What is the sound of one piston slapping?
What is the sound of one piston slapping?

This is the first 15-6 I’ve ever seen for sale at a non-astronomical price...

I mean... this, this is the original FWD French factory hot-rod!

The Big Six (as it was called), made a whopping 80HP in factory trim, and could be easily tweaked to over 100 without much effort or danger.

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This 2.9 OHV straight six was shoehorned under the bonnet of a small, FWD, unibody car that weighed in at about 1200kg.

10lbs of shit in a 5lb bag.
10lbs of shit in a 5lb bag.
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The handling wasn’t as good as the 11CV models, as the 6cyl made it more front heavy, but the straight line performance was rocket-like for the period (especially at it’s introduction in 1938!). A stock 15-6 could accelerate to 60MPH in about 20 seconds and had a top speed in excess of 80mph! With tuning 100MPH could be reached, and 0-60 times could drop as low as 15-16 seconds. Remember, this is a SALOON CAR, not a sports car!

CRAZY!!!!

The downsides?

I mean, it couldn’t all be sunshine and rainbows right?

  • Constant overheating issues. (small radiator area in compromised airflow with inadequate water pump. Of note: this one does appear to have an auxiliary electric water pump already installed. )
  • Snapped driveshafts, stripped differential splines, broken input shafts and other transmission problems. (the Six had WAY more torque than the TA’s transmission and driveline were ever intended to handle, and rough treatment, or even an accidental clutch drop often resulted in failures)
  • Unobtanium engine parts. (It’s a good thing the Citroen OHV engines are pretty reliable and durable, because unlike the 4cyl -versions of which could still be found in the H van into the 80's-, the 6cyl was discontinued in the early 50s and parts availability is... let’s just say “poor”).
  • Handling is a bit... under-steer-y. (more than a bit, actually.)
  • People Won’t Get It. (I mean, if you’re buying a car for other people, you’re buying it for the wrong reasons, but still, almost no one will have any clue what you are driving)
  • Poor Fuel Economy, less than 18mpg. (an 11CV Legere could manage mid 30's without trying too hard)
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That badge on the right-rear fender is the only external cue to the fact that this is the OG French Factory Hot-Rod... sadly, as far as I’m aware the 6 was never put in a Commerciale, because that would then be the OG French Hot-Hatch.
That badge on the right-rear fender is the only external cue to the fact that this is the OG French Factory Hot-Rod... sadly, as far as I’m aware the 6 was never put in a Commerciale, because that would then be the OG French Hot-Hatch.

Amazingly those crazy French bastards even tried to stuff an experimental 3.8l V8 into the TA chassis. Originally the V8 was meant to be paired with an automatic transmission, but development time and costs kept going up on the automatic, without satisfactory results... A few V8 mules were run by the factory with improved cooling systems, but the stock 3-speed transaxle was not up to the task of reliably delivering >150HP and gobs of V8 torque to the road, and the project was scrapped, along with the V8 engine. 

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