Andre Citroen was a master of publicity. For the 1922 Paris Motor Show he arranged for an aeroplane to advertise his name in the sky. For the 1926 show he took over the Eiffel Tower. Another of his strategies was to introduce a creche for children at his factory and. In 1923, he started making Citroen pedal cars for children, selling over 30,000 in the first ten years. The first model was a miniature version of the Torpedo B2 10HP open tourer.
Citroen saw the value in introducing youngsters to his brand name at the earliest age. According to him, every child’s first words should be “Papa, Mama and Citroën.”
1929 Citroen ‘C6’ Children’s Scooter
13.5″ Wheels with Solid Tyres
This children’s scooter was a promotional item made by Citroen when the company launched their new ‘C6’ automobile at the 1928 Paris Motor Show. During the show, in January, 1929, André Citroën opened the doors of his Quai de Javel factory to the public. 1929 also saw the launch of the Citroën C61, France’s first high-speed truck, with an all-steel enclosed cabin. The payload was 1,800kg, powered by a 42 bhp six-cylinder engine. Within a few years, Citroen became not only the leading car manufacturer in France and Europe, but also the world’s number two. However, despite support from the French government, the world economic situation around 1930 took its toll on the company’s finances and, in 1934, Citroen’s primary creditor Michelin took control. Citroen functioned well under Michelin, and continued to introduce innovative cars. The ‘Type 7A’ Traction Avant made its debut at the 1934 Paris Motor Show, and the prototype of the ‘TPV’ (Toute Petite Voiture) – which in due course became the 2CV and revolutionised transportation in France – was tested in 1938.
The scooter itself is in superb original unrestored condition. It does not appear to have had much use. The solid tyres are unique and, with Michelin’s connection with the company, I suspect they supplied them for this scooter. The scooter’s footplates feature the Citroen name at the rear, with the logo ‘C6’ below it. The front part of each footplate is in the shape of the radiator grille of the Citroen ‘C6’ – as you can see in the above photo of two Citroen C6 open tourers. The centrally-mounted sprung pedal, attached to a bar pivoting at the rear, is pumped up and down for extra acceleration. Its top bears the famous Citroen logo.
It’s easy to ride. Being larger than the usual ‘trotinette’, it appears to be designed for a child around 12 years old. My wife rode it – she’s 5′ 3″ – and though it doesn’t look like it’s meant for adult use, judging from her experience, I would assume a child around 4′ 6″ tall would be the optimum size.
Les JOUETS CITROEN de MARCEL GOURDET
In 1922, André Citroën decided to use toys for promotional purposes. A small Parisian toy manufacturer Fernand Migault presented him with the first prototype 1/10th size Citroen B2. Citroën immediately saw the benefit of targeting children. An exclusive agreement was made to reproduce exact replicas of Citroën cars and using plans provided by the factory, a first series of toys went into production. To cope with the scale of the order, Fernand Migault appealed to his cousin, Marcel Gourdet. Gourdet, at his Briare (Loiret) factory, provided the styling, authenticity and finish for the Citroën pedal cars. He is considered the true creator of Citroën toys. In 1930, his company became the Compagnie Industrielle Jouets.
The models were used as decorative items in the windows of Citroen dealers, and animated windows were installed in Paris department stores at Christmas. The range was diverse: cars and trucks came in several sizes, from the rare 1/3 scale ‘Citroënnette’ to small ‘plaster and flour’ 1/43 scale. The two most significant scales were 1/10 and 1/15.
Collaboration with Marcel Gourdet lasted until 1934: because of Citroen’s severe financial difficulties, the contract between the C.I.J and the Quai de Javel was canceled. 2,033,369 toys had been produced. Marcel Goudet turned to Louis Renault.
From 1934, the fate of Citroën toys is unclear, but it is known that the production was resumed in 1936 by J.Rabier, who then supplied toys at Citroen. In 1937 he founded his own firm in Montreuil under the brand J.R.D. [Translated from French]
1929 CITROEN C4 & C6
1929 CITROEN CHILDREN’S SCOOTER: UNDERSIDE
RECENT CITROEN PROTOTYPES
Citroen info and illustrations with thanks to – http://www.citroen.co.uk/about-citroen/our-brand/history
Gourdet info translated from – http://www.filrouge-automobile.fr/2015/04/25/un-jouet-citroen-la-rosalie-v-de-record/
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