USA Krantenartikel uit 1998, Click here to read txt.



The other two cars in CollectorFile were conceived as inexpensive transportation, but still as something better than the bare minimum.
No such handicap afflicted the Citroen 2CV.

It is probably the most minimal auto ever to achieve widespread commercial success. but, strangely enough, seems to be the essence of its appeal.
Citroen CEO Pierre Boulanger wanted a small car but not a tiny one; a car for rural France, large enough to carry the farmer and his family, rugged enough to double as a farm truck, and yet able to tiptoe smoothly over neglected roads and rutted fields. Simple design and construction were essential, performance was expendable. At a time when few cars could top 40 mph comfortably, Boulanger set 31 mph as a sufficient maximum.
Exactly 250 pilot models were completed in 1939, all powered by a water-cooled, 375-cc opposed-twin driving the front wheels through a three-speed transmission. Both body and chassis were mostly aluminum, and a system of interconnected torsion bars made the suspension self-leveling. War preempted production, but development continued in secret, and an all-new engine emerged: air-cooled now, with an aluminum crankcase, iron cylinders and aluminum hemi heads, driving a four-speed gearbox. Heavier, less-costly steel replaced aluminum in the platform and body, and interconnected coil springs supplanted the torsion bars. The original seats, which resembled hammocks, gave way to new ones, which resembled lawn chairs.
Citroen called it 2CV-Deux Chevaux-for  2 horsepower, calculated by some arcane Gaullic formula; SAE taxable and brake horsepower were actually 4.8 and 9, respectively. When Boulanger unveiled it at the Paris Salon in 1948, the press jeered in derision. But warweary motorists placed more orders than Citroen could fill. By 1953, the plant in Levallois was turning out 1500 2CVs a week. A panel-van variant had joined the original four-door sedan, and the waiting list stretched to six years. By 1959, 2CVs ("Ducks" to fans) were assembled in Belgium, England, Cambodia and Chile.
As with the Beetle, performance increased as European prosperity returned. The 2CV engine grew to 425 cc in 1954, and by 1965 both 435-cc (badged 2CV4) and 602-cc (2CV6) versions were available. Over the years Ducks acquired better insulation, more trim, a real dashboard with a real defroster, a metal trunk lid to replace the original fabric cover, and an optional hatchback. Worldwide sales peaked in the mid-1960s, at 350,000 per year. Just as Volkswagen had its Squareback and 411/412, Citroen built the Ami and Dyane-Larger, more modern-looking cars based on the 2CV concept. Like their VW counterparts, they came and went while the original endured. Same with the Mehari, a 2CVbased trucklet that debuted in 1968, about the same time as the VW Thing. The 2CV's final fling was the fancytrimmed Charleston, with two-tone paint, chrome hubcaps and real automobile-style seats with actual foam padding.
It sold alongside the back-to-basics 2CV Special and midrange 2CV Club during the Duck's final decade.
Production ceased in 1990. Citroen says', it had built seven million two-cylinder cars since 1949, but that includes not only Ducks but also Amis, Dyanes and Meharis. Experts estimate standard 2CV production at between five million and 5.5 million. About 1000 were officially imported here by Citroen in 1955-70. After that the 2CV could no longer meet federal standards. Nonetheless, perhaps another 500 have come over, by hook or crook, since then. According to current federal law, any vehicle 25 years old or older is exempt from safety and emissions regulations, so if you buy a 2CV in 1998 it must be registered as a 1973 or earlier model.
Very early and very recent 2CVs command higher prices than those from the '60s and '70s. The snazzy Charleston package adds almost nothing to a car's value; condition means more than trim level. Look for a sound body and platform; virtually all mechanical problems are inexpensively repaired; rust is not.
Our featured 2CV is an older model dressed as a Charleston. Collector Wally Baran has owned it since 1990.
Four adults will indeed fit in a 2CV in adequate comfort, and opening the huge fabric sunroof (standard equipment since the beginning) creates at least an illusion of space.
The little two banger putts and trills to the redline. and beyond which is how you have to drive it if you expect to make any progress. The peculiar horizontal LC shifter slides and rotates hrough the cowl, but operates with a sensual precision unexcelled in the world's most' expensive machinery. The' back-road ride can get a bit bouncy, despite the Duck's legendarily soft suspension. Body rollborders on the extreme, but so does comering grip. Like an, old solid-axle Ford, the 2CV leans hard, and the leaning doesn't bother it a bit
Sixty mph feels ' breathlessly, daringly fast A 2CV can force you to rethink your definition of driving fun-and that too, is part, of its appeal.

-John F.Katz-

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