Citroën celebrates the 75th birthday of one of its most iconic models: the 2 CV. Designed at the Citroën design office on Rue du Théâtre in Paris and fine-tuned at the La Ferté-Vidame test center in the Eure-et-Loir region, it was presented to the public at the Paris Motor Show on October 7, 1948. The 2 CV had an exceptional journey: a total of 5,114,969 units were produced, including 1,246,335 2 CV vans. The last 2 CV left the Mangualde factory in Portugal 42 years after its launch, on July 27, 1990, at 4 p.m.
THE ORIGINS OF THE 2 CV: THE “TPV” PROJECT
The “TPV” (“Toute Petite Voiture”) project was born in the mid-1930s, in 1936. Its goal was to provide low-income people with an economical and versatile car. In 1937, the first rolling prototype of the TPV project saw light, weighing only 370 kg and with only one headlight (the legislation of the time did not require two). The vehicle could transport up to four people and 50 kg of luggage at a maximum speed of 50 km/h and was extremely comfortable.
250 pre-production models were planned to be presented at the Paris Motor Show in 1939, but the outbreak of World War II prevented this from happening. The models that had been built were destroyed, except for four that were kept secret at the Citroën Test Center in La Ferté-Vidame.
A LEGENDARY CAR THAT HAS BECOME AN ICON OF THE AUTOMOBILE WORLD
When it began production in July 1949, the 2 CV was a small car with a 375 cc, 9 hp air-cooled two-cylinder engine, capable of a top speed of 50 km/h. Citroën revolutionized the automotive industry with an economical and versatile vehicle.
Its unique body shape and attractiveness quickly conquered a significant part of the population. But its great success was also due to its infinite variety of uses, its modularity, its lightness, agility and comfort. Not to mention, it was ultra-cheap to maintain, making it the most popular car. By 1950, orders were flooding in, stretching delivery times to 6 years.
Its avant-garde spirit, with its ingenious technologies for the time, ensured that it remained on the automotive scene for many years. The 2 CV is a timeless model that has become a true social phenomenon, attracting collectors from all over the world. It is still frequently seen on our roads today.
The 2 CV is also known around the world in many different ways, and its reputation earned it several nicknames. Some of the best known are “Deuche”, “Deudeuche” and “Pato Feo”, to name a few. This wide variety of nicknames shows how popular this historic and iconic model was.
VARIOUS VERSIONS AND ADVENTURES ON THE ROADS OF THE WORLD
In total, there were ten special editions of the 2 CV, released in France and several other European countries. They included the Spot, the Charleston and the Cocorico. The 2 CV also underwent a number of changes, including the launch of the 2 CV van (known as the 2 CV AU) in 1951, and then the 2 CV AZ in 1954, equipped with a 12 CV engine and the famous centrifugal clutch.
In addition, the 2 CV traveled roads around the world thanks to several Raids, such as the Paris-Kabul-Paris Raid of 16,500 km in 1970, the Paris-Persepolis Raid of 13,500 km in 1971 or the Africa Raid of 8,000 km from Abidjan to Tunisia in 1973, all organized by Citroën.
EIGHT ICONIC 2 CV PHOTOGRAPHED FOR THE OCCASION
To commemorate this anniversary, eight iconic 2 CVs from the Citroën Conservatory have been photographed from a particularly artistic angle:
- The Hermès 2 CV 6, dressed by Hermès inside and out, was shown at the Paris Motor Show in 2008 to commemorate the 2 CV’s 60th birthday.
- The 2 CV 6 Spécial, one of the last 2 CV produced at the Levallois plant in 1988.
- The 2 CV Spot, Citroën’s first special edition, of which 1,800 units were built with two-tone upholstery and bodywork based on a design by stylist Serge Gevin.
- The 2 CV A, one of 250 prototypes built in 1939 for the Motor Show, which was eventually canceled due to World War II. One of the four remaining vehicles in the Citroën Conservatory.
- The 2 CV A Berline (1950), identical to the one that Pierre Boulanger presented at the opening of the Paris Motor Show in 1948.
- The right-hand drive 2 CV A, manufactured in Slough (United Kingdom) from 1953. It had a sheet metal boot and folding rear windows. To this day, it is the oldest British 2CV in Europe.
- The 2 CV AZU, a 2 CV van produced from 1954 to March 1978, with a large loading capacity and “closet” rear doors to facilitate loading.
- The 2 HP 4 x 4 “Sahara”, with four-wheel drive and two motors that allow you to negotiate slopes of more than 40 percent in the sand.