Ranking alongside the Volkswagen Beetle, Mini, and Land Rover as one of the classic mass-produced cars of the post-war era, Citroën’s quirky 2CV debuted in 1949. Intended to provide basic transport in a period of post-war austerity, the 2CV outlived its humble beginnings, going on to attain cult status as the favoured car of the environmentally concerned motorist. Although the original 375cc air-cooled flat-twin engine grew eventually to 602cc, the 2CV’s performance remained relatively modest at around 110km/h flat-out, not that that concerned the majority of its devotees for whom the roomy interior, full-length sunroof and frugal fuel consumption were of far greater importance. It was a sad day for many when the last French-built 2CV left the Levallois factory in 1988, although production continued in Portugal for two more years.
One of the more unusual of the many 2CV variants, and certainly among the most collectible today, is the four-wheel drive ‘Sahara’ which, unusually, used a second engine to drive the rear wheels. This ingenious means of providing all-wheel drive had already been tried by some Citroën dealers, and by the end of the 1950s the factory had decided to produce its official version, which was intended mainly for use in the rough desert terrain of France’s North African colonies. The first prototypes were shown to the motoring press in 1958, with production proper commencing in December 1960. As well as the additional engine, the Sahara featured a special chassis, reinforced suspension, wider wheel rims, twin fuel tanks (beneath the front seats) and countless other modifications to enable the car to cope with difficult terrain and climate. In 1962, following Algeria’s independence, Citroën dropped the ‘Sahara’ name and the car became the ‘2CV 4×4’. It is estimated that approximately 700 of both designations were built.
Offered with a French Carte Grise, this rare and most charming Citroën was partially restored some 10 years ago and is presented in good working order, ready for its next adventure!