- Automobile History
Citroen 2CV. A Perfect Retro Car
Can you get any better?
I know you may think I'm a bit of a nut but I really love these cars. They are a true French icon and are so versatile it's untrue. Let me tell you about my 2CV.
The history of the 2CV goes back to France in 1948. They were originally built as a car for the masses, but especially for French farmers whose main form of transport at that time was the horse and cart. Citroen gave their designers the brief to:
"Design me a car to carry two people and fifty kilos of potatoes at 60km/h, using no more than three litres of fuel every 100km. It must be easy to maintain and capable of running on the worst of roads, able to drive over a ploughed field carrying a basket of eggs without breaking a single one, and must be totally comfortable. It’s price must be less than a third of the 11cv Traction Avant”.
It also needed to accommodate its driver whilst wearing a hat!
The design of the 2Cv changed little from 1948 until 1990, when the last one rolled off the production line.
My car was first registered in the UK in 1983. It had one previous owner, who owned the car from new. Although it only had about 23k miles on the clock, the car needed complete restoration as it had been laid up for a good few years.
The car was rebuilt down to the last nut and bolt and while Citroen no longer make 2CVs, they do still produce parts for them. This car has many new parts and the original parts have been refurbished.
The model of this car is the Charleston, which has the distinctive two-tone paintwork. The original Charlestons came in black/maroon, two-tone grey or black/yellow. The green and cream colour scheme of this car is my own design.
The engine is only 602cc which makes it very economical. €23 fills the tank and I get about 180 miles on a full tank. The car will do 0-70 miles an hour the same day.
Seats can be removed as required to accommodate larger loads and the roof can open quarter way, halfway or fully back. Although in Ireland it has only been fully back once this year! The boot is large and can carry a week's shopping from the supermarket as well as a bag of coal and a school bag or two. You just need to make allowance for the reduction in acceleration as the total weight increases. I don't find it a real problem as most people expect a 2CV to be slow anyway.
I have been driving 2CVs since 1977, catching the bug from my parents and then owning three of my own over the years. This car was imported from the UK in 2007.
You have to admit the car is distinctive but in no way deserves the 'jelly-mould' name that my wife calls it! It's great fun to drive, especially in the Irish summer (that's on July 8th by the way) and I'm certainly doing my bit in recycling!
The Irish 2CV Club
At the instigation of a very talented engineering student from Cork, an Irish 2cv owner's club was formed in October 2010. The first Irish 2CV club meeting was held on 31st October 2010. There were 7 and a half 2CVs present (the half being a shell for restoration). We met at the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel in County Laois, Ireland. Owners came from across the island of Ireland and we have great plans for next year. Stay tuned to find out all about our exploits!
© 2008 whizzer