Re: Traction Avant

Ken Nelson

Hello Berkeley - If you need any help evaluating this Traction, I've had 8 different ones in the last 45 yrs & know them pretty thoroughly, from rebuilding the transmissions to engine/brake/driveshaft rebuilding & converting them to 12 volt electrics with modern Delco alternators.  Two things to check carefully on these cars:
First gear has no synchro and it's not very robust.  About 4 yrs ago the Traction owners around the Bay area had 3 gearboxes break - mostly 1st gear if I recall correctly.  Never shift into first unless dead stopped, and always use the dash shifter to just "touch" . 2nd gear without fully engaging it, then go to 1st.  Doing this slows the transmission shafts and avoids crunching first gear, which is what often loses a tooth if engaged agressively.   Next, install two fuses in the elec harness, as they have NO fuses, and ALL the battery and generator current goes thru the ammeter on the dash.  One bad electrical short and the harness goes up in smoke, as it's tightly bundled and that concentrates the heat and destroys the whole bundle if not caught quickly.  Put one fuse between the battery feed to the voltage regulator, and a second between the v reg. and the ammeter.  The most important one is between the V reg and the ammerter, as a short downriver of the ammeter can fry the whole harness under the dash, which is hardest to replace/repair due to limited access.  

Another area to examine carefully - the inboard Ujoints - check them for play - a friend in Detroit had one so sloppy that the inner cross fell out of its yoke on the transmission output shaft, jammed, and broke that gearbox.  Also check the outer double Ujoints for slop.  And make darn sure the front suicide doors are always completely latched before moving forward.  Las Aug coming back from the Pacific Grove Little car show, the passenger door of my '61 Panhard cabrio flew open at 55 mph on Hwy 1, and the door nearly tore off the car.  Did $16K damage to my car, fortunately covered by Hagerty.  Same thing can happen to any suicide door car, especially with passengers who may not be that aware of this possibility, and sometimes the second safety latch doesn't work, as in my case.  

I've had enough of these cars to come across some strange problems, but ultimately solved them all.  The Tractions are great cars - you might also want to talk with Clark Rodgers, who's in the Arcaners I think - just haven't seen him in awhile - his car has to be one of the best cared for and fastest Tractions on the W coast.  

Ken Nelson
Palo Alto
So. Lyon, Mi.  

On Fri, Jul 17, 2020 at 10:58 PM Berkeley <berkeley@...> wrote:
Mmmmmm, I've had my eye on these ever since seeing Diva in 1980. The same guy has a number of other interesting cars for sale as well.

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