Will's Tin Snail Site






Ten Good Reasons to Drive a 2CV

2CVs are simple.

The design of the A series (2CV and derivitives) is very basic. It consists of a platform chassis on which the engine, transmission, suspension and bodywork are fixed. This allows a wide range of different body styles to be used on the same running gear (hence the Ami, Dyane, Mehari 4X4 and vans).
The engine itself is a horizontally opposed twin cylinder "aircooled" or "oil cooled" unit with overhead valves. Originally a 375cc unit, it was replaced by 425, 435 and eventually the big banger 602cc, developing around 30 b.h.p. Although simple in design, the engine is apparently unburstable, reliable and efficient.

2CVs are cheap.

2CVs are cheap to buy, and to run. They are no longer made, but many second hand examples are available at pocket money prices (In the U.K.: 300 for a tatty but usable example, 1500 for a really nice one). Obtaining spare parts is not a problem with many specialist suppliers, and both new parts and service items are inexpensive. Although outclassed by many modern super efficient cars, the 2CV will regularly return 40 or 50 miles on a gallon of fuel. Insurance is as cheap as it could be (group 1 in the UK), and older cars (before 1973) are exempt from road tax in the UK. DIY is fairly simple with few special tools needed (I changed a gearbox in 4 hours, and an engine rebuild doesn't take much longer), and if the 2CV is looked after, and serviced regularly, it won't eat your bank balance.

2CVs are practical.

Although apparently quite a small car, the 2CV is surprisingly practical. Fairly roomy for four people, the 2CV also has a decent boot, larger than many newer hatchbacks. With four doors, an opening roof and the option of a full length tailgate, access is easy. The seats can be removed in seconds, giving a truly cavernous load space inside, and despite a modest power output, low gearing and a willing engine make towing a trailer fairly simple.

2CVs are easy to drive.

Although somewhat unconventional in design, the 2CV was designed with ease of use in mind, and it is a reasonably easy car to drive. Low gearing and a heavy flywheel make stalling difficult, and once on the move the steering is quite light and precise, although it can become heavy when parking or cornering hard. The unusual push/pull/twist gearchange is surprisingly simple once mastered and the scattered controls are all quite straightforward.

2CVs are comfortable.

The bodywork squeaks and shudders, the suspension crashes over bumps, the engine buzzes like a demented bumblebee and the gearbox rattles and whines in any gear, but the incredibly soft independant suspension, along with the simple but surprisingly comfortable seats soaks up any road surface. The car has a full length roll back "canvas" roof for hot weather and a simple heater which draws hot air from around the engine, directing it into the car.

2CVs are safe.

Not really. As the basic design can be traced back to the 1930s, not much crash protection is built into the 2CV. Despite this, it is apparently quite difficult to lose control of a 2CV. The handling is predictable, understeering at the limit, and brakes, especially on dyanes and later 2CVs which were fitted with inboard front disc brakes are powerful. Despite the fact that the 2CV leans at incredible angles when cornering it is a stable car. The lean is a characteristic of the soft, independant suspension, which keeps all four tyres firmly on the ground.

2CVs are reliable.

The car's simple design means there is not a great deal to go wrong. If serviced regularly, the engine should last extremely well, although niggling faults can crop up. Rust is the enemy of the 2CV, and rust protection (undersealing etc.) is vital. However, rust is often only cosmetic, and because the bodywork consists of simple panels which are easily replacable, many of which, such as the wings and doors, bolt into place. Even the chassis, which tends to rust from the inside, can be replaced, and as well as the original Citroen chassis, may U.K. based specialists build replacement chassis.

2CVs have character.

The 2CV is unique in its design. Its eccentric appearance, considered either ugly or beautiful hides some equally eccentric technology. Although unconventional, it is a design that works well, as evident by the 2CV's 40 years of successful production, and its status as a classic car with a cult following worldwide.

2CVs are slow?

They are not the swiftest of vehicles, but are still surprisingly able. The 2CV6 and Dyane 6 are capable of 70 m.p.h on a flat road, although headwinds and inclines have a significant effect on speed, and when driven well, can usually keep up with most other traffic. Because the 2CV is so light (580 kg) a full load of passengers, or towing a trailer can double its weight, having a noticable effect on its performance, although it is rarely a problem, just making progress a bit slower

2Cvs are Fun

2CV drivers are generally fairly friendly people who will wave to each other, and join thriving 2CV clubs all over the world. The 2CV is a fun car to own and drive and each has a unique personality.


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