An Owner's Impressions of the CITROEN 11 CV "NORMALE"
An Owner’s Impressions of the
CITROEN II CV ” NORMALE “
1,11E (it ru ii CV ” Normale is sel
dot seeo in this country tis the faetory at Slough eoneentrates on the Light Fifteen (11 CV Legere) and the sixeylinder models. However, in France and Belgium the ” Nom-talc ” is well known ; it possesses the engine of the Light Fifteen with the interior -dimensions of the Six. There is a small sacrifice of performance owing to the heavier weight, but this is more than compensated for by the additional room available. To the casual observer it is distinguishable from the Light Fifteen by the longer covering over the starting handle slot, and at the same time cannot be confused with the Six owing to its shorter bonnet, and smaller Wheels of 165 by 400, as opposed to 185 by 400.
Although it was early January when I took delivery, I did not fill up with antifreeze as I was heading for Morocco. where it would have been superfluous. The run from Brussels to Paris served to acquaint me completely with the car, and I was inunediately impressed by the excellent view from the driving seat, taking in the off-side lamp and, with very little -effort, the wing as well. Front-wheel drive causes a certain steering heaviness at slow speeds, and it was not till the car was run-in that I was really able. to appreciate its advantages to the full. I would venture to say there are few, it’ any, family cars of the price of the Citroen (in France about 1:600) which can compare with it for roadholding and security in wet weather. The torsion bar suspension is a trifle hard at slow speeds and viten the car is empty, but. with a fall load and at a steady sixty, On the type of undulating roads found in France, it is really firstclass. The flat floor, front and back, enables six people to be carried in coinfort, and the boot, supplemented by the usual roof-rack—pritetically universal on Continental ‘ears–permits ample baggage to be carried for a long holiday. I have always found that the flat roof-rack offers greater security than the curved type, and with a canvas cover and elastic
claw ” straps it solves the luggage problem most satisfactorily. Vastly better than overloading the rear springs by piling suitcases on the open lid of the boot, all too common a sight in England.
Having COMMCDCCd with Mobiloil in the sump, I have persistently stuck to it, having It oomPlele oil change every 2,000 miles. I believe it is a mistake to mix oils especially those containing detergent additives.
The three-s1eol gearbox has one drawback, it is virtually impossible to change from second to first without the most distressing liaises, and with the car almost stationary. The engine, however, is remarkably flexible tind iii sevond it is possible to crawl along with no sign of labouring or ” snatch.” Although I had 1,500 miles ahead of me I was resigned to a slow trip as I feel no car is” run-in ” for continuous speed at less than 2,000 miles ; however, the
roads encountered in Spain were so bat that speeding was ” out ” anyway. The weather was cold and clear until we arrived at. the foot of the Guadarrane range between Burgos and Madrid. Here the snow was Utak, and a heavy blizzard raged so that we could rarely see ten yards beyond the bonnet. I kept my eye on the tail light of a new Cadillac, which conveniently carved a way through the white wall ahead. To my consternation it suddenly stopped, and remained ” stopped.” We got. out to see what was wrong and at once the biting wind lashed snow into our faces, and cut mercilessly through our coats. I purposely left the engine running, as in that ‘temperature water freezes surprisingly quickly ! The Cadillac was jammed in heavy snow, its rear wheels spinning in helpless futility as its hydraulic transmission desperately tried to cope. The road Was completely blocked, and RS the Spanish don’t appear to possess snow-ploughs it probably remained so for many days. Fortunately for the Cadillac a large truck appeared arid dragged it out tail first. There was nothing for it but to return and seek Another road, and after twenty miles at 7, m.p.h. over the most appalling surface we finally arrived in Sergovia. We still had to cross the Guadarramas and the locals cheerfully informed us that the road was covered in snow. However, we decided to ” bash on ” and fortunately found that although it was lying thickly, there were no drifts in this area. I remembered people who had told me that front-wheel drive was ” absolutely u.s.’ old boy ” when the tractive conditions were bad ; ” now,” I thought to myself, ” we shall see.” Needless to say, such fears are unfounded. ‘flat (tar climbed like a bird, passing many with ” orthodox ” transmisSions, and showed no trace of wheel spin at any tinn., eve]) Wider the. most, icy eomlitions. On the deseent the steering was steady as a rouk, and any ” sliding ” tendency could be corrected at once. So dumbfounding the pessimists we arrived in Madrid in time for an excellent supper. Thanks a lot, Andre. At later si ages of the journey. when tlat roads were persistelitly shocking, I found the steering rather high-geared, and to many road shocks found their way up. ttie column, so that after six hours’
driving I haul ;tti ache in both %wrists. But. I must stress t hat the conditions are not likely to be found in the course of normal motoring.
After several thousand miles through Freud) and Spanish Morocco, experiencing every known kind of surface, front excellent tarmac to appalling ruts and pot holes, I made the return trip.
We left Gibraltar at midday on a Thursday and arrived in Paris for dimmer on Sunday. This time earl be improved on, no doubt, altlettigh I an stirry for the suspension of’ tlw car that does it.
After 10,000 miles I have had but one adjustment to make, necessitating a garage ; some lateral play had developed in the upper Wishbone of the near-side front wheel. This no doubt was accentuated when I was forced to take a curb-stone at fifty to avoid a ” clot ” on a (turnkey whose steering gear had ap, parent ly failed. Otherwise, apart front regular oil changes and pressure greasing every 2,000 miles I have had no expenses whatever.
In my car, and I presume on the English model as well, the squab of the rear seat can be lifted front its two sapprating hooks ; and it is possible to make a comfortable bed for two by placing the rear seat on two wood blocks on the floor, and after reversing the squab so. that it fits,putting it beside the seat. %Valk the boot open there is ample room to stretch full length. I have frequently slept in my car in this manner, and find it very comfortable. The luggage can be shifted to the front. seats for the night.
Petrol consumption going fast is around 21 m.p.g., and oil negligible so far. The headlamp are excellent, and powerful enough up to 6() zu.p.h., which is the’ comfortable cruising Speed of the car. This may not appear high by present-day standards, but as it can be maintained indefinitely over any roads, even in bad weather, one scores over those ears which are basicallyfaster but get an attack of the ” dithers ” the moment it starts to rain. For those who prefer it, and have the Cash, it is possible to buy a four-speed gearbox by Reda in Paris for £75, but except for competition drivitig, it. is hardly worth the.expense. Tyres sliottld be -.changed round approximately every 3.000 miles to ensure even wear, as the front wheels have a heavy task coping with steering and driving together. It is advisable to -stick to the broad-base type of tyre. although notnecessarily to any one make. For hard work the Michelin X is completely satisfactory.
found the engine made no (.01111d:tints about fuel (compression ratio U to 1) except in Spain when somebody poured in paraffin inst caul of petrol and charged me just the sante !
Starting has always been sure, but always on the third attempt for some reason, and remarkably little use of the choke is needed, even on the coldest days. After 7.000 or 8,000 nudes many Citroens develop their ” a Slight Continued on page (533 11 ( ‘I” •’ ,V4’HI31′.,1 LE ” rortlimted from page 625
• ‘ clack, clack tla: eitgitte is idling. This is not serious and is caused through lack of grease, or the right type of grease, in the water poop. 1 unscrewed the nipple and forced Mitbilgrease No. 6 into the ” works’ by hand, as it is so I hick as to el take -the average gun. Tile ” noise ” has now disappeared. The operation of tlw pedals with a downward movement (sin(‘e modified in tI e English Model) appears rather odd at first. but one soon gets used to it, and de-clutching with the heel heroines as easy as with the ball of the foot. The ground clearance is too IOW for •• Coloinal use over bad tracks. Intl is quite adequate for European use. The hydraulic brakes are sure. anet powerful but could be lighter in operation, So in conelusion I would say that for Ii ose seeking a Daman:Oily ” Itractical” car. lie”eft. of trim butt 1,0,,,ssing all that is necessary for fast nuitoring With plenty of spare available for frienils or luggage, Ihe Citro’cli 11 ” Norinale ” (15 hp.) holds many attractions.. S,