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History and facts of the 2CV
|The 2CV was the French version of the German
"Volkswagen". The word translated means "peoples car".
Both were designed in the mid 30's before WWII, just the French did a
better technical job. The French company Citroën realized that
there was an urgent need for a cheap and reliable car with a good
gas-mileage. So the idea was born for this "umbrella on 4 wheels".
If you have ever tried to crawl into the rear seat of a Beetle, then you understand why it is so much better, that the 2CV comes with 4 doors!
When it comes to drive on snow and ice, the 2CV's prove that a front wheel drive is better than a rear wheel drive. The smaller 2CV engine compared to the Beetle gives you about the same results, since the 2CV has less weight to carry. The incredible headroom in a 2CV makes driving convenient for tall people (like me 6"4). Such headroom isn't available in most other cars of even today.
The requirements were simple: The car must supply space for 4 adults, it must perform well on bad roads (You should be able to carry a basket of eggs without breaking one of them) and it needs to have an excellent gas-mileage.
All these requirements were transformed into a car by a team of engineers, led by a former aircraft designer. So the 2CV was designed in it's own unique way - very different to any other car of it's time. The technology built in the 2CV was way ahead of its time. Even today you will find ingenious details what are still not state of the art in modern cars.
The 2CV was first introduced to the public in 1938. Because of WWII the production started in 1948. Since the car was such a success the production was continued for over 40 years. The design had undergone only a few minor changes in all these years. Only the technical parts like engine, transmission and brake-system was updated. The body with its unique shape remained unchanged.
Citroën 2CV's were marketed and sold in the US during the 60's. At that time gas was cheap and people demanded big glamorous American cars. However in Europe things were different. After WWII people couldn't afford big and expensive cars. So the 2CV became very popular all over Europe.
Then, in the late 60's and 70's the 2CV became popular for students and the hippie generation. The picture changed in the 80's. The 2CV was seen as a cheap second car or just a fun car. After the production was stopped in June 1990, the 2CV had a renaissance. Today the 2CV is seen as a vintage car and kept as a sought after and much loved collector's item.
Over the decades the 2CV has proved it's legendary reliability. In the 70's the Citroën Company organized cross-country expeditions from Central Europe to the Middle East under the harshest conditions to prove the quality and reliability of this car. Before and after this time Citroën enthusiasts took the car on even tougher adventures all around the world i.e. crossing the Sahara desert, crossing over high mountains and even circumnavigate the world.
After Citroën stopped these official events, 2CV and Citroën clubs started to organize so called "Raids" (French term for expedition). The toughest Raids today are:
There are many 2CV clubs all over Europe. The clubs organize big meetings and "Raids" all over the world. The biggest event is the "International Meeting of 2CV Friends" what is hosted every second year by another country and draws thousands of participants from all around the world. In America there are active Citroën clubs with many 2CV members. Spare parts are readily available and stocked at several parts suppliers in the US. The probably best source is French Pars Service near Seattle, WA. (Link to FPS homepage)
You can find lots of information on my homepage. You will find slide shows of several 2CV events, photos of restorations, repair instructions, 2CV users manual, buyers guide and cars for sale, the homepage is created by true 2CV enthusiasts.
The modern 2CV 's are equipped with a 602 cc engine (36.7 cubic inch) with 28 HP. The weight of the empty car is only 600 kg (1323 pound). Because it is a light car it only needs a small engine to take you almost anywhere. The top speed is around 75 miles. So it can easily keep up with traffic in town and on the freeway. On highways, when it comes to sharp corners and curves, you will do better than most cars on the road. The fuel economy is great! The car is cheap to operate and gets 34 mpg or better.
The car has a 4 speed manual transmission.
This car loves rough roads! The 2CV is equipped with a unique independent suspension that rides smooth under any conditions, corners like no other car (you have to try it to believe it!).
The 2CV behaves very well on slippery roads. Ice and snow will not affect you like in most other cars. This extremely good behavior is based on the small tires and the short wheelbase. You can cross over mountains in wintertime without the fear of getting stranded in the snow.
Driving a 2CV will take the stress away. It is easy to handle and other motorists act friendly. You always see thumbs up and you will get more smiles an hour. It is great in the city and it is easy to park.
The 2CV attracts lots and lots of curiosity!!! When you own a 2CV you will attract attention, you will turn peoples heads and you will make new friends.
|Experience the 2CV - you will love it|
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