Cars after 1950 - Modern Times
Citroën 2 CV
Body style: 2 CV saloon
For many years, the 2 CV remained the symbol of “minimalist”, affordable, everyday cars for all. It came to birth during World War II in the hotbed of ideas that was the Citroën firm and was designed to meet specifications that would go on to define post-war motoring: “A car that can carry two booted-up farmers and 50 kg of potatoes at a top speed of 60 kph, with consumption of 3 litres per 100 km. Comfort is a priority, because the eggs on the rear seat need to stay intact, despite any ruts in the road.” The first time the prototype was presented to journalists, one detractor asked whether Citroën would be selling a tin-opener to go with it!
It was eventually presented at the 1948 Paris Motor Show, and went on sale a year later at a price of 228,000 old French Francs. Success was immediate, and in 1950, waiting times were up to 6 years!
As so often, Citroën had managed to design a car like no other. The famous “two CV”, sometimes derided as a sofa under an umbrella, is absolutely unmistakeable. The flat two-cylinder air-cooled engine was lightweight and easy to use in cold weather. As a front-wheel drive, the 2 CV was easy to handle, with an extremely soft suspension.
Its rustic appearance made it a classless vehicle; almost anyone could identify with this non-conformist vehicle. It appeared in rallies, long-distance races, in literature and films. Despite not having the best green credentials, it gained a following among environmentalists. More than 5 million units were built over 40 years of production.
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