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October 16, 2019
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André Lefebvre, and the cars he created at Voisin and Citroën

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André Lefebvre, and the cars he created at Voisin and Citroën eBooks

André Lefebvre, and the cars he created at Voisin and Citroën
BOOK OF THE MONTH – Classic & Sports Car.

By Gijsbert-Paul Berk
About the Author

Paperback • 23.8x17cm • 144 pages • 154 colour and b&w pictures

ISBN: 978-1-845842-44-4

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• A fascinating inside story about the technical progress of the French automobile industry between the two world wars
• Interesting but little known facts about the cars that André Lefebvre designed and the way he inspired his engineering team
• Clear descriptions of the technical development of the various cars that Lefebvre masterminded
• Covers the history of front wheel drive from 1896
• Explores advantages and limitations of the now almost extinct sleeve valve engines
• Over 125 photographs and drawings – some from André Lefebvre’s personal archives


This biography of André Lefebvre gives a revealing insight into the work of a practically unknown aeronautic engineer who, after building and racing competition cars for Gabriel Voisin in 1933, created for André Citroën the revolutionary front wheel drive Traction Avant (light fifteen in the UK). He was responsible for the minimalist 2CV and the Citroën DS, which was the sensation of the automotive world in 1955, and is still an icon of original automobile engineering and avant-garde design today.


Together with his colleagues at Citroën, Andre Lefebvre created the Traction Avant (1934), the TUB (1939) – Citroën's first front wheel drive utility van that was succeeded by the H and HY vans (1947) – the Deux Chevaux (1948), and, last but not least, the DS (1955).

From 1923 to 1931 Lefebvre also designed several highly original and outstanding competition cars and record-breaking automobiles for Voisin. He even drove some these cars in races and record attempts. It is obvious that during his 16 years with Gabriel Voisin he was very much influenced by the ideas of this illustrious aviation pioneer and car manufacturer.

The experience gained during that period gave him the self-confidence to persuade his successive bosses at Citroën that his unorthodox approach to automobile design was what the company needed; first he convinced André Citroën, later Pierre Michelin, then Pierre-Jules Boulanger, and finally Robert Puiseux and Pierre Bercot.
His oeuvre for Citroën alone earns him a place of honour among the great automobile designers of the past century. The fact that most present-day cars still carry the DNA of his design philosophy makes him stand out above other automotive pioneers and innovators. That is why it is amazing that so little is known about this fascinating and brilliant engineer.

This book was written in order to remedy that, and to pay tribute to André Lefebvre: the passionate pioneer who left car enthusiasts around the world such an important heritage.

Independent Reviews

Illustrated with rarely-seen images of development for the TA, DS and TPV, personality and technology are expertly mixed for a fascinating glimpse into the life of a top engineer, during a highly competitive period in motoring history.
Classic Car Weekly

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It reveals a most interesting character, who was quite clearly something of a genius. I feel that I’m well versed in 2cv lore, and yet there were plenty of things I learned from reading this text ... a must for all serious Citroen nuts, and very tempting indeed for 2cv and H van fans.
2CVGB News

SUPERB ... expertly written, accessible and well-illustrated.
Octane (UK)

It’s a compelling story, beautifully told. It’s much more than just a dry run-through of his career and achievements – the man himself comes through ... it’s a great addition to the bookshelf.

Author Berk reminds us that Lefebvre is largely unknown in the modern auto industry, but highlights his role as a key pillar of the manufacturer’s history and sheds some light on his life.
Auto Express

An essential book for anyone interested in the development of the 'classic Citröens'.

Gijsbert-Paul Berk has avoided dry historical distance by spending a lot of time with Lefebvre’s family. As a result we have the full story of the Traction Avant as a plucky underdog adventure ... A fascinating story.
Classic Cars

BOOK OF THE MONTH. Like Lefebvre's diverse projects, this absorbing 144-page book is full of fascinating research.
Classic & Sports Car

An engaging read on a hitherto ignored subject. Great stuff.

An essential book for anyone interested in the development of the 'classic Citroëns.'"

It is a beautiful book, packed with history and insight into a fascinating man with an amazing career. The photographs and illustrations just add the final magic.
The 2CV Club of Great Britain

This enthralling book, which reads just like a boy's own adventure and is told in a relaxed and almost conversational manner by the author, is an absolute must for Citroen addicts and lovers of original engineering.
Gay Classic Car Group

It's a fascinating story well told, aided by a host of illustrations.
Classic Car Mart

This book is an in-depth look at this celebrated engineer's career.
Classics Monthly

BOOK OF THE MONTH. Lefebvre has left a tremendous automotive legacy that is really brought to life in this enjoyable book.
New Zealand Classic Car

BOOK OF THE MONTH – A most entertaining and informative book. An excellent publication.
Australian Classic Car

As one of the most important automotive engineers of the last century, André Lefebvre's biography is suitably embroidered with more than just his life. Even if you couldn't care less about Citroën (or Voison, a part of Lefebvre's motorsport life), this book will win you over if you possess the tiniest engineering spark.
Wheels, United Arab Emirates


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