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CitroŽn 2 CV

No tip over, it can not actually.

Its long development time, interrupted by the war, is not reflected in the style of the car. Perhaps it was finished already in 1939? Anyway, its official introduction did not take place until 1948, but it almost instantly a success. In the public, yes, the professional car experts were largely divided in their opinion on this car, and still are today. Some car owners generally regard their car as showing a piece of themselves, or as a personification. For them, a 2 CV is hardly a suitable car.

Everyone else enjoys driving with this sufficiently spacious vehicle, providing for four persons and their luggage in a comfortable manner. Above all, the car came with low operating costs. Of course, one must not hurry, so to speak, the way is the destination. But apart from that, it is a pleasure, almost without regret. Why almost? Because you want to zoom yourself very quickly into a more stable vehicle during an accident, but the engineers can not provide everything at once.

It is attributed to have enabled large parts of the French population to engage in driving, shortly, the mass motorisation had started. It was important to get the whole country interested in driving, also the persons outside of the cities. This fits with the requirements that were set up before designing the car: eggs should be transported in the car on bad country roads without breaking. Simplicity was not just used for saving. Compound springs and the front axle were designed with effort. The steering together with front axle is said to be one of the most expensive in the entire competition.

The sensation take place in the Grand Palais in October 1948 more under the mockery than the jubilation of the journalists. Similarities with the German Volkswagen appear to be constructed. Except air cooling not much similarity. Because the principle of the boxer engine needs the two- significantly more than the four-cylinder. The constructive knowledge is located too much in the suspension and not the engine performance. This is already being compared at the archetype with the of American sedans. At a vehicle that weighs 495 kg empty with a permissible total weight of 800 kg, in this class corresponds this more the kerb weight with comparable space.

The 2CV is uniformly gray and rather matt painted, its rims in a similar shade. In principle, the rolling roof extends from the upper edge of the windscreen up where generally the rear hatch ends below, immediately above the number plate and rear lights unit. To save a light rear and still illuminate the license plate, this is located in the center accordingly, the license plate in two parts. So there is only a central rear light and rear no turn signals, but is dominated in any case mostly by the trafficator up in the B-pillar. By the way, one can not completely remove the roll roof. Above and below the still relatively small rear window there are strong braces to give the side walls at least a minimum of support.

The front engine hood is so unstable that it must be kept open by two instead one strut. The first CitroŽn symbol on the hood is surrounded by a circle unlike the picture shown above. Also in the interior almost only gray paint with exception of the black steering wheel. This is a simple tubular construction. The front and rear doors are hinged at the B-pillar and can be easily removed by lifting out. The seat covers are stretched between the two tubular steel parts of the respective seat frame.

This first "duck" can not be started by a choke, as well as all subsequent, but by the handle like cars of the twenties. The strange shift pattern is based on the three-speed principle of the transmission of the prototypes the a fourth gear is attached in the first series. Together with the reverse gear is created a H-pattern from which will be shifted in the third gear directly to the right and forward to the fourth. It is therefore for the fourth gear (at that time) no direct access from the idle speed channel. After all, the gears 2 - 4 are synchronized.

Contrary to certain experiments in state of prototype, the engine is air-cooled although thermostatically controlled. Little displacement and compression let not even reach the performance the threshold of 10 hp. Together with the external dimensions and the impressive cW value of more than 0.5 the maximum speed accordingly is 65 km/h. After all, the four-stroke OHV with 60į angle between the inlet and outlet valve has good development opportunities. The rest does a rated speed of only 3500 rpm. It will more than triple its performance although in more than 30 years. After all, it is a boxer engine with all its advantages, in terms of quietness and center of gravity.

Which brings us to the suspension, an absolute highlight of this car. Not for nothing the development order was, the car should carry a basket of eggs when passing over the fields. Therefore two stable cross tubes are welded in the cross-reinforced chassis with the two longitudinal beams. At it each two trailing arms in taper roller bearings pushed forward and pulled back. Brilliantly simple and thus the smallest possible distance between axle beams because this distance only must ensure the stability for a torsion-free driving. After all, the frame bolted to the body has to take almost all the forces as formerly. In the center of rotation between the axle tube and trailing arm, each a friction damper is placed. Hydraulic telescopic shock absorbers yet, one can not afford. There are basically clutch linings, which are pressed together by spring force. The linings are new, there are no problems, but with increasing abrasion their damping is getting worse and worse.

Interestingly, the so-called mass inertia dampers close to each wheel. These are fully enclosed tubular bodies in which masses are suspended on springs and accurately swing in opposite phase to the wheel movement. You are looking in vain, the spring system in its usual place. It is in form of screws, in closed pots also not quite rigid laterally lying next to the chassis, connected to the trailing arms. A rack and pinion steering acts on (until the very end) in kingpin revolving front wheels. Just a pity that they are driven only by not homokinetic universal joints in the first phase of production. After all, the front drum brakes are installed inside and can be counted among the sprung masses. And another special feature, the hand brake acts on the front wheels.

Also on the electrical system will be saved strongly. Thus the ignition without a distributor, what to the respective on overlapping TDC standing cylinder brings an additional ignition not different from modern double ignition coils. Even the bowden cable instead of the magnetic switch is not a significant limitation. After all the model of 1949 has already mechanically adjustable headlights. Since the windscreen wiper driven via the speedometer cable is already much more uncomfortable and probably unsafe. When stationary even manual operation is required. Absolutely not electrically is the dipstick at the filler cap, the replaced the fuel gauge. Approximately like this the 2 CV is in the series however, with very manageable production rates because of the prevailing shortage of raw materials in Europe. Soon the situation is getting more worse and the time of delivery will be up to six years.

In 1951 the range was extended to the Fourgonette what (written but with two 'n') means something like 'delivery van'. With 20 kg extra weight it can load 15 kg more but in a much larger cargo space, to fill good through two side-hinged doors with small oval windows. In addition, this "special duck" has a low and flat floor. Despite a slightly higher fuel consumption remains the 20-liter tank this time, however, before the right rear wheel in the side wall.

For the normal duck, the theft protection has changed. Previously you had to connect through a lock the steering wheel with the seat frame, the car now has an ignition lock that can be operated with the equally new door keys. The protection of objects in the car of course, is not given with the easy to open soft top. Within the next three years, several (final) assembly plants are created in Europe, whereby the delivery times are reduced to one third. Simplified production processes can contribute to e.g. for the engine hood together with the CitroŽn emblem, which only is held by a bar and closed by a rotary handle. This volume is noticed by tartan seat covers and dark gray, shining colour.

Another year later, you can lock the top-hung windows in open position by pressing. But if they should fall once then, of course, when one least need. Before the 9-horsepower engine is no longer needed, there it is still available with centrifugal clutch. Very handy in a traffic jam but also a bit jerky when starting. Despite engagement one must also accelerate. From the second gear, it then goes back to normal. The engine receives through a larger bore 425 cm≥ and 8.8 kW (12 hp), with more compression (7.0: 1) there are 9.2 kW (12.5 hp). 01/11


Hardest French competitor