Nobody could ever accuse the Citroen 2CV of being boring or mundane. It may have been designed to carry a basket of eggs across a field without a single breakage and the original concept came about because the designer got delayed by a couple of farmers on horseback but the result was anything but what you might expect.
Today the Citroen 2CV is a cult car with a following that spans generations, socio-economic groups and national borders and even though the design dates back to 1939 this is still a car that turns heads. If you want to be noticed then the Citroen 2CV is the car for you!
Everyone thinks of the Citroen 2CV as being a French car and it certainly was designed in France and built there until 1988.
But between 1953 and 1960 it was also built in Britain and from 1988 to 1990 it was built in Portugal.
The final 2CV rolled off the production line on July 27 1990 ending a piece of automotive history that began in 1939 when the first prototypes appeared.
The Citroen 2CV almost became a German car rather than a French car for the early prototypes nearly fell into German hands as the occupation of France began but those early vehicles were hidden away until France was liberated. Rebuilding France took precedence over producing a new car and it wasn’t until 1948 that those early prototypes were presented to the public.
The early versions of the Citroen 2CV were powered (although the use of the word “powered” in relation to those early 2CVs is perhaps relative) by a 375cc motor that produced just 9hp and gave the 2CV a top speed of 35mph. Over the years the size of the motor was increased till it reached 602cc that produced 29hp and resulted in a top speed of 70mph.
Imagine doing 112km/h in a car like this!
But don’t laugh … James Bond wasn’t laughing when he traded his signature Aston Martin for a Citroen 2CV in the movie “For Your Eyes Only”.
Balidot and Seguela weren’t laughing either when they took a 1958 2CV around the world.
They covered 99,200 kilometres (162,000 miles) through 50 countries in this sturdy little vehicle and it didn’t even falter when they lost the gearbox oil in Bolivia and replaced the oil with squashed bananas!
Despite being out of production for 19 years the Citroen 2CV is still rocking on and Paolo’s 2CV is well-known around the streets of Hervey Bay.
If you can’t find Paolo’s Pizza Bar on The Esplanade at Torquay just look for the 2CV it will be parked out the front and you certainly won’t miss this amazing little car.