Also known as the Traction Avant, or ‘Front Wheel Drive’, the 1934 Citroen Light 15 was a front-wheel drive pioneer; it ws basically the first mass-produced car to fully maximize the advantages offered by a front-wheel-drive configuration. Of course, that didn’t happen by itself, or by chance. André Citroen, Citroen’s namesake, was the mastermind of the Light 15, but development costs were so high that it led him to an early grave, and his beloved car company into the waiting arms of tire-manufacturing giant Michelin. Nevertheless, the Light 15 was a revolutionary car, not only for its use of front-wheel drive, but also for its monocoque construction, which was extremely rare in the 30s.
The Light 15 was powered by a choice of four- or six cylinder engines, with a displacement of 1.9 or 2.9 liters, and power output ranging from 46 to 80 horsepower. The fastest Light 15 could reach a top speed of 70 miles per hour, and accelerate to 60 mph in 23 seconds, which for 1934 were respectable figures.
The 1934 Citroen Light 15 was a standard setter for the automotive industry for years to come, and indeed remained in production, essentially unchanged, until 1957, when Citroen was certain that they had a winner in the incredibly popular and just as revolutionary DS.