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Buyer's Guide

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2CV Buyer's Guide (Part 1)
Owning and running a 2CV

 O.K. so you're thinking of buying a 2cv. This may be as your main form of transport, as a second vehicle, or even just a hobby. This page should give you an idea of what to expect, both in terms of what you can expect from the car as well as what the car will require from you.

The 2cv is a useable, everyday classic car which is practical, economical, and makes driving and ownership an enjoyable experience. Although its design dates back to the 1930s and 40s it is a vehicle which is easy to drive and, despite its tiny 602cc engine, can (usually) keep up with modern traffic, even when 4-up and towing a sizeable trailer. Comfort and roadholding, which are outstanding alongside other designs of its day are still acceptable by today's standards.

The 2cv is designed as a reliable, hard working vehicle, and by its very nature, will withstand a certain amount of neglect and abuse. However (contrary to popular opinion amongst many enthusiasts), it is not invincible, nor powered by magic, and in order to remain safe and reliable, must be kept well serviced and in good condition. Whatever else you do, remember this golden rule:

Look after your 2cv if you expect it to look after you.

Servicing and Repair

As with all vehicles, many major (expensive) repairs can be avoided if the 2cv is kept in good condition, and regularly (and properly) serviced. The accepted schedule requires a basic service fairly frequently (3,000 to 6,000 miles). This involves an oil change, and greasing suspension and steering components as well as a number of small checks, and can be carried out by almost anyone. A more comprehensive yearly, or two yearly service is also required, involving such items as timing and valve clearances.

Service items, such as oil filters, ignition points or new tyres are readily available, and easy to obtain from most motor factors, and no specialist tools are required for reguar servicing. However, the unusual design of the 2cv is liable to confuse some mechanics, so if you're going to have your car professionally serviced, it makes sense to find an independant specialist (usually cheaper and more helpful than a main dealer)

Spare parts for 2cvs are currently very easy to obtain (certainly in Europe), although parts for older (375,425,435cc) cars, and more unusual variants (Amis, Meharis, Vans) may take a bit more searching for. A good specialist or parts supplier should be able to supply most bits over the counter or mail order. More major repairs are usually within the scope of a competent mechanic with a Haynes Manual to hand, though some require special tools, or a well refined technique.

Although 2cvs are not particularly rust prone, corrosion is one of the 2cv's enemies, and if the body and chassis are not looked after, it can take a firm hold especially in a wet climate. Although all cars are susceptible, Amis (with double skinned bodywork) and 2cvs produced after about 1987 are liable to rust the most quickly. To avoid this, the car must be kept clean, and treated thoroughly with an anti rust treatment such as Waxoyl or Dinitrol. Any rust should be removed, repaired and treated as soon as possible. Keep the car clean, and rinse the underside frequently if used on salted roads.

Rust repairs are not uncommon, especially in well used examples, and most panels are fairly easy to obtain and replace. Wings are bolted on, many other panels (floorpan, bulkhead (firewall)) can be replaced by a competent welder.

The chassis (frame) is particularly liable to corrosion on 1980s cars, but can be replaced (expensive, but often worthwhile, especially if the rest of the car is sound).

Insurance

Good news; The 2cv is classed (in the UK) in insurance group 1. Combined with the fact that they are not usually particularly expensive to repair or replace, this makes for low insurance premiums. Older or more unusual vehicles may be best covered by a "classic car" policy, which should, again, provide good value for money.

Restoration

2cvs are a popular restoration project, as they are of simple construction, and most parts are easy to repair or replace. Obviously, a restoration can range from 'smartening up' a car, or making it roadworthy to a complete rebuild. For a good value restoration project, go for one with a reasonable bodyshell, as engines etc. can be reconditioned, and even a chassis can be replaced.

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