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The birth of the Goddess 

By 1946, the prototypes looked unlike anything else on the road with a plunging bonnet, no radiator grill and an abbreviated Kamm tail. One of these protoypes was given the inelegant nickname l'Hippototame (hippopotamus). Aerodynamic cars like Chrysler's Airflow offered no clues at to the shape of la nouvelle Traction. Immediately after WW2, CitroŽn's chief stylist, Flaminio Bertoni started in secret to revise the dimensions of the VGD, lengthening the wheelbase and improving on both accommodation and aerodynamics. 

A number of different tail treatments were experimented with

In December 1950, Pierre Boulanger was killed at the wheel of an experimental Traction and Robert Puisseux became Prťsident-Directeur Gťnťral of Michelin who owned CitroŽn. He handed control of the VGD project over to Pierre Bercot, the new managing director of CitroŽn. Bercot agreed to a redefinition of the project, believing that here was the opportunity to create a car that would be as far ahead of the Traction as that car was of its contemporaries in 1934, even if that meant that the new car's launch would be delayed. Andrť Lefebvre was given carte blanche yet again and thus was born Projet D.

The Traction's styling was looking increasingly dated - indeed Renault took to marketing its Frťgate as la 11 CV Moderne and Peugeot with its 203 and Simca with its Aronde were making inroads into Traction sales with their "modern" styling. The French car market was protected from foreign competition and was totally dominated by CitroŽn, Peugeot and Renault (who had been nationalised on the grounds that the company had collaborated with the Germans during the war). Second division players included Simca, Ford, Panhard et Levassor, Hotchkiss, Delahaye and Facel Vega. CitroŽn's response was to offer the Traction in colours other than black.

Right - how one of the French motoring magazines imagined the Traction replacement in 1952