I searched for previous posts for this model, but found none, which is somewhat hard to believe! Therefore, I will do a little write-up on this somewhat famous and well known vehicle, and the Dinky Toys models that Meccano produced.
There is much information on the internet about the development of this car, but to summarize, it was initially designed and produced around 1934. At that time, it was quite revolutionary, as it was one of the first production cars to utilize front wheel drive and also independent suspension. Over the years, many variations and versions were produced, but for our purposes, we will just focus on the models that Dinky copied. From about 1937 until 1952, the Citroen 11BL had a rear boot or trunk that was not too large. In fact, the spare tire was fitted into a cover that was part of the rear hatch, and was a distinctive styling feature of the car for many years. That also impacted the available trunk space to some extent, so finally, in 1952, Citroen added some length to the boot or trunk, enabling the spare tire to be completely contained within it, while also allowing a bit more luggage room. This changed the look of the car, and corresponds to the later Dinky Citroen 11BL, made from about 1953 through 1957.
Dinky first made this model in 1949, and at that time, it was designed with the then current look with the spare tire area visible at the rear. These first models also had a tinplate front bumper, nicely curved to resemble the real one, a baseplate with no model number, and small lettering. This first version also had fewer and larger louvers on the sides of the hood or bonnet, and fewer and thicker vertical bars in the front grill. The first version also did not include the rear taillights, later shown on the rear mudguards and above, on the rear of the cabin. The first model was made in a metallic grey/gold color, followed by the familiar black. For 1949, they also had the zamac solid metal tires and wheels, followed later by the rubber "m" tires with yellow wheels. There are several other small variations that Jacques lists in his Encyclopedia, but I am not going into detail with them here.
When the new 11BL was announced in 1952, Meccano decided it was time to update their model. So the tinplate front bumper was replaced with a nice diecast version, the spare tire holder deleted, and the lengthened boot or trunk added, along with those rear taillights. The louvers on the sides of the hood were also made much finer and more numerous, as were the vertical slats in the grill. And, finally, the baseplate was changed to reflect the model number 24N, and later, the size of the lettering was made larger. The new model was made in black, with cream wheels, and for the last year or so, was also made in a handsome color of grey, along with white tires. This Citroen never used the polished or chrome wheels, and always came in trade boxes of 6.
I bought my first Dinky model of this car in 1956, when I was eleven years old. I really liked the car on the display cabinet, but when I asked about buying one, I was informed they had no more. I was discouraged, but then thought to ask if I could buy the display piece....and they agreed! I then had to carefully remove it, as it was wired down, and some damage was done to the baseplate. A few years ago, I treated it to a professinal restoration in its original black with cream wheels. Then in 1958, while visiting a toy store in San Diego, I noticed that they carried Dinky Toys. In looking through their stock, I noticed that they had a beautiful grey 11BL in a trade box.....the last one. So I bought it, and got the trade box as well. I still have both and the model has stayed in very nearly mint condition some 58 years later. Still one of my favorite Dinky models!
The French Dinky factory really made a splendid model of this beloved car....it was very true to look and scale, and makes a great display piece. The real car, which was somewhat dated by then, was replaced by the all new Citroen DS19 around 1957.
Best regards, Terry