Citroen 2CV

From Citroen press: The 2 CV created a sensation when it was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show on 7 October 1948. Initial reactions were grating. The design was considered shocking.

The 2 CV’s styling rattled connoisseurs of traditional Citroëns, more used to the Traction and its top-end appeal. One thing is sure: the 2 CV left nobody indifferent. And although the press was sceptical, the public was soon to embrace the new vehicle wholeheartedly.

Orders came rushing in so thick and fast they “bottlenecked” the manufacturing process. At the time, customers often had to wait years before picking up their 2 CV.

The result was unequivocal: the 2 CV was a huge success. And its story was just beginning.

The 2 CV design reflected perfect balance, the most visible aspects of which were the car’s symmetrical windows. Its front end was more free spirited, with a bonnet in corrugated iron and a grille made up of horizontal bars adorned with double chevrons set in an oval.

The 2 CV was first and foremost an ingenious design. All of its body parts could be taken off and put back on thanks to sliding hinges and a few judiciously placed nuts and bolts.

The 2 CV weighed in at just 500 kg, reached a modest top speed of 65 km/h, and consumed a mere 4.5 litres of fuel per 100 km.

With all its advantages, the 2 CV really was the car that Pierre-Jules Boulanger had imagined: small, practical and democratically priced. But the fate of Citroën’s leading figures has often been tragic. Boulanger died in 1950 after witnessing the launch of his greatest project, with no idea of just how successful the 2 CV would become.

Gallery: Citroen 2CV