A Further Opinion of the F.W.D. Citroen
Messrs. Whittet and Wadham have covered most aspects of the f.w.d. Citroen pretty thoroughly, but I feel there is room for a further spot of constructive criticism. No car is, or ever will be, perfect. You and I can always improve on the other fellow’s efforts, and someone else will always improve on ours. There is generally the feeling, too, that if only just a little more had been spent on this or that — a feeling that I personally get with most Continental standard bodies and a lot of British chassis.
It is both flattering and unfortunate that one tends to compare the Citroen with cars of the (pre-war) £500 to £600 class instead of £200 to £300. Thc car’s size, vivid performance, handling. and general comfort all conspire. Let us succumb to temptation and forget sordid monetary considerations. Accessibility, though better than average, could be improved. Not everyone can apply Whittet’s neat technique of wheeling away the complete works, which for me at least must remain a beautiful fantasy. A good start could be made by making the frontal bird-cage (which for once does serve a useful purpose) more readily detachable, and cutting away part of the front wings.
A quite unnecessarily lavish assortment of Continental threads is used, untouchable by normal spanners, which probably accounts for the widespread myth that the threads are left-handed. As my own red saloon “Citron Sanguinaire” was bought minus tool kit, I feel this acutely and am thankful for two good adjustable spanners.
Incidentally, among the first things did was to paint the wings black (this avoids that cheap “dipped in the bath” appearance) and discard the hub embellishers, 9 1/4 lb. of useless and ugly unsprung weight that makes delightful bird baths or toy A.R.P. helmets for the kids to play with.
One expects some performance from 3,000 litres per ton-mile; the maximum b.m.e.p. is, however, surprisingly low, about 90 lb., and one wonders what a little timing: would do or the use of 4-5 lb/sq. in. boost. Wadham overed 60 miles in 60 1/2 min. This means 4.000 r.p.m. for a solid hour, which seems to indicate toughness and unexploited possibilities somewhere. Type agricole sportif, if Mr. Bolster will allow me me to say so.
Quite the sorest point is the very pedestrian gearbox with its three gappy ratios. Bottom and second are pleasant enough at 14.8 and 8.3 on the 12.8-h.p. model (10 per cent. higher thronghout on the 15), but the present performance on top (4.9) is far too good up to 50 m.p.h., whereafter it fades off somewhat. Replace top with two ratios or 5-5 1/2 and 4 to 1 and you have a real motor-car.
But, there, we have added £100 to the price already. Would anyone buy? You bet they would! – J. R. Edisbury.
[If anyone cares to continue this educative work by writing of the few remaining Continentals to which we have yet to do justice -such as the Renault. Eight, f.w.d. Hotchkiss-Amilcar, etc., we shall be pleased to hear from them. — Ed.]