It has been almost 75 years since Citroën unveiled its most iconic model, the 2 CV, at the Paris Motor Show on October 7, 1948. The automaker sold 5,114,969 examples, including 1,246,335 2 CV vans, until the very last 2 CV rolled out of the Mangualde factory in Portugal on July 27, 1990, 42 years after the model’s launch.
The 2 CV began life in the mid-thirties as the “TVP” project, which stood for Toute Petite Voiture, or very small car. The aim of the project was to provide an economical, versatile car that would be affordable for people living on a lower income. The first roadworthy prototype was built in 1937, weighing in at just 370 kg (816 lbs.) and wearing one headlight, it could comfortably carry up to four passengers and 50 kg (100 lbs.) of luggage. The war outbreak but an end to the project and 250 pre-production models were destroyed before the scheduled unveiling at the 1939 Paris Motor Show, except for four examples which were hidden away at the Citroën Test Centre at La Ferté-Vidame.
The 2 CV was a compact car with a whopping 9 bhp powered by a 375 cc, air-cooled, flat-twin engine capable of a top speed of 50 km/h (31 mph). Its unique design, level of comfort, economical functionality, and infinite amount of uses quickly won over a large part of the population when it finally went into production in July 1949. Citroën was overwhelmed with orders by 1950, with delivery times extending up to 6 years.
Citroën 2CV Boulanger
The 2 CV is known around the world for many things, and its reputation earned several nicknames. Some of the best known are "Deuche" or "Deux-Chevaux" for its two-tax horsepower, “Ugly Duckling,” “Tin Snail,” “Dolly,” and “Upside-down Pram”. Ten special editions were launched during the model’s 42-year run, including the Spot, the Charleston and the Cocorico. In keeping up with customer demands, the 2 CV also saw many changes, like the launch of the 2 CV AU van in 1951, and the 2 CV AZ packed with a 12 bhp engine paired with a centrifugal clutch in 1954.
In honor of the 2 CV model’s history, Citroën arranged a photoshoot that features eight important iconic 2 CVs from the Citroën Conservatoire. The automaker also arranged a public celebration on October 7 at the Conservatoire Citroën in Aulnay-sous-Bois. Beginning at 10 a.m., visitors can view 75 2 CVs that have been restored and passionately maintained by private collectors. Owners will be present to talk about their cars. Visitors will also have the opportunity to visit the Conservatoire, which houses around 250 iconic models from the double-chevron brand.
For those unable to attend the in-person event, Citroën has supplied the following photos and video featuring eight iconic 2 CVs: