The Citroën 2CV, though quirky and bashful, has become quite a legend in terms of “ancient” automobiles.
The 2CV name stands for ‘deux-cheveaux’, or ‘two horses’ in English, as that was about how much power this little car had when it first came off the production line in 1948. With 42 years of production under its belt, it has become one of the finest hidden gems of the automobile industry.
The History of the Citroën 2CV
A man by the name of Pierre Jules Boulanger became head of Citroën in 1935. His first goal was to manufacture an automobile that lower-class citizens could afford. It wasn’t meant to be flashy. Instead, it was meant to be practical, perfect for simple transportation.
The car was set to be a four-seater with a 3L/100 km gas consumption. They eventually created a prototype with an air-cooled, twin-cylinder engine. Just as the car was getting prepped for a showcase, WWII broke out, and the government took charge of the factory to create military equipment.
Technology and Innovations of the Citroën 2CV – A Practical Relic
The last of the Citroën 2CVs were made with naturally-aspirated .4L petrol engines. Some referred to it as the ‘tin snail’, as it was incredibly slow. In terms of power, it provided 24 bhp with a top speed up 63 mph. The car was available in either four or five-seat sedan or saloon designs with a box-y cut.
Timeline of the Citroën 2CV
- Citroën 2CV – First Generation (1950s)
The first generation Citroën 2CV was released in 1949 with a top speed of 40 mph. There was a single taillight and a single windshield wiper. Throughout the first half of the 1950s, the car received some upgrades, including an ignition lock, a light on the speedometer, and side repeaters.
A heating and ventilation system was installed in the late 1950s and the car was upgraded with a top speed of 50 mph.
- Citroën 2CV – Second Generation (1960s)
The 375 cc engine was cut from the car in the 1960s and the speed was bumped up to 53 mph. Some additional features included a sunroof, an electric windshield wiper, a third side window, and an updated grille with the Citroën logo.
- Citroën 2CV – Third Generation (1970s)
The 1970s saw two Citroën 2CVs, a 435 cc version and a 602 cc version. Some upgrades included two seats in the front instead of a bench, 3-point seatbelts, and a narrow bumper. The hp was reduced from 28 to 25 thanks to new emission standards.
- Citroën 2CV – Fourth Generation (1980s)
The fourth generation Citroën 2CV was upgraded with a new carburetor to boost the horsepower to 29. The base model was fitted with chrome headlights and refined upholstery. The last model left the production line in July of 1990.
The Citroën 2CV in the News
The Citroën company has finally confirmed that they will not be making another CV2. The new CEO made a note that they “do not want to become the retro car manufacturer”.
Celebrity Endorsements of the Citroën 2CV
Best Citroën 2CV Groups
One of the largest 2CV clubs in the world is located in the UK. Here you can find a community of 2CV enthusiasts to chat and share insights with.
The Citroën 2CV – The ‘Tin Snail’
While there is no hope at this point in seeing a Citroën 2CV revival, we can now look back at this iconic, beetle-shaped car with nostalgia in our hearts. Even though it was never made to compete with the vast breed of supercars on the market, it has a ‘super’ special place in our hearts. Live on little Citroën!