Histomobile is the ultimate library of car pictures, videos, and more than 3.000.000 specifications ! | Create account | Log in

Car wallpapers and specifications

EN
FR
On Histomobile.com : 1310 manufacturers, 31115 cars, 44184 pictures, 48394 news in english
Citroen models

Wallpaper Specifications Auction

Citroen 2cv



Generation 1



The 2CV belongs to a short list of vehicles introduced in the middle of the 20th century that remained relevant and competitive for many decades, such as the Jeep, Land Rover Series, Fiat 500, Mini and Volkswagen Beetle.

Citroen 2cv
© Michel Muller


In 1934 family owned Michelin as the largest creditor took over the bankrupt CitroŽn company. As far back as 1922, when they first conducted market research, they had been interested in expanding the market for economy cars (and tyres) in France, in the same way that the Ford Model T had done in the USA. The new President of CitroŽn, Pierre Michelin had even gone as far as to build a scale model of what he had in mind, at Michelin before the takeover of CitroŽn. CitroŽn had stopped producing the economy cars that established the company after the First World War by the mid 1920s, when they moved to using Budd type pressed steel bodies. Michelin believed that decision was a contributor to the later bankruptcy. The new management ordered a fresh and detailed market research survey that was conducted by Jacques Duclos. At that time, France had a very large rural population which could not yet afford automobiles. The results of the survey were used by CitroŽn to prepare a design brief for a low-priced, rugged "umbrella on four wheels" that would enable four peasants to drive 50 kg (110 lb) of farm goods to market at 50 km/h (31 mph), in clogs and across muddy unpaved roads if necessary. The car would use no more than 3 L of gasoline to travel 100 km (78 mpg). Most famously, it would be able to drive across a ploughed field without breaking the eggs it was carrying.

Citroen 2cv
© Michel Muller

In 1936, Pierre-Jules Boulanger, the vice-president of CitroŽn and chief of the Engineering and Design department, set the brief to his design team at the Bureau d'ťtudes. The car was to be developed at Michelin facilities at Clermont-Ferrand and at CitroŽn in Paris in strict secrecy, by the design team who had created the Traction Avant. Boulanger hand picked engineers added to the team, and preferred engineers who had qualified through night school courses, over university trained ones. He believed they were better engineers because of greater practical experience. Boulanger was closely involved with all decisions relating to the TPV, he was obsessed with reducing the weight of the TPV to targets that his engineers thought were impossible. He set up a department that had the job of weighing every component and then redesigning it, to lighten it while still doing its job. He later had the roof raised to allow him to drive while wearing a hat.

Citroen 2cv
© Michel Muller

Boulanger placed engineer Andrť LefŤbvre in charge of the TPV (Toute Petite Voiture Ė "Very Small Car") project. LefŤbvre had designed and raced Grand Prix cars, his own speciality was chassis design and he was particularly interested in maintaining contact between tyres and the road surface. In an era of poor damping, beam axles and leaf springs this gave his cars vastly superior grip and handling to most other cars.

Citroen 2cv
© Michel Muller

The very first prototypes were bare chassis, with rudimentary controls, seating and roof, that needed test drivers to wear leather flying suits, that were used in contemporary open biplanes. By the end of 1937 twenty TPV experimental prototypes had been built and tested.
At the end of 1937 Pierre Michelin was killed in a car crash. Boulanger became President of CitroŽn and LefŤbvre, responsible for engineering and design, though he wasn't head of the department, he was more like a minister without portfolio; he didn't have an official title.
By 1939 the TPV was deemed ready, after forty-seven technically different and progressively improved experimental prototypes had been built and rigorously tested. Those prototypes made use of aluminium and magnesium parts and had water-cooled flat twin engines with front-wheel drive. The seats were hammocks hung from the roof by wires. The suspension system used front leading arms and rear trailing arms, connected to eight torsion bars mounted beneath the rear seat: a bar for the front axle, one for the rear axle, an intermediate bar for each side, and an overload bar for each side. The front axle was connected to its torsion bars by cable. The overload bar only came into play when the car had three people on board, two in the front and one in the rear, to take account of the extra load of the fourth passenger and fifty kilos of luggage. It was designed by Alphonse Forceau. This suspension system did not make it into the delayed and redesigned production car.

Citroen 2cv
© Michel Muller

During the summer of 1939 a pilot run of 250 cars was produced and on 28 August 1939 the car finally received French market homologation. Brochures were printed and preparations were made to present the car, now branded as the CitroŽn 2CV rather than as the CitroŽn TPV, at the forthcoming Paris Motor Show in October 1939. However, in September 1939 the government declared war on Germany, following that country's invasion of Poland. It would be another eight months before the Germans invaded France, but an atmosphere of impending disaster appeared much sooner and with less than a month's notice the 1939 motor show was cancelled, and the launch of the 2CV was abandoned.

Citroen 2cv
© Michel Muller

During the German occupation of France in World War II Boulanger refused to collaborate personally with German authorities and organized and encouraged sabotage against production for the German war effort to the point where the Gestapo listed him as an important "enemy of the Reich". Boulanger was under constant threat of arrest and deportation to Germany. Michelin, which was CitroŽn's main shareholder, and CitroŽn managers decided to hide the TPV project from the Nazis, fearing some military application. Several TPVs were buried at secret locations; one was disguised as a pickup, the others were destroyed, and Boulanger had the next six years to think about further improvements. Until 1994, when three TPVs were discovered in a barn, it was believed that only two prototypes had survived. As of 2003, five TPVs are known. For a long time, it was believed that the project was so well hidden that all the prototypes had been lost at the end of the war. It seems that none of the hidden TPVs were lost after the war, but in the 1950s an internal memo ordered them to be scrapped. The surviving TPVs were, in fact, hidden from the top management by some workers who were sensitive to their historical value.

Citroen 2cv
© Michel Muller

By 1941, after an increase in aluminium prices of forty percent, an internal report at CitroŽn showed that producing the TPV post-war, would not be economically viable, given the projected further increasing cost of aluminium Boulanger decided to redesign the car to use mostly steel with flat panels, instead of aluminium. The French motor industry before the war believed that aluminium would become cheaper, and become the standard material for car manufacture. The Nazis had attempted to loot CitroŽn's press tools; this was frustrated, after Boulanger got the French Resistance to re-label the rail cars containing them in the Paris marshalling yard. They ended up all over Europe, and CitroŽn was by no means sure they would all be returned after the war. After the liberation, CitroŽn, along with all the other major French car makers, evaluated and were offered the rights to the air-cooled AFG (Aluminium FranÁais Grťgoire) prototype, by Jean-Albert Grťgoire, who was unaware of the secret TPV project. It emerged in 1946 as the aluminium Panhard Dyna X. In the Spring of 1944 Boulanger made the decision to abandon the water-cooled two-cylinder engine that had been developed for the car and installed in the 1939 versions. Walter Becchia was now mandated to design an air-cooled unit, still of two cylinders, and still of 375cc. At the same time the decision was taken to fit the car with a four-speed manual transmission, presumably in response to the performance penalty caused by the extra weight of the steel panels. Other changes included new seats, and a restyling of the body by the Italian Flaminio Bertoni. Also, in 1944 the first studies of the CitroŽn hydro-pneumatic suspension were conducted using the TPV/2CV.

Citroen 2cv fourgonette
© Michel Muller

It took three years from 1945 for CitroŽn to rework the TPV into what was its third incarnation, resulting in the car being nicknamed the "Toujours Pas Vue" (Still Not Seen) by the press. The development and production, of what was to become the 2CV was also delayed by the incoming 1944 Socialist French government, after the liberation by the Allies from the Germans. The five year 'Plan Pons' to rationalise car production and husband scarce resources, named after socialist economist Paul-Marie Pons, only allowed CitroŽn the middle range of the car market, with the Traction Avant. The French government allocated the economy car market, US Marshall Plan aid, US production equipment and supplies of steel, to newly-nationalised Renault to produce their Renault 4CV. The 'Plan Pons' came to an end in 1949. Post war French roads were very different from pre-war ones. Horse drawn vehicles had re-appeared in large numbers. The few internal combustion engined vehicles present, often ran on town gas stored in gasbags on roofs or wood/charcoal gas from gassifiers on trailers. Only one hundred thousand of the two million pre-war cars were still on the road. These were known as 'Les annťes grises' or 'the grey years' in France.

Citroen 2cv fourgonette

CitroŽn finally unveiled the car at the Paris Salon on October 7, 1948. The car on display was nearly identical to the 2CV type A that would be sold the next year, but it lacked an electric starter, the addition of which was decided the day before the opening of the Salon, after female company secretaries had trouble using the pull cord starter. Walter Becchia had designed in a space for a starter motor to be mounted, even though Boulanger had forbidden them from fitting an electric starter. The car was heavily criticised by the motoring press and became the butt of French comedians for a short while. One American motoring journalist quipped, "Does it come with a can opener?" The British Autocar correspondent wrote that the 2CV "is the work of a designer who has kissed the lash of austerity with almost masochistic fervour". Nevertheless, CitroŽn was flooded with orders at the show, and the car had a great impact on the lives of the low-income segment of the population in France.

Citroen 2cv fourgonette


The 2CV was a great commercial success: within months of it going on sale, there was a three-year waiting list, which soon increased to five years. At that time a second-hand 2CV was more expensive than a new one because the buyer did not have to wait. Production was increased from 876 units in 1949 to 6,1960 units in 1950. Grudging respect began to emanate from the international press: towards the end of 1951 the opinion appeared in Germany's recently launched Auto Motor und Sport magazine that, despite its "ugliness and primitiveness" ("HšŖlichkeit und Primitivitšt"), the 2CV was a "highly interesting" ("hochinteressantes") car.

Citroen 2cv sahara

In 1950 Pierre-Jules Boulanger was killed in a car crash, while on the main road from Clermont-Ferrand (the home of Michelin), and Paris. The same road that Pierre Michelin had been killed on in 1937.
In 1951 production reached over 100 cars a week. By the end of 1951 production totalled 16,288. CitroŽn introduced the 2CV Fourgonnette van. It pioneered the use of a large box rear section, as later used by the Morris Minor, Renault 4, CitroŽn Acadiane and CitroŽn C15 vans and copied in the 1990s by Vauxhall/Opel and Ford. The "Weekend" version of the van had collapsible, removable rear seating and rear side windows, enabling a tradesman to use it as a family vehicle at the weekend as well as for business in the week. This was the fore-runner of the CitroŽn Berlingo and Renault Kangoo people carriers introduced in the 1990s. A pick-up truck version was used by the British Royal Navy for pioneering Royal Marine helicopter carrier amphibious operations aboard HMS Bulwark and Albion in the late 1950s and early 1960s, because of the payload limitations of their first large helicopters. By 1952, production had reached more than 21,000 with export markets earning foreign currency taking precedence, the home was strictly rationed. Boulanger's policy, that continued after his death was; "Priority is given to those who have to travel by car because of their work, and for whom ordinary cars are too expensive to buy." Dealer sales contracts were provisional and customers needs were verified by the company. The deserving cases were country vets, doctors, midwives, priests and the small farmers that it was originally designed for.

Citroen 2cv sahara


A special version of the 2CV was the Sahara for very difficult off-road driving, built from December 1960-1971. This had an extra engine mounted in the rear compartment and both front- and rear-wheel traction. Only 694 Saharas were built. The target markets for this car were French oil companies, the military, and the police.

Citroen 2cv sahara

From the mid 1950s economy car competition had increased - internationally in the form of the 1957 Fiat 500 and 1955 Fiat 600, and 1959 Austin Mini. On the French home market there was a new small Simca 1000 using licensed Fiat technology, and the new front wheel drive and suspiciously CitroŽnesque Renault 4, that appeared to have been designed to a very similar, but more modern brief as the 2CV. It marked the beginning of Renault 1960s switch to front engine front wheel drive FF layout, from the rear engine rear wheel drive RR layout. It was the biggest threat to the 2CV eventually outselling it.

Citroen 2cv sahara

In 1960 the 2CV was updated, In particular the corrugated CitroŽn H Van style "ripple bonnet" of convex swages was replaced (except for the Sahara), with one using six larger concave swages and looked similar until the end of production. Prior to this demand so outstripped supply, CitroŽn didn't need to spend money on marketing, apart from a few dealer leaflets, at all. A new marketing effort was set up to seriously market the 2CV. Director of publicity Claude Puech came up with humorous and inventive campaigns. Robert Delpire of the Delpire Agency was responsible for the stylish brochures. Ad copy came from Jacques Wolgensinger Director of PR at CitroŽn. Wolgensinger was responsible for the youth orientated 'Raids', 2CV Cross, rallies, the use of 'Tin-Tin', and the slogan "More than just a car - a way of life". The austerity of the speedometer driven wipers and grey only colour, were replaced by electric wipers and a selection of colours. The fabric roof that had previously been a matter of lightness and practical carrying capability, became a 'sun roof'. Marketing materials in the 1960s showed young people and families, having fun and picnics with the removable seats, and even carrying grandfather clocks and bric-a-brac through the open roof. All of this was to try to distance the car from its 1940s post-war austerity associations.

Citroen 2cv sahara

Leave a comment about the Citroen 2cv (1958-) :





Source :
  1. www.citroen.fr
  2. www.citroen.com
  3. givers57.skyblog.com/
  4. www.multimania.com/dsid/
  5. en.wikipedia.org/ Citroen
  6. www.citroen-5hp.ch
  7. 366cjq77.ifrance.com
  8. www.planete-citroen.com
  9. www.citroen-ds-cx.com
  10. croisieres-citroen.com/
  11. www.passion-citroen.com/
  12. www.geocities.com/MadisonAvenue/4430/citroen.homepage.html
  13. perso.wanadoo.fr/burel/voitures.htm
  14. citroax.c.la
  15. www.lesdingos.yi.org
  16. lesautosdandre.free.fr/
  17. www.clubax.es/
  18. www.chez.com/ambroise/Ami6.htm
  19. www.chez.com/dyane
  20. www.citroen.ac
  21. www.geocities.com/boraceltic/
  22. www.team.net/www/ktud/2cv.html
  23. www.geocities.com/MotorCity/6876/
  24. www.geocities.com/MotorCity/3788/
  25. fsinfo.cs.uni-sb.de/~abe/ente.html
  26. www.citf.nl/
  27. huizen.dds.nl/~toi/citroen_links.html
  28. www.citroenpicasso.org.uk/
  29. www.cats-citroen.net
  30. xsara.racing.online.fr/
  31. www.cibix.fr.st
  32. www.citroen-gs.org/
  33. www.multimania.com/citroenbx19gt
  34. www.bxworld.fr.st
  35. www.citroen-zx.fr.st
  36. membres.lycos.fr/citroensmpassion/index.htm
  37. perso.wanadoo.fr/azur2cv/
  38. www.multimania.com/amis2cv/
  39. www.la2cvmania.be.tf
  40. www.run.to/fddp
  41. alain.deuche.monsite.wanadoo.fr/index.jhtml
  42. www.ardeche2cvpassion.com
  43. www.eendeei.nl/
  44. www.geocities.com/boraceltic/
  45. www.team.net/www/ktud/2cv.html
  46. home.kabelfoon.nl/~duijnis/
  47. www.geocities.com/MotorCity/3788/
  48. gamma.nic.fi/%7E2cv/index.html


Idea and design © 1999-2014 van Damme Stéphane.


Feel free to provide a feedback or suggestions




Terms Of Use / Privacy Policy | Contact

271