CITROËNS PROVE ROCK SOLID ON 7,500KM AUSTRALIAN CROSSING
- Historic Citroëns travel 7,500km across Australia
- Trans-Australia crossing completed by eleven Citroën Traction Avants
- Average vehicle age 70 years, combined odometer reading 2 million kilometres
- First launched in 1934, the Traction Avant was the first series production front-wheel-drive vehicle and later pioneered hydro-pneumatic suspension
For the third time in 20 years a group of intrepid adventurers driving Citroën’s renowned Traction Avant has crossed Australia, this time from west to east, driving from Fremantle in Western Australia to Brisbane in Queensland via Uluru in the Northern Territory.
The 7,500km journey was undertaken by 12 French families in 11 historic Citroën Traction Avants ranging in age from 60 to 80 years.
Organised by former French journalist and Australian expat Eric Massiet Du Biest, the trip was dubbed “Tracbar Dundee”, deriving its name from the vehicles’ ‘Traction’ nomenclature and ‘Dundee’ from the famous film character Mick Dundee, played by Paul Hogan in the iconic Crocodile Dundee movie.
The journey saw the adventurers weave in and out of Western Australia, the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales before arriving in Brisbane, Queensland, some 7,500km later.
Along the way the eleven-vehicle convoy visited York, Wave Rock, Kalgoorlie, Laverton, Uluru, Coober Pedy, Marree, Innamincka, Thargomindah, Lightning Ridge, Girraween Park and Tamborine Mountain.
This latest journey adds to the long and storied history of these iconic Citroëns. The same vehicles have already completed journeys across Australia, Africa, South America, the United States and Southeast Asia – in some instances multiple times – amassing an astounding 2,000,000 kilometres between them.
Highlight journeys include:
1988: Around the World (Two 1953 Traction Avants, 35 countries, 18 months, 70,000km)
1998: Tracbar Dundee Australia #1 (40 Traction Avants, 1 month, 7,500km)
2000: Tracbar Dundee Australia #2 (40 Traction Avants, 1 month, 8,000km)
2002: Tracbar Yankee United States (40 Traction Avants, 1 month, 8,000km)
2003: Tracbar Hannibal Tunisia (25 Traction Avants, 3 weeks, 4,500km)
2004: Tracbar Zoulou Africa (30 Traction Avants, 1 month, 8000km)
2007: Biotrek Africa (2 Traction Avants, 16 countries. 5 months, 25,000km)
2010: Tracbar Gaucho South America (25 Traction Avants, 1 month, 8,200km)
2011: Tracbar Namibia (11 Traction Avants, 3 weeks, 5,000km)
With the journey completed, all but three of the vehicles will now be shipped back to France.
The remaining three will be driven back to France via Bangkok (Thailand), Lhasa (China), Kashgar, Samarkand (Uzbekistan), Tehran (Iran), Istanbul (Turkey) and Zagreb (Croatia).
Produced between 1934 and 1957, Citroën’s Traction Avant was a true pioneer of the automotive industry. Some 760,000 were made.
The Traction Avant was the first vehicle produced using a unitary body in place of the common body-on-frame method, the first to use fully-independent suspension and the first to use front-wheel-drive. Later versions also featured Citroën’s now legendary hydro-pneumatic suspension system.
Commenting on the Trans-Australia crossing expedition organiser, Eric Massiet Du Biest, said the vehicles were unstoppable and the scenery unimaginable.
“You never tire of driving these vehicles across such vast and breathtaking scenery”, Mr Du Biest said.
“All participants on the expedition loved the experience and the opportunity to pilot some of the world’s most recognisable Citroëns across one of the globe’s oldest and most breathtaking continents.
“From the people we met to the scenery we saw and the cars we drove, this was an unforgettable way to see off our old friend, the Tracbar. They were reliable, strong and, most importantly, charming the entire distance,” he added.
The latest trip adds to a roll call of Australian records set by the Citroën marque. Significantly, it was the first automotive brand to circumnavigate Australia, that record achieved by a Citroën 5CV model in 1925.
That car is now an integral part of the Australian Museum’s historic collection. For further information click here.