IMG_4648The Citroën 2CV–pronounced deux chevaux, or two horse, after the engine–is the model that most screams “French.” While Detroit was churning out land yachts in the postwar years, Citroën came up with the modest 2CV as an economy model in 1948. They were in production for 40 years. Is that classic or what?

Citroën, are you listening? Bring it back, but electric!

The 2CV might be barebones and simple, for easy maintenance and low gas consumption, it has tons of style.

That curved top, that rolls back for a sunroof! It was designed so people could transport big items, letting them stick out vertically. Practicality plus style–so French. IMG_4829Those round headlights, with visors like eyelids!IMG_4815Those voluptuous fenders and fender skirts!P1040714I think my favorites, besides all red, are the two-tone paint jobs that accentuate the curves.2CV copyIf Citroën gets the good sense to bring it back, I hope they don’t do like the VW Beetle and the Mini Cooper and make it too big and blown out, like somebody puffed out by steroids. Keep it small and simple. With flair.IMG_4811If you want to see the 2CV in all its cinematic glory, here are a few films:

Brigitte Bardot drives one very badly in “La Bride sur le Cou” (The Bridle on the Neck–it’s an expression that means doing whatever one wants).IMG_4808In “Eat, Pray, Love,” Julia Roberts’ friends drop her off in Rome in a two-tone 2CV.

In “Red 2,” Mary-Louise Parker drives, with John Malkovich nervously riding shotgun, in a car chase in Paris against a Porsche.

IMG_4810
This isn’t a 2CV but a Citroën Dyane, a model based on the 2CV.

To show how poor the madly-in-love couple (Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson) is in “Indecent Proposal,” they drive an old 2CV.

There are some great moves in this old French movie, “Le Tracassin.” I have witnessed the drive-on-the-sidewalk move in Paris.

IMG_4807
Another Dyane.

Carole Bouquet drives Agent 007 to safety in a 2CV in “For Your Eyes Only,” but then he takes the wheel.

A 2CV figures in “Les Amants,” a film far better known for Jeanne Moreau’s portrayal of an orgasm.IMG_4816There really are too many more to count–which is only to be expected from a car that was produced for four decades.

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31 thoughts on “The Iconic French Car

  1. I’ve always liked this Citroën. Flair yes. It’s also reminded me of the wartime VW bug! From your link, I see that Miss Moreau died earlier this year; the end of an era. I enjoyed her movies. 💋

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  2. So excited to see this post! I fell in love with this car during our first trip to France back in the early 1980’s. For our fifth wedding anniversary my husband bought me one! Back in those days there was a gentleman in Louisiana who imported them and refit them to follow emissions requirements here. It was a beauty, white with red trim. (Tried unsuccessfully to add a picture to this comment.). It was the perfect car for where we lived in the country. At family parties my husband was kept busy giving rides around our property. We eventually sold it to a Frenchman living here. We thought that was fittting. An electric version would be fantastic!
    Nina in Michigan

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  3. Want!
    I first saw those in Mallorca, years ago. Fell madly in love with all those swoops and google-eyed headlights and general clunkiness. An electric version would be wonderful.

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  4. They are not infrequently converted to electric these days. I believe the guys who do the 2CV tours of Paris have converted their fleet (and started before they had to, because otherwise the cars would have been too old to enter Paris under the new regulations). My husband wants me to buy a 2CV camionette as a runaround, but I would like a Renault 4L with a giraffe hatch. I know exactly what you mean about modern Minis being blown out. We own two Citroen Traction Avant 11Bs (the middle class saloon that was the contemporary of the 2CV) and they are smaller than today’s Mini!

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  5. I live in Provence and see far too few of them. The only thing that has kept me from buying one is the lack of air con, which in the heat of a Provence summer is much appreciated, if not actually essential. The camionette, for sure.
    bonnie

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve always dreamt of owning one of these!! Back in the 70s they were seen as very ‘chic’ in Germany. Some people would use the back seat as a sofa in their sitting room, and put it back in the car when they needed it in there 🙂 …

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love coming here and soaking in the French lovely. Never knew a lick about this car. Like a VW bug’s bridesmaid that never got to be a bride? Thanks for the engaging lesson! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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