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Following its introduction at the 1948 Paris motor show, the 2CV remained in production until 1990, and during this time it was built in many different countries - including at Slough in England in the '50's. However the 2CV did not sell well in the UK and was discontinued here - until the fuel crisis in the '70's when it was reintroduced. This time round things were different, the British market now fell in love with the 2CV - a cheap fun car in bright colours that used little fuel. Ironically, after ignoring the car for the first 25 years of its production, Britain became one of the most important markets for the 2CV during the later years of its production. It took us a long time to catch on!
During its long production run the 2CV was produced in many variants, including the 2CV Van - and 4x4 2CV Sahara - complete with TWO engines, one at the front, one at the back! The Bijou was produced at Slough - a plastic bodied car based on the 2cv platform and mechanics - but with a very different body shell, this too met with little success and production as Slough was ended.
The 2CV itself, however, remained surprisingly unchanged during its entire life in production. The original "ripple bonnet" was replaced with the "modern" design early in the '60's and the original canvas boot only lasted a few years before being replaced by a metal boot lid. The early "speedometer driven" windscreen wipers were replaced with electric versions, and the dipstick in the fuel filler replaced with a "proper" fuel gauge. Earlier 2CVs only had 4 side windows, with the rear quarter lights added later - but in the overall scheme of things the design hardly changed at all!
Mechanically, the earliest cars 375cc engine was upgraded to a 425cc engine relatively quickly, then followed a 435cc engine and a 602cc version first surfaced in 1968. This latter 602cc engine was perfectly capable of keeping up with the flow of modern traffic under most circumstances even on motorways - with a maximum speed pretty well spot on the legal limit!
In the later years of production many "special edition" versions of the 2CV were produced with the "Charleston" and "Dolly" proving such a success that they became permanent fixtures on the price list.
Citroen tried several times to "modernise" the 2CV, particularly with the Ami and Dyane - both fundamentally based on 2CV chassis and running gear. However, the original 2CV concept and design was so good that its production run carried on for many years after that of the "new pretenders" had ended. If the 2CV were still in production today than there would still be a good demand for it - that's where The 2CV Shop come in!
A brief summary of technical changes during production is below, followed by a more detailed list of models available/made in different countries. This may be interesting reading but data is obtained form various sources and should not be relied upon as being 100% accurate when making any decisions or ordering parts. Please ask us for advice rather than relying entirely on this data.
Release at the Paris Auto Salon. The early cars can be recognized by the oval ornament on the grill of the one-piece bonnet and boast a 375cc engine!
The oval on the bonnet disappear and only the chevrons are left. The speedometer gets a light for the dark.
A new 2CV appears. It's the AZ with bigger 425cc engine developing 12hp and a top speed of 49 mph.
The steering wheel turns from black into grey. A bigger back screen and a new model, the AZL. Aluminium strips on the bonnet and below the doors are the most obvious differences.
2 New models. The AZLM is a AZL with the metal boot lid ( earlier cars have a roof that rolls down to the bumper!). The 2CV Sahara 4x4 is the famous two engined 2CV. Four wheel drive is achieved by putting an extra engine in the boot and letting it drive the rear wheels. Either or both engines can be selected.
Some heating is provided, most needed is the very effective front windscreen demister.
Different tires for all 2CVs. 135x380 instead of 125x400. Changes to the Sahara include position of number plate, rear lights and position of the fuel tanks.
New bonnet with small grill and separate pieces between bonnet and wings.
Mixte is the name for the boot lid that opens complete with back screen. New engine gives 14 hp and puts top speed at 52 mph.
New type of bumpers for all cars except Sahara. There are now 5 models:
New tyres Michelin X 125x400 instead of Normal 135x380. Electrical windscreen wipers instead of mechanical ones driven by speedometer cable. Speedometer moves from the windscreen to the dashboard and gets different shape.
Finally all four doors open at the rear. Mixte is replaced by commerciale which can have a flat boot floor installed so you can take bigger objects and load the car more easily.
New grille with horizontal bars. Chevrons move from grille to bonnet. Third sidescreen for all cars except AZL and Sahara.
A special version named Export appears. It is derived from the AZAM but is only produced for 4 months.
Because of the introduction of the Dyane, only 2 models of 2CV are left, the Berline and Commerciale with 425cc and 18 SAE hp.
All 2CVs get a 12V electrical installation, round front indicators and new taillights. A list of all models:
New tyres: 125X15 instead of 125X380.
Reintroduced to the UK market
New square headlights, a new plastic grill and new painted steel bumpers.
2CV Special is the new cheaper version of the 2CV and there is a special edition called Spot as well. The supremacy of the 2CV over the Dyane becomes clear: 4 models of the 2CV and 1 Dyane. Because of the oil crisis, the 2CVs and Dyanes are very popular. The hp figure is reduced from 28.5 DIN hp to 26 DIN hp. To celebrate the 5 millionth 2CV, a special limited edition model the Spot is introduced.
The 2CV6 gets square headlights. The 2CV4 is discontinued and the 2CV Special gets the third side screen and keeps the round headlights. The 2CV6 gets increased power through a double choke carburettor to 29 hp.
The 2CV Special gets the 602cc engine. All 2CVs get a 6.5 gallon fuel tank instead of 5.25.
New rear view mirror. 29 hp, top speed 71 mph. The new 2CV called Charleston is introduced as a limited edition of only 5000.
The Charleston proves a big success and is added to the range permanently, but now with chrome headlights and different upholstery. All 2CVs get front disc brakes.
A special edition. The white 2CV with blue stripes called France 3, Transat or Beachcomber.
"Dolly" special edition introduced with choice of 3 colour schemes, later more colour schemes were added as a permanent addition to the range.
"Bamboo" special edition introduced. Basically a standard "Special" in Green with "Bamboo" stickers and other minor cosmetic changes.
The last car was produced the month of July in a plant in Portugal.