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Citroen 2CV: Buying guide and review (1948-1990)

Citroen 2CV: Buying guide and review (1948-1990) Classic and Performance Car
Citroen 2CV Citroen 2CV Citroen 2CV Citroen 2CV Citroen 2CV Citroen 2CV Citroen 2CV Sahara 4x4
The Citroen 2CV is one of those cars that polarises opinions, some love its honest charm, while others poke fun at the very basic and unconventional looks. But even its detractors cannot deny that over its 42 year production lifespan it become an automotive legend. The 2CV is the ultimate example of the automobile distilled down to its pure essence, and while it may look as basic as a wood burning stove from the outside, it also featured some genuinely ingenious technology under the skin at launch.
 
The 2CV’s gestation was a somewhat difficult period, a World War. major changes in aluminium prices and all manner of production challenges meant that despite the initial design having being penned in the mid-‘30s, the first 2CVs rolled off the production line in 1948. 
 
The design brief stated that the car had to be basic, affordable and excel at traversing rough terrain with a full complement of passengers and do it all day long if necessary. It is this last point that lead to the development of an ingenious suspension system that provided the 2CV with both a soft ride and excellent road holding. 
 
Over the intervening years it has provided reliable, fuss free motoring for millions and has become the automotive expression of minimalist French chic.
 
Which one to buy?
 
With production spanning over four decades there are numerous variants to choose from with many detailed running changes along the way. With very modest performance, basically no safety or luxury features and poor protection from the elements the 2CV is best suited for sunny weekend drives, UK models were sold with the 602cc engine which provided a heady 26bhp and were a fair bit speedier than the original 9bhp 375cc versions. 
 
The original body style featured a fabric roof, corrugated bonnet and simple steel panels for easy repair. This basic design was left relatively unchanged so the relaxed ride, quirky body style and basic running gear can be experienced in any 2CV. Derivatives included the Dyane hatchback, Mehari convertible Acadiane van and even a very limited build of twin engined Sahara versions. 
 
With over 3.8million 2CV saloons built and a further 1.2 million van derivatives there are still a lot of cars out there to choose from and with parts being widely available the final choice comes down to whether you are looking for a project, weekend toy or mint condition collectors car. 
 
Peformance and specs
 
1948 Citroen 2CV 
Engine 375cc 4 valve OHV two-cylinder 
Power 9bhp 
Torque 17ft lb 
Top speed 40mph 
0-60mph n/a 
Fuel consumption 65+ mpg 
Gearbox Four-speed manual
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2370mm
Length 3778mm
Width 1478mm
Height 1600mm
Weight 682kg
 
Common problems
 
• Thanks to this little cars enduring popularity the 2CV community is very well catered for in the UK with a number of clubs providing advice and specialists providing basically any part you can think of for your car. 

• The chassis is known to be very rust prone, thankfully repairs and replacement parts are easy enough to carry out. If you intend to keep your car having the chassis components galvanised is highly recommended as they leaked water even from new.

• Body panels, trim and even entire chassis are available from specialists making the 2CV a great starter classic for those keen to get their hands dirty.

• Engines are tough but require regular oil changes (every 3000 miles or so). Cars built after 1970 can run on unleaded fuel without modifications. 

• Front disc brakes are inboard and are labour intensive to replace, drum brakes were standard all round until later in production when the front discs were introduced from 1981. Be aware of the different brake fluid requirements for each system.

• Quirky dash mounted 4 speed gearbox is tough, no synchro on first so some crunching is normal, although worn gearboxes will exhibit this trait in third gear as well.

• Interiors tend to wear well, vinyl covered seats stand up to the elements best but a general re-upholstering is required on most older cars
 
Model history
 
1948: Launched at the Paris Auto Salon, the first 2CV features a 9bhp 375cc air cooled engine powering the front wheels and suicide style front doors.
1954: Minor changes to bonnet badging and the addition of dashboard lighting
1955: 425cc 12bhp engine introduced raising top speed to 49mph
1958: 2CV Sahara 4x4 introduced featuring a second engine in boot
1961: Twin engined 4x4 Sahara version launched. A total of 694 units built
1964: Windscreen wipers become electrically operated
1965: Front doors now open conventionally
1967: Dyane version introduced as slightly upmarket 2CV with two levels of trim
1968: Citroen Mehari introduced using ABS plastic for the body shell, a world first
1970: Electrical system now 12V and new indicators and taillights introduced
435cc and 602cc engine variants available
1975: 2CV reintroduced to UK market. Exterior changes include new bumpers, grille and squared off headlights
1977: Acadiane utility vehicle launched – built until end of 1987
1982: Front brake discs introduced on all 2CV’s
1990: Final 2CV manufactured with production having moved to Portugal for last two years
 
A number of limited run and special edition models were made available globally such as the Spot, Charleston and 007 model following its appearance in James Bond's ‘For your Eyes Only’.
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.citroencarclub.org.uk – UK Citroen car club
• the2cvshop.co.uk – Source of parts and information on 2CV
• www.mehari-2cv-spare.co.uk – parts supplier for 2CV range
• www.citroenclassics.co.uk – still more parts for your 2CV
• www.2cvracing.org.uk – 2CV racing club for UK enthusiasts
 
Summary and prices
 
If you are looking for an original unrestored 2CV you may be out of luck, with rust and wear and tear claiming many original components it is best to look for a professionally restored one rather than an untouched ‘barn find’. Useable examples can be found for £4000, the earliest cars were built in limited numbers so they command a healthy premium with some trading for £15,000. Restored Meharis are closer to £25,000, and if you can find one, a mint condition Sahara can cost as much as £100,000 in today’s market.
 
In the other camp there is great fun to be had restoring a 2CV and prices for project cars start as low as £1000. It’s wise to get the advice of a specialist on the potential costs of restoration as while individual parts are reasonable a full refurbishment can be a costly exercise.
 
A car that has often been referred to as being more than the sum of its parts, the 2CV is the perfect minimalist classic with style. It remains a very accessible and rewarding car providing a driving experience that no modern car can replicate. 
 
Words: John Tallodi
Citroen 2CV Citroen 2CV Citroen 2CV Citroen 2CV Citroen 2CV Citroen 2CV Citroen 2CV Sahara 4x4
Last updated: 21st Jul 2016
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Citroen 2CV
5995 115000 GBP
  • Citroen 2CV

    £6,695 £6,695

    FOR SALE A charming French built Citroen 2CV6 Special Dolly with just one former keeper. EQUIPMENT Headlamp adjustment control knob, check-button for brake level warning lamp, hazard warning switch, ashtray, windscreen/floor air distribution control, rear fog lamp, choke control with warning lamp, oil pressure warning lamp, battery charge indicator, folding rear bench seat, complete and half opening hood, interior lamp. Dealer accessories; Rear seat belts. EXTERIOR This wonderful 2CV6 Special is the characterful and desirable ‘Dolly’ edition, finished in the original colour combination unique to the Dolly model of Rouge Vallelunga/Blanc Meije, (Code EKB/EWT). With a vibrant red shine to contrast the bright white, this unspoilt example even wears the supplying Citroen Main Dealer number plates. Minor age-related markings and shallow undulations to the lightweight bonnet and lower rear wheel arches can be seen, but certainly do not spoil the car. All the correct Dolly decals and badges are present and the glass is window etched with the original Citroen Covina Rochedo factory fit items. Even the winter muff grille is present, designed to restrict air flow in colder temperatures to help the engine warm up! The cloth backed vinyl hood is finished in matching colour scheme and remains in excellent condition. An irresistible peculiar classic! INTERIOR The interior of this Dolly is in remarkable condition. The correct grey diamond shape seat coverings are brand new replacement items, an expensive set specialist sourced and professionally fitted and in stark contrast to cheap copy covers. The switches, gauges and warning lights are all fully operational and are a delight to use, transporting the driver back to simpler motoring times! The floor is absolutely solid and still protected by the original Citroen rubber over-mats. Factory stickers still remain such as the tyre pressure limits on the door edge. The boot floor is very clean and the rust prone seam edges are excellent. The spare wheel and jack are still present. An idiosyncratic delight! ENGINE & TRANSMISSION The two-cylinder 602cc 28bhp engine with its distinct rumbling soundtrack is instantly familiar and offers a truly unique driving experience at a rather relaxed pace! This example performs superbly having benefitted from a full service including a set of new beige heater tubes and brand new complete exhaust in October 2017. The clean engine bay displays factory wax, identity plates and both original paint codes which are often covered over upon refurbishment. The push and pull gear change operates exactly as it should and being like no other car today, is guaranteed motoring hilarity! WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES The original painted steel wheels with bright spotless chrome hub-caps are immaculate support the correct and expensive Michelin Radial X 125R15 tyres with ample tread. The spotless spare wheel is present with the same Michelin tyre. The vehicle stops quickly and in a straight line with the inboard disc brakes giving a precise and positive feel. HISTORY FILE Confirmed by chassis number as being one of the last French built cars prior to production moving to Portugal, this 2CV6 Special Dolly was supplied new on the 26th August 1988 by Citroen Main Dealer, Bouts Motors of Wolverhampton. This wonderful example has just two keepers and covered 53,374 miles from new. The first keeper, Mrs E Fellows, owned the car for four years until Mrs Mair Stuttard, a 2CV enthusiast, purchased the car in June 1992 and has owned it ever since! The original Citroen plastic wallet houses the stamped service booklet along with all handbooks including the owner’s manual, maintenance guide and Citroen corrosion guarantee. Incredibly, every MOT certificate from the first in 1991 to present has been kept in the neat history folder to fully verify and track the mileage. Two sets of original Citroen keys are present. After 25 years of ownership, Mrs Stuttard has made the difficult decision to sell her beloved 2CV, ready for the next lucky custodian to experience the huge pleasure the car is given her virtually all its life. A fantastic quirky and usable French icon. MOT June 2018, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please click on the link below: https://youtu.be/1mnFHPl6t4o To see a full set of photographs of this car please click on the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm6Cpi1A 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    • Year: 1988
    • Mileage: 53374 mi
    • Engine size: 0.6
    For sale
    £6,695 £6,695
    KGF Classic Cars
    01733425140 View contact number
  • Citroën 2CV 6 Special '87

    €13,000(£11,619.40) €13,000(£11,619.40)

    New market price. >>>>> Oldtimerfarm specializes in consignment sales of vintage and collection cars and we are proud to present you this car. Oldtimerfarm is located in Belgium, 9880 Aalter, Steenweg op Deinze 51C, where this car is in our showroom. We are open from Tuesday to Saturday 10-17h (also without appointment). We are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Mondays on appointment only. Make sure you scroll down to look at the extensive photo report (100 pictures). Of course, a more detailed description can be obtained by telephone. Contact us: Xavier: 0032 472 40 1338 (NL, FR, DE, EN, IT) info@oldtimerfarm.be Olivier: 0032 473 11 7300 (NL, FR, DE, EN) olivier@oldtimerfarm.be Oldtimerfarm from Aalter would also like to sell your classic car or car collection. For more information, please contact Xavier. Exhibitions where you can find us: Pictures of the car:

    • Year: 1987
    For sale
    €13,000(£11,619.40) €13,000(£11,619.40)
  • Citroën 2CV Le Patron '88

    €13,950(£12,468.51) €13,950(£12,468.51)

    The “Le Patron” kit car based upon the famous 2CV is an easy to build and fun to drive kit-car that has it’s roots in the Netherlands. The Brand is the propriety of VVDBI (Van den Bergh Import) founded in 1991 by the nephews Wim and Godfried Van de Berghe. The “Le Patron” kits combine the best of kits cars by 3 ways : British design, French techniques and Dutch craftsmanship. The kits are available in left and right hand drive. Kits and turn-key cars are offered both. Garage Van den Berg (Ophemert, Netherlands) is active in the kit car business since 1991 >>>>> Oldtimerfarm specializes in consignment sales of vintage and collection cars and we are proud to present you this car. Oldtimerfarm is located in Belgium, 9880 Aalter, Steenweg op Deinze 51C, where this car is in our showroom. We are open from Tuesday to Saturday 10-17h (also without appointment). We are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Mondays on appointment only. Make sure you scroll down to look at the extensive photo report (100 pictures). Of course, a more detailed description can be obtained by telephone. Contact us: Xavier: 0032 472 40 1338 (NL, FR, DE, EN, IT) info@oldtimerfarm.be Olivier: 0032 473 11 7300 (NL, FR, DE,

    • Year: 1988
    For sale
    €13,950(£12,468.51) €13,950(£12,468.51)
  • Citroën 2CV Club Vert Bambou '76

    €12,950(£11,574.71) €12,950(£11,574.71)

    26Hp >>>>> Oldtimerfarm specializes in consignment sales of vintage and collection cars and we are proud to present you this car. Oldtimerfarm is located in Belgium, 9880 Aalter, Steenweg op Deinze 51C, where this car is in our showroom. We are open from Tuesday to Saturday 10-17h (also without appointment). We are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Mondays on appointment only. Make sure you scroll down to look at the extensive photo report (100 pictures). Of course, a more detailed description can be obtained by telephone. Contact us: Xavier: 0032 472 40 1338 (NL, FR, DE, EN, IT) info@oldtimerfarm.be Olivier: 0032 473 11 7300 (NL, FR, DE, EN) olivier@oldtimerfarm.be Oldtimerfarm from Aalter would also like to sell your classic car or car collection. For more information, please contact Xavier. Exhibitions where you can find us: Pictures of the car:

    • Year: 1976
    For sale
    €12,950(£11,574.71) €12,950(£11,574.71)
  • Citroën 2CV Charleston Black & Yellow '82

    €11,950(£10,680.91) €11,950(£10,680.91)

    The Citroën 2CV (French: “deux chevaux” i.e. “deux chevaux vapeur”, literally “two tax horsepower”) was an economy car produced by the French automaker Citroën between 1948 and 1990. It was technologically advanced and innovative, but with uncompromisingly utilitarian unconventional looks, and deceptively simple Bauhaus inspired bodywork, that belied the sheer quality of its underlying engineering. It was designed to move the French peasantry on from horses and carts. It is considered one of Citroën's most iconic cars. In 1953 Autocar in a technical review of the car wrote of "the extraordinary ingenuity of this design, which is undoubtedly the most original since the Model T Ford". It was described by CAR magazine journalist and author LJK Setright as "the most intelligent application of minimalism ever to succeed as a car". It was designed for low cost, simplicity of use, versatility, reliability, and off-road driving. For this it had a light, easily serviceable engine, extremely soft long travel suspension (with adjustable ride height), high ground clearance, and for oversized loads a car-wide canvas sunroof (which until 1960 also covered the boot). During a production run of 42

    • Year: 1982
    For sale
    €11,950(£10,680.91) €11,950(£10,680.91)
  • Citroën 2CV 4x4 Sahara '62

    €115,000(£102,787) €115,000(£102,787)

    12Hp >>>>> Oldtimerfarm specializes in consignment sales of vintage and collection cars and we are proud to present you this car. Oldtimerfarm is located in Belgium, 9880 Aalter, Steenweg op Deinze 51C, where this car is in our showroom. We are open from Tuesday to Saturday 10-17h (also without appointment). We are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Mondays on appointment only. Make sure you scroll down to look at the extensive photo report (100 pictures). Of course, a more detailed description can be obtained by telephone. Contact us: Xavier: 0032 472 40 1338 (NL, FR, DE, EN, IT) info@oldtimerfarm.be Olivier: 0032 473 11 7300 (NL, FR, DE, EN) olivier@oldtimerfarm.be Oldtimerfarm from Aalter would also like to sell your classic car or car collection. For more information, please contact Xavier. Exhibitions where you can find us: Pictures of the car:

    • Year: 1962
    For sale
    €115,000(£102,787) €115,000(£102,787)
  • Citroën 2CV Safari Orange '80

    €10,750(£9,608.35) €10,750(£9,608.35)

    >>>>> Oldtimerfarm specializes in consignment sales of vintage and collection cars and we are proud to present you this car. Oldtimerfarm is located in Belgium, 9880 Aalter, Steenweg op Deinze 51C, where this car is in our showroom. We are open from Tuesday to Saturday 10-17h (also without appointment). We are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Mondays on appointment only. Make sure you scroll down to look at the extensive photo report (100 pictures). Of course, a more detailed description can be obtained by telephone. Contact us: Xavier: 0032 472 40 1338 (NL, FR, DE, EN, IT) info@oldtimerfarm.be Olivier: 0032 473 11 7300 (NL, FR, DE, EN) olivier@oldtimerfarm.be Oldtimerfarm from Aalter would also like to sell your classic car or car collection. For more information, please contact Xavier. Exhibitions where you can find us: Pictures of the car:

    • Year: 1980
    For sale
    €10,750(£9,608.35) €10,750(£9,608.35)