The prior decade was a confusing blur of many short-lived Citroën dealerships that came and went in BC (mostly went). With Citroën factory backing in the form of Citroën Canada Ltd, one would think that the chaotic scene would become a bit less chaotic…but one would be wrong.
First of all, it looks like Sargent Sales and Service gave up in 1966. With Sargent gone, Citroën had two dealerships in Vancouver, both set-up and operated under Citroën Canada Ltd’s auspices:
1383 Hornby Street. This was the address where France Auto Ltd. briefly operated a year earlier in 1965. Apparently, Citroën briefly took over this location.
1290 Burrard Street. This is the new $250,000 headquarters and showroom that was announced in 1965.
1960's BROCHURE FROM CITROEN CANADA ON HORNBY STREET IN VANCOUVER
The new headquarters at 1290 Burrard was ready to be staffed in 1966, and of course columnist Jack Wasserman had the low-down:
“…When the Citroën company went looking for a French-speaking gent to head the new local factory branch they came up with George Bihaly, who was born in Hungry, raised in France, and is a Brazilian citizen…”
With Citroën Canada Ltd. now in full control of marketing, and presumably with more marketing budget than the struggling independent operations that existed prior to 1965, advertising was prolific in the local Vancouver newspapers. Following are some examples.
As an interesting side topic, this 1966 Vancouver newspaper ad jumped off the digital page: A first year Traction Avant Roadster?
Perhaps it’s the long lost 22CV V8 version that went missing after the Paris Salon in 1934? In any case, a first year roadster is a very rare beast indeed. Wonder where it went? Anyone have any clues?
George Dyke notes that the late Red Dellinger (known for tracking down and purchasing the Madame Michelin Traction Avant 15-6 cabriolet) was convinced that an elusive 22CV V8 cabriolet had been shipped to the west coast prior to WWII. Imagine if it is still sitting in a garage somewhere in the lower mainland of British Columbia!
We were lucky enough to make contact with Roland Milaire, Andre Molaire’s son. Roland still lives in BC and provided us with several wonderful period photos.