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Citroën Type 45 U from 1948. Up for auction this unit in original condition found in Toledo

Because they were so common at the time, industrial vehicles were never valued enough for a long time. Precisely when it is most difficult to find units in original condition. However, sometimes very striking examples appear like this Citroën Type 45 U from 1948. A unit found in the province of Toledo and now up for auction at Catawiki.

Without wanting to enter into debates, the truth is that Citroën is one of the brands with the greatest character in the history of European motorsports. Something that he shares with Lancia, since both companies were always at the forefront of technology in their moments of splendor. From the hydropneumatic suspensions that Rolls-Royce could not replicate to the self-supporting bodywork installed for the first time in a large series car, Citroën has many examples to demonstrate this uniqueness. In addition, the great virtue of the French brand is that it has known how to be original while being massive.

That is why its utility vehicles and passenger cars have been sold by the millions, while the commercial vehicle market has been served with such iconic models as the Type H or the C15. Vans as popular as they are robust, which add to the list of professional vehicles launched by Citroën when in the thirties it launched into the mass production of trucks. So much so that in 1931 he founded the Compagnie de Transports Citroën, which was operating until 1978 as a line bus company with routes from Warsaw to Monte Carlo.

A line of business in which Citroën took advantage of the benefits of its industrial models, which went through two very different stages thanks to the Type 45. Marketed from 1934, this truck not only had a version with a long wheelbase ideal for mounting buses. But also had an engine designed for him instead of having some derivative of the devices mounted on the range of passenger cars of the moment. A range in which six-cylinder models already existed, but with more exclusive intentions than those of the popular Citroën Type 45.

CITROËN TYPE 45. SIX CYLINDERS IN LINE FOR A VERSATILE VEHICLE

Until the arrival in 1934 of the Citroën Type 45, the brand's industrial vehicles based their engines on those already installed in the passenger car range. Thus, trucks as popular as the T23, T29 and T32 were based on the four-cylinder in-line engine blocks typical of passenger cars. Rosalie -1932- and Traction Avant -1934-. Two completely bourgeois models that lent their mechanics to the range of industrialists, which experienced a great boost with the appearance of the Type 45.

And it is not for less, since both the engine and the dimensions make our protagonist a model with greater entity than its predecessors. In the first, Its six-cylinder in-line engine produced about 74CV with a displacement of 4580cc. Something not inconsiderable for those times, with a design very similar to the one that would be mounted on the Traction 1938 Six from 15 on. Powered evolution of the Traction Avant by adding two more cylinders with a total displacement of 2867cc. Much less than the one presented by the adaptation of this mechanical scheme to the Citroën Type 45.

In the second, the Type 45 offered two chassis. One with a shorter wheelbase, perfect for medium-sized trucks or cargo vehicles, and another long one designed for buses. The base was the 45-seater Type 33 S so common in France, but also for the 45 U long-bed trucks. Just the series to which the vehicle you see in the photos belongs. At the same time, the protagonist of a large number of fire trucks, complemented by a third series with diesel engine called Type 45 D.

A 1948 UNIT TO AUCTION IN ORIGINAL CONDITION

Despite the fact that commercial vehicles are usually manufactured in long series - from the Citroën Type 45 more than 70.000 units were assembled - their long lives mean that most of them end up as scrap metal. It is because of that It is very difficult to find units in original condition of certain vehicles as common as little valued in their time. In this sense, unit that illustrates this article It is a true rarity, even more so if we take into account the relative good condition of the mechanics, the sheet metal and the cabin.

In need of obvious but not impossible repairs, this 45 Citroën Type 1948 U stored in the Toledo town of Yuncos is a good base for any hobbyist interested in undertaking a restoration project. What's more, This truck has the attraction of keeping the labeling of the Leon company for which it worked, making trips to the north of Spain. In them, the load was deposited in the wooden box that you are seeing: the original. Especially deformed in the rear, it needs repairs in carpentry.

However, it has all the appeal of a piece rarely seen in the classic scene. Something to add the curious Art-Deco motifs that you can find inside the cabin. In short, an interesting restoration project for any lover of commercial vehicles, which is up for auction on the Catawiki portal.

Photographs: Catawiki / Citroën

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Miguel Sánchez

Written by Miguel Sánchez

Through the news from La Escudería, we will travel the winding roads of Maranello listening to the roar of the Italian V12; We will travel Route66 in search of the power of the great American engines; we will get lost in the narrow English lanes tracking the elegance of their sports cars; We will speed up the braking in the curves of the Monte Carlo Rally and we will even get dusty in a garage while rescuing lost jewels.

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