Here at The Lego Car Blog we are definitely petrol-heads. And electric-heads perhaps too. We like cars is what we’re trying to say.
Because of this, we prefer our cars with rear-wheel-drive and manual gearboxes, for reasons of steering feel, the ability to go sideways a bit, and other nerdy car things that normal people couldn’t care less about. Which is why front-wheel-drive matters.
Creating safer, more predictable (understeery) handling, greater interior room, and better refinement, front-wheel-drive has been the absolute norm for anything that isn’t sporty for the past four decades.
Even brands famed for their rear-wheel-drive chassis like BMW have switched to front-wheel-drive for their smaller models, after learning their customers had no idea that their 1-Series was rear-wheel-drive, or even what being rear-wheel-drive means. Sigh.
Front-wheel-drive was dabbled with in the early years of motoring, but this is the car that proved the layout, decades before it became mainstream. It is the fabulous Citroen Traction Avant.
Possessing not just front-wheel-drive, but also the first mass-produced monocoque body and early rack-and-pinion steering, the Traction Avant was so advanced it was produced for two decades, something that was needed as its development bankrupted the Citroen company in the mid 1930s.
Today the Traction Avant is seen as the father of front-wheel-drive, and therefore most new cars on sale today (even if your car is all-wheel-drive, it’s still almost always only front-driven).
It’s surprising then that the Traction Avant has only featured here twice in a decade of publishing Lego vehicles. Cue this wonderful and much overdue Technic recreation of one of the world’s most innovative cars, as built by the very talented Nico71.
Beautifully replicating the Traction Avant’s ’30s styling, Nico’s model includes a working four-cylinder engine under the split-folding hood, four opening doors and an opening trunk, working steering, and – of course – front-wheel-drive.
The complexities of front-wheel-drive mean that – much like cars before about 1980 – very few Lego models adopt it, favouring the simplicity of a rear-driven axle. Nico’s model successfully incorporates it however, and he’s released building instructions so you can see how to create front-driven Lego models for yourself.
There’s much more to see at Nico’s Brickshelf gallery, you can watch the model in action via the video below, plus you can find out how Nico creates beautifully engineered models like this one via his Master MOCers interview. Understeer your way to all the additional content via the links above.