The 2CV has an exceptional place in French history and automobile culture
The iconic Citroën 2CV car, beloved in France since 1948, is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, as it continues to be enjoyed by enthusiasts across the country.
Seven decades ago this year, the small-but-mighty car was first presented at Le Salon de l’Automobile in October 1948 to great acclaim, news source FranceInfo explains.
Built by car manufacturers Citroën after Michelin bought the company in 1935, the 2CV was a new vehicle that was designed to be capable of transporting up to four people at 60kph, for a cost that was two-thirds cheaper than a regular car.
Coupled with its modern-looking curved design, this made the car an instant hit.
Stéphane Nicolas, manager of historical heritage at Michelin, explains: “Thirteen years of study, from the beginning of the project in 1935, to the presentation of the car in 1948; this could seem like a long delay, but this was the necessary time they needed to make the ideal car of Michelin's dreams.”
Five million vehicles were built, and the 2CV took its place in French history, becoming a familiar sight on the post-war roads, throughout the turbulence of the 1968 era, and in the beatnik years.
The 2CV still proved popular in the 1990s, but today, it is rare (although tourists in Paris can still hire a 2CV to tour the capital in a traditionally-French way).
Often favoured by vintage car enthusiasts, some 2CV models can reach as much as €100,000 at auction, prized for their instantly-recognisable design as much as for their distinctive engine sound.
Its place in design history assured, the 2CV was last year also honoured by a cabinet-maker in Indre-et-Loire, who created a drivable model vehicle with bodywork entirely honed from wood.
Michel Robillard began work on the 1953-style car seven years ago, and mainly used walnut, pear and apple tree to finish his unusual creation.