Citroen - 2CV
The 2CV belongs to a very short list of vehicles introduced right after World War II that remained relevant and competitive for many decades - in the case of the 2CV, 42 years. Pierre-Jules Boulanger's early 1930s design brief – said by some to be astonishingly radical for the time – was for a low-priced, rugged "umbrella on four wheels" that would enable two peasants to drive 100 kg (220 lb) of farm goods to market at 60 km/h (37 mph), in clogs and across muddy unpaved roads if necessary.  France at that time had a very large rural population, who had not yet adopted the automobile, due to its cost. The car would use no more than 3 litres of gasoline to travel 100 km. Most famously, it would be able to drive across a ploughed field without breaking the eggs it was carrying. Boulanger later also had the roof raised to allow him to drive while wearing a hat.  

 

André Lefèbvre was the engineer in charge of the TPV (Très Petite Voiture — "Very Small Car") project. By 1939, the TPV was deemed ready and several prototypes had been built. Those prototypes made use of aluminium and magnesium parts and had water-cooled engines. The seats were hammocks suspended from the roof by wires.

FranceGB (UK) EnglandGermanyHolland - the NetherlandsSwitzerland
France
Citroen 2CV Plums and Custard-click for a larger picture
Citroen 2CV Plums and Custard 1984
Citroen 2CV Plums and Custard
Location
Roquecor, Tarn et Garonne
County
Midi-Pyrenees
click here to go to Cross Channel Sports Cars
Number of persons:4 Luggage:2 small Minimum driver age:25 Gearbox:manual
Citroen 2CV-click for a larger picture
Citroen 2CV 
Citroen 2CV (France 3 - red white and blue)
Location
Nice, Cote D-Azur
County
French Riviera
click here to go to Rent A Classic Car
Number of persons:4 Luggage:2 small Minimum driver age:25 Gearbox:manual
GB (UK) England
Citroen 2CV-click for a larger picture
Citroen 2CV 1987
Citroen 2CV6 Special Edition
Location
Sutton Coldfield
County
West Midlands
click here to go to Kiss Fabulous Rides
Number of persons:4 Luggage:2 small Reasonably sized boot will take some modest sized luggage • Boot rack permanently for hamper, suitcase etc.Minimum driver age:21 Gearbox:manual  4 speedAudio:radio
Germany
Citroen 2CV-click for a larger picture
Citroen 2CV 1987
Citroen 2CV
Location
Tiefenbronn by Pforzheim
County
Karlsruhe, Germany
click here to go to Auto Nostalgie
Number of persons:4 Luggage:2 small Minimum driver age:25 Gearbox:manual
Citroen 2CV-click for a larger picture
Citroen 2CV 1988
Citroen 2CV 6 Club
Location
Forsten b. Munich
County
Bavaria, Germany
click here to go to Oldie Garage - South Bavaria
Number of persons:4 Luggage:2 small Minimum driver age:25 Gearbox:manual
Holland - the Netherlands
Citroen 2CV-click for a larger picture
Citroen 2CV 1978
Citroen 2CV
Location
Ootmarsum
County
Twente
click here to go to Nostalgisch Rijden NL
Number of persons:4 Luggage:2 small bags, but luggage carrier available to increase luggage capacityMinimum driver age:25 Gearbox:manual
Switzerland
Citroen 2CV -click for a larger picture
Citroen 2CV  1986
Citroen "Duck" 2CV
Location
Brugg
County
Switzerland
click here to go to Argovia Classics
Number of persons:4 Luggage:2 small Minimum driver age:25 Gearbox:manual
During the German occupation of France during World War II, Michelin (Citroën's main shareholder) and Citroën managers decided to hide the TPV project from the Nazis, fearing some military application. Several TPVs were buried at secret locations, one was disguised as a pickup, and the others were destroyed, and Boulanger had the next six years to think about more improvements.

 

Until 1994, when three TPVs were discovered in a barn, it was believed that only two prototypes had survived. As of 2003, five TPVs are known. For long it was believed that the project was so well hidden that the all the prototypes were lost at the end of the war (in fact it seems that none of the hidden TPVs was lost after the War, but in the 1950s an internal memo ordered them to be scrapped. The surviving TPVs were, in fact, hidden from the top management by some workers who were sensitive to their historical value). After the war, internal reports at Citroën showed that producing the TPV would not be economically viable, given the rising cost of aluminium in the post-war economy. A decision was made to replace most of the aluminium parts with steel parts. Other changes were made, the most notable being an air-cooled engine, new seats and a restyling of the body by the Italian Flaminio Bertoni.  

 

It took three years for Citroën to rework the TPV and the car was nicknamed "Toujours Pas Vue" (Still Not Seen) by the press.  Belgian built Citroën 2CV AZ-Luxe Citroën was finally unveiled at the Paris Salon in 1948. The car on display was nearly identical to the 2CV type A that would be sold next year, but lacked an electric starter, the addition of which was decided the day before the opening of the Salon of Paris. The car was enormously criticised. In spite of that, it had a great impact on low-income population. It was laughed at by journalists, probably because Citroën had launched the car without any press advertising.

 

The car was qualified as a "Spartan car" or a "sardine can" by many, other journalists called it "an umbrella on wheels". Boris Vian described the car tongue-in-cheek as an "aberration roulante" (rolling aberration) charging the slowness of this low-class car for causing Paris' traffic jams. History has confirmed that the car was charming in a lot of people's views, and a revolution in consumer transportation, at least on the French market.  

 

In 1981, a bright yellow 2CV was driven by James Bond in the film For Your Eyes Only, including an elaborate set piece car chase through a Spanish olive farm. Bond uses the unique abilities of the modestly powered 2CV to escape his pursuers in Peugeot 504 sedans. The car in the film was fitted with the flat-4 engine from a Citroën GS for slightly more power.  One of the many limited production series of 2CV in the 1980s was a series of "2CV James Bond" vehicles fitted with the standard flat-2 engine, painted in yellow with '007' on the front doors and fake bullet holes.  

 

The 1980s special edition models - (007,Beachcomber, Bamboo), some of which became full models - (the Dolly and the Art-Deco style Charleston) all made a virtue of the individual anachronistic styling. The changes between the special editions and the basic 'Spécial' model was only a different speedometer, paint, seat fabric, internal door handles, and interior light. Many of the 'special edition' interior trim items were carryovers from the 1970s 'Club' models. This probably gained former VW customers as the only other 'retro alternative' style of vehicle, the Volkswagen Beetle was withdrawn from the European market in 1978.

 

The 2CV was produced for 42 years, the model finally succumbing to customer demands for speed and safety, areas in which this ancient design had fallen significantly behind modern cars.  

 

In 1988, production ceased in France but was continued in Portugal. The last 2CV rolled off the Portuguese production line on July 27, 1990. In all, a total of 3,872,583 2CV sedans were produced. Including the commercial versions of the 2CV, Dyane, Méhari, FAF, & Ami variants, the 2CV's underpinnings spawned over nine million cars.

 

Source: Wikipedia Citroen 2CV Article
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