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  • Writer's pictureFrank Oles

Geneva Concours 2021

After attending the Geneva Concours for over a decade, we finally had the honor of displaying not one but TWO of our Citroens at this fine automotive event. Friend Andy Daley alerted us that Citroen would be a featured marque at the show for 2021. We quickly contacted the show organizers and submitted our vehicles for approval. This show is by invitation only - not because of snobbery, but because of limited space in downtown Geneva. Also, organizers try to capture various automotive themes that sync up with anniversaries or historic milestones, in this case the 100th Anniversary of Citroen. It was an honor to have our cars selected as a good representation of the marque.

The event was set for Sunday, August 22nd. No matter how much time you think you have to prepare for a concours event or car show like this, IT'S NEVER ENOUGH TIME! We needed to get the engine back in the Traction Avant and running. Also, we needed to finally install the slick "euro" front light bar on the 1973 SM. The first step was removing the US-spec front end, including DOT-approved front lights. Many feel that the US setup detracts from the aesthetics of the car. While this is a matter of opinion, we had a set of the euro lights in our possession and ready to mount, so this was a good excuse to install them.

The euro lights transform the look of the SM. Interestingly, the entire system was designed to pivot up and down with the suspension. Additionally, there was a rather complicated swivel mechanism that allowed the inner lights to turn with the steering. While the original hydraulic system for these features was far too perished to make them functional for this event, we will get them working again at a future date.

As mentioned in an earlier post, things were moving along smoothly with the Traction... until they weren't. This photo was taken Saturday afternoon, the day before the event. Due to the rear engine mount being installed incorrectly, the engine had to come back out again. We did get the motor back in and just about everything hooked up again, but the car was not drivable for the event. Running on fumes and about an hour of sleep, we got both cars cleaned and ready for transport to the event at 6am on Sunday. As we would come to find out, quite a few cars get transported to the event on carriers, so our car arriving on a flatbed barely raised an eyebrow.

Upon arrival to the event, we found out that our humble Traction Avant would have a featured spot at the very center of the event, parked right next to a very special Duesenberg Model J! Maybe all the hours of knuckle-busting were worth it after all!

The SM cleaned up very well! It was looking especially sleek with its new aerodynamic, glass-enclosed euro nose and suspension in the slammed position. Good enough for a trophy? Fingers crossed...

There were many stand out vehicles at this show, including the DS Sedan that was parked up next to us. Black with red "guts" is a very desirable combo indeed!

Another exceptional car at the event was this Citroen 2CV in "Blueberries and Cream" color. This car was owned by Gary Bartholomew, and it was also featured on the cover of the Geneva Concours Program. After meeting Gary at the show, we would later find out that he was the one that imported our Traction Avant into the US in the early 90s - small world indeed!

The other Traction Avant at the show was this very original 1953 model owned by Mike Brazier. Surprisingly, it was painted in the same dark blue as our car, which was interesting because the majority of Traction Avant sedans were painted black. Colors were not available until later in the car's run in the 1950s. We took many pictures of the various unmolested details of this car, including the crank start handle protruding through the grill in this picture.

Talk about automotive royalty! It was an honor to be parked right next to this amazing Duesenberg Model J Town Car at the event. The condition of this car was impeccable and it is definitely the sort of car one thinks of for participating in a concours event. Surprisingly, our Traction Avant looked right at home parked next to this automotive icon.

Well, all the hours of hard work and the fine engineering details of the SM must have impressed the judges. We got a trophy! Winning a trophy at a prestigious concours event like this is a rare honor. It definitely would not be possible without the hours and hours of hard work my Father and Uncle Jim put into these cars. As a trophy winner, we can display this SM at future Geneva Concours events on the "Winners Boulevard." We can't wait until next year!

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