André Lefèbvre 1894 – 1964

André Lefebvre (19 August 1894 – 4 May 1964) was a French automobile engineer.

André René Lefebvre was born in Louvres, France (North of Paris, Val d’Oise). He began his career as an aviation engineer working for Voisin, then later for Renault and Citroën. He was also a racing driver and race car designer, and won the 1927 Rallye Monte Carlo.

After completing studies at Supaéro he began to work for Gabriel Voisin in March 1916.[1] Voisin placed Lefebvre in charge of his Laboratoire where he worked on aviation projects until the end of World War I, and then automobiles.[2] He is particularly noted for creating the Voisin C6 Laboratorie, which was a race car prepared for the 1923 French Grand Prix.[3]

Voisin C6 Laboratorie

When Voisin ran into business problems in 1931, Lefebvre was recommend to Louis Renault. Renault was persuaded to recruit Lefèbvre by François Lehideux, himself a senior executive within the company (who was also married to the daughter of Renault’s brother).

Lefebvre remained with Renault only until 1933, when he was hired by André Citroën to work on the Traction Avant project.[4] After the death of André Citroën in 1935, Lefèbvre continued his work at Citroën, now led by the innovative entrepreneur Pierre-Jules Boulanger, who came to the company from Michelin.

Citroën DS

Working with Citroën designers Flaminio Bertoni and Paul Magès, Lefèbvre created four of the most dramatic, boldly designed vehicles of 20th century:

    • Citroën 2CV (1948-1990) – a small, advanced, utilitarian sedan, known as “the duck” or “Tin Snail”, built for 42 years
    • Citroën DS (1955-1975) – a radically advanced, large family sedan, seen as shark like, built for 20 years
  • Citroën HY (1947-1981) – a corrugated, practical delivery van, built for 34 years

The 1955 Citroën DS placed third in the 1999 Car of the Century competition, behind the Ford Model T and BMC Mini.

Lefèbvre died of hemiplegia on 4 May 1964.

Sources and further reading

    1. Gijsbert-Paul, Berk. Andre Lefebvre and the Cars He Created at Voisin and Citroen. Dorchester: Veloce Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-1-845842-44-4
    1. Borgeson, Griffith (1975). “Gabriel Voisin Archetype of Constructors”. Automobile Quarterly. Automobile Quarterly, Inc. 13 (4): 342–357.
    1. Banovsky, Michael (August 13, 2014). “Voisin C6 ‘Laboratoire'”. Retrieved 2016-12-18.
  1. Reynolds, John. André Citroën; The Man and the Motor Cars. Trowbridge: Sutton. pp. 173–174.