The Bare Basics - Citroen 2CV

The Bare Basics - Citroen 2CV

Launched in 1948, the 2CV epitomised the hopes and aspirations of post-war Europe and, more particularly, a liberated Gallic conscience. In every sense it was truly a people's car. It was designed by Pierre Boulanger to the formula of 'four wheels under an umbrella, enabling a countryman to carry a basket of eggs without breaking one of them'.

Indeed, had it not been for the war's intervention, the 2CV could well have pipped Volkswagen to the title of 'People's car', as the Citroen was, in fact, conceived in 1936. For many decades after its release no one travelling the continent of Europe could have failed to have felt they were being shadowed by one of the ubiquitous Deux Chevaux, always visible in their rear-view mirror, buzzing along at a steady 60-65 mph.

The Bare Basics - Citroen 2CV

And if it was not a 2CV, then it was probably a Dyane, an Ami or one of the other derivatives of Monsieur Boulanger's basic concept. Such had been the model's impact that it remained, with certain modifications, being made by Citroen factories throughout the world for decades after its release.

Back in 1915, however, such success would have been unthinkable. It was in that year that 37-year-old Andre Citroen decided to build, on 30 acres of vegetable gardens and waste land at Quai de Javel (later Quai Andre Citroen) in Paris, what was to become one of the most modern car producing factories in the world.

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