Designed starting from the middle of the ’30s the 2CV or how the French lovingly call it the “deuche” or “deudeuche” is the France’s popular car (or the French Volkswagen :-)).
It is the brainchild of engineer Pierre Jules Boulanger (1885-1950) who as the CEO of Citroën Motors decided in 1936 – the year when the paid holidays were introduced by law in France -to build a car that satisfies the following requirements:
“the car should be able to carry two farmers in wooden shoes, fifty kilos of potatoes or a keg at a maximum speed of 60 km / h for consumption 3 liters of gasoline per 100 km. In addition, the vehicle must be able to ride on the worst country roads; it must be light enough to be handled without problems by conducting beginner. Comfort must be blameless, as the baskets of eggs transported back is to arrive intact. Its price will be much lower than our Traction Avant*”
The project, known as TPV project (“Très Petite Voiture”), was confided to André Lefevre, a talented engineer with background in the automobile industry as well as aeronautics.
And it is the later environment that influences Lefevre’s choice of Duralumin car body, hammock style hanging seats and round doors and windows.
The 2CV’s production started in 1939 and on the 1st of September 1939 250 cars were already assembled at the factory in Levallois-Perret.
With the outbreak of World War II the cars were destroyed and only some prototypes were spared and hidden in the attic of the testing center, or in the basement of the design office of Citroën.
After the war the production of 2CV restarted in1948 and the first cars were presented to the public at the Paris Auto Show on 7th of October 1948.
The first model was a 4 doors 4 seats car (no rear side windows though) with 375cc flat-twin 4 stroke air cooled engine, 9 bhp, able to reach a speed of 63km/hour and, a novelty for the time, an independent suspension that used horizontal coil springs. The cost in today’s money… €282.
The 2CV became immediately a commercial success and with many people willing to buy it and able to afford it the waiting list increased to up to 5 years (it soon became a car sold second hand at a higher price then the new one!).
The 2CV is produced, with several enhancements and versions (including a 4×4 produced in a limited 694 cars version) until 1990 when on the 27 of July the last cars left the assembly line (by that time produced in Spain not in France).
Nowadays the 2CV is still the symbol of popular France (like “la baguette”, the bicycle and the beret).There are more then 300 2CV fan clubs around the world, many of which held regular auto shows and rallies and every two years since 1975 there is a World Meeting of 2CV Friends held each time in a different European city.
In 2012 Citroen announced that it will offer a descendant of the very popular 2CV that will resume the spirit of “Deuche” but apparently with a somewhat different design. The production of this car will begin in 2013
Hi, I am Carla. I am living and working in the beautiful city of Toulouse, France.
I like history, travel and... the southwest of France and try to share through this blog information about events that might be of interest to the travelers to this part of the world!