofing methods such as thorough Waxoyling.

A Slough built donor car was essential to the build of this car, and 'NXT 669' - a 1953 Slough-built Big 6 located in Liverpool was perfect. This would provide the front sub frame, rear axle and the power train to create this magnificent car. We are informed by the vendor that all of the power-train was subject to a major mechanical strip and rebuild, as well as the back axle, front sub-frame, suspension, brakes and steering were all reconditioned. The engine was rebuilt with white metal bearings, new pistons and wet liners so the whole car runs like new. The well-known Aldridge Trimmers of Wolverhampton were appointed to refurbish the leather and walnut interior and also manufacture a new 'duck' convertible hood. The last known UK chrome grille was reserved for the new Peacock Roadster.

Throughout the last 30 years the Peacock Roadster has spent much of its time in France and Europe alongside, at one time, a collection of more than 17 Citroëns. The jewel in the crown of the collection, this is not just a classic design that has stood the test of time for 50 years, but a hand-built example that is likely to appreciate in value over the next fifty years.  A very rare and very special motorcar.