The iconic Citroen 2CV (2 Chevaux or 2 horses or “deuch” or “umbrella on four wheels”) was launched in 1948 at the Paris Motor Show and went on to sell more than 4 million before production ceased in 1990.
The design criteria were for a lightweight vehicle that would enable two peasants to drive 100 kg (220 lb) of farm goods to market at 60 km/h, in clogs and across muddy unpaved roads if necessary.Fuel economy was limited 100km with 3 litres of fuel. Most famously, it would be able to drive across a ploughed field without breaking the eggs it was carrying. Later the roof was raised and made convertible so that you could drive while wearing a hat.and to accomodate bulky items.
It’s a bit of a “marmite” car – you either love it or hate it – but it was nevertheless a most successful car getting many French people on the road with something that was functional and economic. It remains popular and is so evocative of France – just add a Gauloise cigarette and a beret and you have the image of France in the second half of the 20th Century.
There is a charming video advertisement for the 2CV which is worth watching at
There is also a 2CV Museum in Alsace – “Created in 1998 by the Alsace Club 2CV, the museum aims to show visitors one of the greatest legends of the French car industry. The exhibition is dedicated to all people, children and adults, 2CV enthousiasts, 2CV friends or the curious. The museum wants to show the car that Citroën conceived and sold for 42 years but also wants to show the place that the car takes in people’s hearts and imaginations.– open every Saturday of the year. Entrance is free.
Musée de la 2CV, Route du Donon, Grandfontaine (67 Bas Rhin, Alsace)