French Sophistication: 1949 Citroën Traction Avant - Jay Leno’s Garage

Front wheel drive, monocoque, independent suspension, and elegant style allowed the innovative Traction Avant to pave the way for future Citroën models.
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A new video every Sunday! Visit Jay Leno's Garage, the Emmy-winning series where Jay Leno gives car reviews, motorcycle reviews, compares cars, and shares his passion and expertise on anything that rolls, explodes, and makes noise. Classic cars, restomods, super cars like the McLaren P1, sports cars like Porsche 918 Spyder and Camaro Z28, cafe racers, vintage cars, and much, much more.
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French Sophistication: 1949 Citroën Traction Avant - Jay Leno’s Garage
Jay Leno's Garage


  • Van ngân Nguyễn
    Van ngân Nguyễn22 hours ago


  • Shirley Hudson
    Shirley Hudson2 days ago

    I' saw hundreds of these during my tour in Vietnam in 1969-70. No doubt Ho Chi Minh had one in the north. All the SVN had their versions. Also used as taxi, and family cars'. (DH)

  • Moss Foster
    Moss Foster2 days ago

    wacky half shafts on the front, no CV joints?

  • Russ Woodward
    Russ Woodward5 days ago

    Thank you Mr. Leno. This is really great.

  • peter ross
    peter ross6 days ago


  • Tim M
    Tim M8 days ago

    My first car was a1970 Renault 16 three on the tree . I was 15 at the time. Im 50 now and drive a 1969 Volvo 144. If i had a choice of the two now....the 144 it is.

  • 67marlins
    67marlins9 days ago

    I couldn't really see enough of the drivetrain.....can someone tell me if it's like the Cord, where basically the transmission sat in front of the engine? ( having built scale models of the 1937 Cord, I recall it was basically a normal drivetrain mounted backwards- where the differential /transmission was just in front of the engine ).

  • Christophe Gibert
    Christophe Gibert10 days ago

    Merci Jay 🇫🇷👍🇺🇸

  • Ryan McNeill
    Ryan McNeill11 days ago

    Jay , thanks for bringing a bit of automotive , sunny California into my somewhat overcast lockdown Northern Irish day. I eagerly await these videos of yours. Can’t wait until we can travel properly again . California , here I come !

  • Gertg Derften
    Gertg Derften11 days ago

    Seinfeld with his 138 thumbs down. Stop it guy.

    FLX TAX SPECIALIST12 days ago

    Jay! I look forward to every review - but this time, you hit the spot! Always loved Traction Avant vehicles...and always wanted one...not easy to find a clean one up here in Toronto...One comment about your excellent reviews...just before you go on the drive, let us hear you START the car...I always love to hear the motors start. (just me, maybe!) cheers, James

  • TIGA 76
    TIGA 7613 days ago

    Nice video with smart comments. A very popular Citroën family or police or gangster car. Please check the begininning of the movie "A man escaped" with the resistance man arrested in 1943 by German soldiers in Lyon and driven to jail failing to escape from this Citroën car : "A man escaped" or "Un condamné à mort s'est échappé" in French, a great movie dated 1956 directed by Robert Bresson. -->

  • ETU Digger
    ETU Digger15 days ago

    I recognize this type car from the 1963 movie "The Great Escape." It's in the scene where James Coburn is at the french cafe after escaping from the POW camp, and the car pulls up and the three German Officers get shot by the French Resistance fighters. Great movie and really enjoy the tour by Jay.

  • Robertjc
    Robertjc16 days ago

    Hahaha! In the trunk: 'Here is some French girl's dress left over from World War Two, I don't know...' Brilliant, funny!

  • Kaitharam Sreenivasan
    Kaitharam Sreenivasan16 days ago

    Jay Leno's CITROEN videos on his cars are too good....I really enjoy watching his videos.....

  • david weston
    david weston19 days ago

    I can't imagine being that old and being comfortable in overalls with no a/c in LA. I'd be dead. But even before my breathing problems, I would probably have shot myself. How does this guy do it? (do certain people feel no pain?) My dad used to be able to do this stuff. Maybe it is the prewar birth was better breeding stock.

  • david weston
    david weston19 days ago

    funny how everyone assumes old and or foreign cars will overheat as a matter of course. (so how did those 700,000 cars live back in the day without any coolant? they had to use water an use 212 as a max temp). Maybe that's the reason. In old movies they are always adding water...

  • matt moore
    matt moore20 days ago

    Vive La France!

  • 1991tommygun
    1991tommygun20 days ago

    Looks like an American car

  • Quang Lê
    Quang Lê23 days ago

    Chiếc này bao nhiêu tiền vậy bạn ơi?

  • Darryl Barnes
    Darryl Barnes23 days ago

    Love show. I enjoy 67 68 cougars and was wanting to see a show about these cars . 67 was road and track car of year.

  • Sevintrix
    Sevintrix24 days ago

    Interesting how you quoted 57,000 km, instead of mileage. Is this just because it's a European car?

  • Dennis E
    Dennis E24 days ago

    I've seen this car in millions of old movies. Always thought it was a great looking car and wondered what car was it. I'll have to watch a few Hogans Heroes, I think that's the car they used. Thank you Jay.

  • Maria Aspvik
    Maria Aspvik24 days ago

    To be honest, the new episodes with Jay all by himself is better than the episodes when he had his camera crew with him. It feels more personal somehow, and I like it.

  • Didier MONNET
    Didier MONNET25 days ago

    Thank you Jay, for sharing with us these moments with one of your favorite cars ! I'm really touched about all what you said about French people and France... all the more I'm French ! So let me say I really enjoy your videos because they are very interesting, well made, and your accent is easy to understand, even for a French man like me !!!

  • Peter Booker
    Peter Booker26 days ago

    Jay's like a man-child who got rich but was the kind of kid to share his toys lmao

  • Stefan Schleps
    Stefan Schleps28 days ago

    Thank you Jay. When I was sixteen my mom got me a Citröen. O.K. she just got me a T-shirt with Citröen's brand on it. You gotta love mom !

  • Joe Goins
    Joe Goins28 days ago

    Love the car

  • Klaus Pohl
    Klaus Pohl29 days ago

    When I was in my 20s (some 55 years ago) I lived in Paris, and this car was still around. Ten years later I bought a Renault 16 TS and wonder if Jay has one or driven one? They were comfortable, fast and practical. I had three of them...

  • Dirk Hoekx
    Dirk HoekxMonth ago

    Thank you for doing this Jay. Especially in this difficult time. Greetings from Belgium. I follow this channel now for five years. Keep up doing this. It brings a lot of joy in my life.

  • marc
    marcMonth ago

    Un grand Merci de France pour avoir bichonner cette voiture mythique de par chez nous!

  • steelflex 116
    steelflex 116Month ago

    I like how he's just enjoying the drive and riffing on whatever comes to his mind about the car.

  • Ungur Dani
    Ungur DaniMonth ago


  • djjoe2506 Schmitt
    djjoe2506 SchmittMonth ago

    Bob Le Flambeur 1956 !! The movie Jay is referencing, I think.

  • Patrick Galvaing
    Patrick GalvaingMonth ago

    Thanks for choosing the Traction, I wish to add to this video, what my grandfather always said about this car and that was known during years by French drivers, it was so modern that for the first time you actually sat down in the car (+no side stepfoot) and did not have to "climb" anymore. Its road holding was incomparable and made it possibe to drive with much higher safety,, it was a breakthrough. The Traction indeed paved the way for future Citroën, it had such competitive advantage that it started the brand unique reputation and the unfailing loyalty of its clients, often thru generations in the same French families, until the CX, I would say.

  • Earl Painter
    Earl PainterMonth ago

    Beautiful design!

  • Eric Dupont
    Eric DupontMonth ago

    two other french cars with front wheel drive with the engine behind the front shaft were Renault 4 and Renault 16 ( try the R16TS ) ( the sports car SOVAM , was built on R 4 chassis but with the engine going up to the 1.3 liter Gordini )

  • Eric Dupont
    Eric DupontMonth ago

    the first Ford - Germany to have front wheel drive was the Ford Fiesta in september 1976 I ordered one Fiesta 1.1 S late september 76 and have it early november same year

  • dave t
    dave tMonth ago

    The opening head shot of Jay reminded me the poor guy probably can't get a hair cut because of the plandemic and nobody is there to do his hair.

  • Toq Toq
    Toq ToqMonth ago

    Maybe someone else mentioned it already (I didn't see it in the comments): as far as I know only a few Tractions were fitted with the hydro-pneumatic suspension, and only the rear wheels were sprung like that. They were the "H"-models.

  • Rick Walker
    Rick WalkerMonth ago

    I wish that I had a 15-6!

  • pearlsnaredrummer77
    pearlsnaredrummer77Month ago

    Jay is an American treasure.❤️

  • calvacoca
    calvacocaMonth ago


  • Fastbikkel
    FastbikkelMonth ago

    I really like these movies.

  • Christian Barboza
    Christian BarbozaMonth ago

    What kind of shirt is he wearing? I’ve been trying to find shirts such as these without success. Any help out there?

  • 5Andysalive
    5AndysaliveMonth ago

    To be fair, rear end in the back was a sensible concept :P

  • Stephen Brookes
    Stephen BrookesMonth ago

    There was a factory in Slough too. This car is also loved in England. It's other home.

  • Ed Evans
    Ed EvansMonth ago

    is it just me or do these current videos look a bit dark.. exposure wise.. content wise, love um

  • TestTubeBabySpy
    TestTubeBabySpyMonth ago

    Isn't anyone giving jay advice during the "pandemic edition"? Like bump up the contrast????? Or down.....The darks are too dark.

  • Fdili Andalusí
    Fdili AndalusíMonth ago

    It's actually pronounced more like "Traksion avo-n"

  • Gabriel V.
    Gabriel V.Month ago

    Thanks Jay for the nice videos,. you have the right, simple and cool way to talk about these classics and history. the designer was Flaminio Bertoni. And, Robert Opron of the SM, Cx, Gs is still alive as far as know. Keep rollin'

  • Michael Merta
    Michael MertaMonth ago

    Jay great Chanel this automobile has the same age as me 1949

  • drfisheye
    drfisheyeMonth ago

    Great car. I hope one day Jay will also look at some non-Citroen French cars, like the Renault 4 and 16, Peugeot 203, 404, and 504. Being a Renault 16 fan myself, I know a wonderful original low milage '69 16TS Jay could buy. And a perfectly restored American spec R16 as well.

  • Rui Cameira
    Rui CameiraMonth ago

    i had one in bordeux but sell it a year ago, i need space to another car, dupont & dupont or tracion avant it´s how people call it ,never by it´s name or model, citröen 11B(L),a 54 one with 11 h.p., regards

  • Emiliano Del Bue
    Emiliano Del BueMonth ago

    The most advanced European car in the 1930s, together with the great Lancia Aprilia 😉👌🏻🔝

  • Dan Age
    Dan AgeMonth ago

    Jay: See, people like this car. Everyone: Uhh the car is cool Jay but damn did you forget you are Jay Leno bro? hahaha EVERYONE knows you!

  • Dan Age
    Dan AgeMonth ago

    I just imagined being an LA citizen and driving down the road pulling up to a stop light and crazy old Jay Leno is sitting there talking to his invisible friend about his car.

  • Dan Age
    Dan AgeMonth ago

    lol more like 36000 miles but thats still crazy. haha I love how nobody corrected that in editing.

  • tom packard
    tom packardMonth ago

    Since you are driving a French car, you should end the episode by saying au revoir!

  • Thom S

    Thom S

    Month ago

    Or a la prochaine :)

  • Thom S
    Thom SMonth ago

    Is this also known as a Citroen 11? I read a story about a Canadian airman who had one in the 1950s when he was posted to France. He had it for about 3 years and loved the car with its spacious interior, great for the family, but lamented the terribly short range his vehicle had. When he sold it before moving back to Canada he found why: the fuel tank had collapsed.

  • Stephen Vartan Jarahian
    Stephen Vartan JarahianMonth ago

    The first time I saw this car was in Vietnam during the war!

  • Ian Large
    Ian LargeMonth ago

    There was a TV show in the sixties in the UK called "Maigret" and these cars were often referred to as a Maigret car, the "French" detective played by Rupert Davies, was actually a scouser[liverpudlian] , but the real star of the show was the "Traction Avant" car and young boys and men lusted after these cars to make out like a detective, so sexy!!

  • D Max
    D MaxMonth ago

    Thanks for posting Jay. We all appreciate you taking the time to do this during the pandemic. I was locked down too and ended up building a motion platform with VR for playing games * this way I can stay away from people.. HAHAH! Thanks again for posting and keep up the great videos! DMAX - x-socal

  • stylophobia
    stylophobiaMonth ago

    Still astonishing that the designer of this (Flaminio Bertoni -not to be confused with Bertone) also later designed the DS !

  • john carrington
    john carringtonMonth ago

    Get back to the denim Jay boiler suits are just not you.

  • richard easther
    richard eastherMonth ago

    Don’t you mean scamdemic edition

  • joe daly
    joe dalyMonth ago

    This car, in general, the hood, the grille, the fenders and the headlamps, resemble the US built cars of a decade earlier.

  • writefore
    writeforeMonth ago

    Sweet ride.

  • Cherif
    CherifMonth ago

    What will happen to all these cars when Jay passes away ?

  • John Knight
    John KnightMonth ago

    You'd have to be a serious aficionado to call that gorgeous paint "scuffed up".

  • anxiousappliance
    anxiousapplianceMonth ago

    A real beauty - the french have a way of introducing just enough curves to elicit a certain grace. You can see it in the Alpine a110 as well - a deco thing, with every element beautifully integrated. This car also had a front subframe that could slide out to make major engine service easy. Don't know how it worked in practice, and it never saved DeGaul, but Citroen was thinking about stuff.

  • Dan Sune Jæger
    Dan Sune JægerMonth ago

    This car somehow reminds me of Tintin. No idea why 😉

  • Paul South
    Paul SouthMonth ago

    Gas is still cheep in the USA

  • Normandie Bryant
    Normandie Bryant2 months ago

    You might be disappointed about the 3 speed gearbox but the 6 is one of the few cars where you can change the clutch without separating the engine and gearbox.

  • Marcus Knak
    Marcus Knak2 months ago

    Thank you so much for these videos Jay. You're such a lovely and likeable person :) Beautiful car too, haha!

  • Feroce
    Feroce2 months ago

    7:20 Charles Aznavour eh? I'll bet he modified his to be three times faster.

  • Pfirtzer
    Pfirtzer2 months ago

    Love this Corona videos of Jay, really do, the regullar ones often upset me too much going on, this is pure relaxation. Keep it this way please!

  • Pfirtzer
    Pfirtzer2 months ago

    For those who don't know, André Citroën wasn't French, his family originated from the Netherlands, and his surname means in Dutch: lemon. Citroën made wonderful cars far ahead of their time.

  • deltavee2
    deltavee22 months ago

    I got close up and intimate with a Traction Avant in Paris as a 12-year old military brat at SHAPE village when I ran full pelt out of the apartment building entrance and bounced off that beautifully curved front fender which with true Gallic tendresse did me no harm but did throw me about eight feet into a hedge next to the building. Lesson learned. My first interest in cars started in Montreal when I was younger and saw a '54 Pontiac but it was in France that I started to pay attention to cars like the Vedette Versailles, the Simca Aronde, the *2CV (which Jay REALLY owes us a video of,* look at the comments) and of course the mid-50s British (Morgan) and many other European cars. Been a car lover ever since.

  • Idaina Senshi
    Idaina Senshi2 months ago

    Thank you for sharing your cars and knowledge! You almost said Portugal... :)

  • Donald Barrett
    Donald Barrett2 months ago

    I am a retired USAF Master Sergeant. Recently I had my left leg amputated below the knee due to diabetes. I will be getting a prosthetic leg soon. I would to get back into motorcycling. I currently own a 1982 Suzuki GS650G and a L model parts bike. I am thinking of trading my two bikes for something in the 250 cc range like a Yamaha Virago v twin, a Suzuki 250 or maybe a Honda Helix. It was also suggested that I turn my Suzuki into a trike. That may be a good idea but even if I could afford to do that, I would find it hard to find a kit that would fit. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you for your time. Don

  • Donald Barrett
    Donald Barrett2 months ago

    I absolutely Love this model of Citreon. Since I was born i 1952, it would be neat to get a 1952 version. I wonder what it would be like to upgrade some of the things like a modern aluminum V6, maybe power rack and pinion, cruise and air conditioning.

  • Jaroslav Jůza
    Jaroslav Jůza2 months ago

    28:57 "Anyway... i just enjoy driving this car." sums the episode up pretty well

  • EightFourEight
    EightFourEight2 months ago

    forget his cars....he is always running his hand through his thick hair making the rest of us older guys jealous.

  • Douglas Nieblas
    Douglas Nieblas2 months ago

    Beautiful Traction Avant Jay. Many of these were used as staff cars by the Nazis when they occupied France.

  • phil galpin
    phil galpin2 months ago

    You want French comfort, try any Renault 16.!

  • heinz ryckoort
    heinz ryckoort2 months ago

    afther the war some people put volvo amazone motor in, instead of citroen 4cil. so we have the power and the gears.

  • Cars YoungtimerFreak
    Cars YoungtimerFreak2 months ago

    Love them! By the way gearbox in front of the engine is not that uncommon on front wheel drive cars: Renault did it too on the 4, 6 and 16. The front wheel drive Ford was 1962, originally develped in the States under the code name Cardinal. Idea was to have a Beetle competitor. However Ford management decided against it and gave it to their German factory and it was introduced as the Taunus 12M. It was reasonable successful in Europe.

  • Terrence Shea
    Terrence Shea2 months ago

    I think Jay hit it squarely on the head. The French do not think like Brits or Germans. For the French enjoyment is the key. Enjoy a meal, a glass, of wine, a car and ... well wherever enjoyment is to be found. Vive la France!

  • jimmyj1969
    jimmyj19692 months ago

    Flaminio Bertoni was the designer of this car (as well as the first DS!). He was an italian painter, sculptor, architect and (of course) car designer!

  • Gary Anthony
    Gary Anthony2 months ago

    Did I see that at on Hgans Heros?

  • Ron G.
    Ron G.2 months ago

    Oldschool meets modern technic 1-2-3 Ignition! This car was the european gangster limo.

  • airbrushler
    airbrushler2 months ago

    Thanks for the Awesome Videos Jay...I Love All Your Vehicles

  • Breck Breckenridge
    Breck Breckenridge2 months ago

    1934 or 1949? Jay you mention the thirties date at beginning but the title of the video gives the late forties date.

  • Adrien OHMER
    Adrien OHMER2 months ago

    Jay, thank you for coming back with your French marvels! As a French car enthusiast I also love Citroën and should I recommend you another of their collectable, it would be the youngtimer XANTIA Activa. As a traditional Citroën sedan it has the hydro-pneumatic suspension but mated with electronic sensors to prevent rolling in the curves. As other Citroën from the 90s and on there are valves to cut the fluid transfer (i.e. to make the suspension a bit more stiffer ("sport mode") automatically when needed. And it can go from soft to hard mode and vice-versa several time per second!) but it is the only Citroën to have also JACKS INSTEAD OF ANTIROLL BARS! Despite being "la crème de la crème" from the suspension sophistication, the accomplishment from Mr Magès' concept (inventor from the DS hydropneumatics), this car has not been a huge success because in appearance it is just a family saloon. Perhaps on a sporty coupé it would have found its way against powerful German competitors. Anyway, it still remains the QUICKEST CURVING MACHINE EVER, oui monsieur! It is faster in the curves than any supercar at the moose test! And that tour de force is an ingeneering piece of art you desurve. Perhaps Jerry Hathaway, guru of the hydropneumatics in the USA would like it also. Take care

  • mctavish199
    mctavish1992 months ago

    Trafficators. Absolutely normal, standard equipment on post-war English cars. It was almost revolutionary when blinkers (as they were called "back in the day") were introduced, incorporated into the body (not the light cluster). Certainly a great step forward over a tiny amber arm sticking out of the B-pillar -- often with a burnt out bulb. I think self-cancelling came later, so it was not unusual to see a driver turning left or right for miles at a time.

  • pearlsnaredrummer77
    pearlsnaredrummer772 months ago

    I would rather have one of these Traction Avants than a new car. 👍

  • Charles van der Hoog
    Charles van der Hoog2 months ago

    Jay Leno forgets to mention that the reason there is so much headroom inside, is that Mr. Citroen wanted to be able keep hit hat on when inside. At the time, a man without a hat was deemed a bit of a yokel. World War II put an end to that idea but in 1934 it was still the norm.

  • dutch p900
    dutch p9002 months ago

    old citroens last for decades. 70 years after production or little less with the sm and ds they still dont look outdated.

  • Sillyhatday
    Sillyhatday2 months ago

    You are blabbering. That's why I'm watching!