Citroen 2CV Sighted in Montclair

This article was originally posted in the Wall Street Journal online.  We recently restored a yellow/black Citroen 2CV for our client in Montclair….have to find out if this is his!

Citroen 2CV Sighted

citroen 2cv

Photo by Jonathan Welsh

The Citroen 2CV, or Deux Chevaux, is an icon of the French auto industry but they don’t turn up often in the U.S. This one was parked yesterday in a Montclair, N.J. shopping area. The car’s name comes from the horsepower rating of the engines in early models. With time the 2CV got more muscle under the hood but was never long on power.

It was designed just before World War II but the bulk of production took place from the late 1940s through the late 1980s. Citroen designed the car in part to help the rural French make the transition to cars from horse-drawn wagons. It was simple, rugged, easy on fuel and easy to work on. It was also stylish in an unmistakably French fashion that still holds up well.

Like the Ford Model T in America, the Volkswagen Beetle in Germany, and Austin Mini in Britain, the 2CV helped bring motorized transport to the masses and became a national emblem.

Today they make fun urban and suburban runabouts and can be found in good shape for less than $10,000. Still, I wouldn’t call them entry-level collectibles. Even though they were made for a long time 2CVs were never a big hit in the U.S. and it has been decades since Citroens were last sold here. Certain parts can be hard to find, especially for earlier models. But there are clubs that can help, and for intrepid owners who don’t mind turning the occasional wrench the 2CV can be a rewarding driving experience.

If you want a 2CV or any Citroen, your first step should be to find a good Citroen mechanic who can check out any prospective purchase now and help keep it on the road later.