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1936 Traction Avant 'Normale"
Goal amount for this year: 518 USD, Received: 295.00 USD (57%)
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1936 Traction Avant 'Normale" 1936 Traction Avant 'Normale" 1936 Traction Avant 'Normale" 1936 Traction Avant 'Normale" 1936 Traction Avant 'Normale"
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    1. Kit: Heller, by (Active Member) jrhaddock is offline
      Builder Last Online: Dec 2018 Show Printable Version Email this Page
      Model Scale: 1/8 Rating:  Thanks: 1
      Started: 04-18-18 Build Revisions: Never  
      Supported Kit Bashed Attribution Scratch Built
      Build in Progress

      Although I'm still finishing construction of a 1933 Gurney Nutting Rolls-Royce, that work was put on hold over the winter.
      In the meantime, I've started a new project; a 1936 Citroen Traction Avant 'Normale'.
      The platform will be the Heller kit of a 1952 Traction Avant 15-Six, but the 1936 version will feature a 4-cylinder engine, not the 6-cylinder engine in the Heller kit. There will also be a large number of other changes including dashboard, seats, fuel tank, exhaust system, rims and tires.

      So why a 1936 Traction Avant?
      Most of my other models are 1930s vehicles; from the engineering excellence of Rolls-Royce to the inexpensive 'everyman's car' of the Austin Seven. First launched in 1934, the Traction Avant fits in the middle. But, more importantly it was the first mass produced car to feature front wheel drive and monocoque construction. It was a comfortable family car with excellent road holding and very attractive styling. There was literally nothing else like it. The Traction Avant marked another milestone in the rapid transformation of motor cars in the 1930s. a shift that truly welcomed in the age of mass motoring.

      Conveniently, Heller had produced a kit of a 1952 6-cylinder version of the Traction Avant, But, in keeping with the transformative theme of the 1930s, I wanted to model a version of the Traction Avant that was close to its original launch in 1934. At launch, in April 1934, the ‘Tractions’, (designated 7CV, a reflection of the tax code into which the engine fell), had a 4-cylinder engine. The 6-cylinder engine wasn't introduced until 1938. The 7CV also utilized a shorter, narrower body than the 1952 version.
      But, in Sept 1934, new 11CV versions were launched which had a bigger 4-cyl engine. One version, with a longer, wider body, was called the 'Normale' and initially designated 11A. That body is very similar to the 1952 6-cylinder version. So a 1936 version of the 11A 'Normale' seemed like a real possibility without pressing my modeling skills too far. A 4-cylinder engine, plus its associated gearbox and engine cradle, would have to be built. But that seemed like a reasonable challenge.

      My goal is to build historically accurate models. But, as is typical with 1930s cars, drawings are generally hard to find. So a significant amount of research is needed to identify the right components and to find and verify key dimensions.
      Fortunately cross-section drawings of the 4-cylinder engine and gearbox exist, as well as overall body layouts.
      Below are cross-sections of the 6-cylinder and 4-cylinder engines. You can see the significant differences:

      1936 Traction Avant 'Normale"-4cyl-vs-6cyrevsd-jpg

      And this body layout drawing shows the differences between the 7CV and the 11N (Normale) in 1935. This is really helpful since it let me confirm that the Heller body and the 1935 11N body were virtually the same.

      1936 Traction Avant 'Normale"-body-section-dimensions-1935-jpg

      With the Austin Seven I had learned CAD and experimented with 3D printed parts. That had worked well so I decided to use 3D printed parts for the Traction Avant. In essence I would make my own trans-kit. The hardest part has been fleshing out the dimensions of all the parts (or, at least, getting as close as I could to the real dimensions). Living in North America, I don't have access to real Traction Avants, so that made it somewhat harder. Nevertheless, bit by bit, I was able to piece the engine/gearbox/front suspension assembly together.
      Here's a comparison of a photo of a prototype 4-cylinder engine with a rendering of my own CAD drawing:

      1936 Traction Avant 'Normale"-front3qeng-gboxcompcrpd-jpg

      Next up was drawing the radiator (squarer and more upright than the one for the 6-cylinder engine) as well as the narrower engine/gearbox cradle. After that, the front suspension components could be added as shown in these two renderings:

      1936 Traction Avant 'Normale"-lhs-front3qabovecmp-jpg

      1936 Traction Avant 'Normale"-lhs-rear3qabovecmp-jpg

      The tires have the same profile as the early tires used on Tractions Avant, but the tread pattern is incorrect. It has subsequently been changed. By 1952, the tires had changed to a wider and more rounded profile so new tires would have to be made for the model.

      All of the above should give you an introduction to the 1936 Traction Avant. In subsequent postings I'll include more detail. In the meantime, most of the 3D parts are on order ... a few hundred of them!!
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  1. jrhaddock's Avatar Active Member
    Name
    John
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    Oct 2006
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    It has just occurred to me that, despite some excellent prior postings on building the Heller kit, some members may not be familiar with the overall appearance of the 1936 Traction Avant. These two photos will, hopefully remedy that situation:
    This is a 1936 'Normale'. There are several detail differences between this version and the 1952 15-Six, particularly with respect to the grill, seats and interior trim.

    1936 Traction Avant 'Normale"-36-normale-frontr3q-jpg

    and this is the traditional photo showing the front wheel drive assembly separated from the body:

    1936 Traction Avant 'Normale"-traction_20crpd-jpg


    1936 Traction Avant 'Normale"
    QUOTE QUOTE #2

  2. Haddewade's Avatar Established Member
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    Mark
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    Jul 2013
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    hmmm now that's my cup of tea, here some links to dutch belgium website's will maybe helpful in you're research.

    https://www.traction-avant.nl/

    http://www.kulsdom.be/links.htm

    I Build the 1954 version myself from the Heller Kit, it was Hell to get it all nice and flush but the car is just so wonderful that u forget all the struggling after it is build.
    QUOTE QUOTE #3

  3. jrhaddock's Avatar Active Member
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    John
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    Haddewade;
    Thanks for the links. It looks like there are some excellent detail photos on the traction-avant.nl site. Very useful. I only wish my Dutch was better!!
    I did join the UK Traction Owner's Club. Of course the site is in English, which helps enormously, but they also have an excellent technical section. It has been very worthwhile.
    It still amazes me how hard it is to find accurate dimensioned drawings. But, like a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces have to fit and so one dimension leads to another, which leads to another, and so on. When each new piece of information fits with what you already have, you know you're close.
    Complicating things are the large number of changes made the Tractions Avant between 1934 and 1937. This is especially true of the engine, gearbox and front suspension. But I think I've got most of it figured out now.

    Although I intend to post more details of the front end, the following picture shows the overall progress I've made with the drawings for the overall vehicle;
    1936 Traction Avant 'Normale"-3qfrontcmp-jpg

    I don't really need to finish drawing the complete vehicle since much of the body will be from the Heller kit. But I did want verify the overall dimensions and also identify what other Heller pieces needed to be changed or modified. The floor pan is drawn to the 15-Six kit. Same thing with the door outlines. The wheelbase and front and rear tracks are consistent with a '36 'Normale'.
    Individual front seats were available as an option in '36, I think, but I've chosen to build the model with the more common bench seat. As with the front end, there were a lot of changes made to the interior between '34 and '37 so it has been a bit of a challenge to figure it out. But I think I have the seats right now. If I don't please let me know!

    At this point I'm confident enough to start assembling the body. As you (and others) have pointed out it will take some care to get everything flush. But it will be good to start some real assembly work!


    1936 Traction Avant 'Normale"
    QUOTE QUOTE #4

  4. Haddewade's Avatar Established Member
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    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhaddock View Post
    Haddewade;
    Complicating things are the large number of changes made the Tractions Avant between 1934 and 1937.


    That's typical Citroen, the did that til the production of the famous XM (1990 til 2000) In the 10 years of production there where hundreds of little changes.
    I drive a XM myself, and to be able to do the most of the maintenance myself a have over half a meter of technical books Citroen provide to the dealers where every change is described. t me it's typically French, the use what ever they had in stock
    QUOTE QUOTE #5

  5. jrhaddock's Avatar Active Member
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    John
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    My Gurney Nutting RR Phantom II is finished and I've been able to concentrate on the Traction Avant.
    The focus has been building the complete front end for the 4-cyl 11A 'Normale' which includes engine, gearbox, front suspension and front-wheel drive train. It is now complete as you can see in these photos:

    1936 Traction Avant 'Normale"-img_0522cmp-jpg


    1936 Traction Avant 'Normale"-img_0568crpdcmp-jpg

    1936 Traction Avant 'Normale"-img_0555cmp-jpg

    1936 Traction Avant 'Normale"-img_0458crpdcmp-jpg

    1936 Traction Avant 'Normale"-fuelpump-distb-jpg

    Here's a comparison of the (almost) completed engine and gearbox vs. an original isometric Citroen drawing:

    1936 Traction Avant 'Normale"-enginecomps3-jpg

    In the model above, the fan belt, ignition wires and the downspout for the crankcase breather have still to be added. Still, I'm pleased with the outcome.
    Much more detail is available on this page of my website: http://www.jrhscalecars.com/TractionAvantEng&Gbox.html
    On this page you'll see a link the unfolding build story. It's a 24 pp, 9MB PDF file that describes how the build progressed and includes a lot of photos.
    You might find it interesting.

    Come the new year, my focus will shift to building the body and making the changes to the Heller kit necessary to reflect a '36 Normale.

    John


    1936 Traction Avant 'Normale"
    QUOTE QUOTE #6

  6. jrhaddock's Avatar Active Member
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    John
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    Here's the link to the build story. It has a lot more detail and more photos:
    http://www.jrhscalecars.com/'36%...2012-11-18.pdf


    1936 Traction Avant 'Normale"
    QUOTE QUOTE #7

  7. Scott H.'s Avatar Active Member
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    Scott
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    Beautiful work!! What kind of 3D printer are you using? I'm in the research phase, but am going to take the jump soon.
    QUOTE QUOTE #8

  8. Roy vd M.'s Avatar Active Member
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    Roy
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    Hi John,

    That's a marvellous and highly original project you've chosen.

    If I can be of any help, feel free to let me know. I have a repair manual for the six cylinder car (which may be of use for the four cylinder versions) but I also have the parts catalogue for the four cylinder cars. In case you need a couple of pictures, don't hesitate to ask.

    [B]6-cyl. book:[/B]






    [B]4-cyl. book:[/B]






    QUOTE QUOTE #9

  9. Haddewade's Avatar Established Member
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    Mark
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    Nice progress John!

    @Roy, wanna sell the book to me? Groeten, Mark
    QUOTE QUOTE #10

  10. Roy vd M.'s Avatar Active Member
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    Roy
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    Hi Mark, nice to see you here! :)

    I'm not sure about the 6-cyl. book but I'm sure the 4-cyl. book can be found for sale online. It's a reproduction and I think it should cost around 40-50 euro.

    The 6-cyl. book is a rare document but even that might have been scanned by someone, to be found online. Otherwise maybe a vintage Citroen club might have it. I really like its feel because the book shows its age and has authentic notes. See this drawing with addendum in Old-Dutch:



    "Om de montage te vergemakkelijken kan men den balk, door middel van een crick, een paar milimeter wijder maken"... great :)

    By the way I noticed I forgot to include the index of illustrations in the 6 cyl.-book. Here it is:







    Last edited by Roy vd M.; 12-19-18 at 10:02 AM.
    QUOTE QUOTE #11

  11. Haddewade's Avatar Established Member
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    Mark
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    Love those old books, the drawings are such a work of art of there own.
    Bit of a tic of myself, like to smell the book
    QUOTE QUOTE #12

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