WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The 2CV’s body and chassis can corrode spectacularly, and the flimsiness of the outer panels mean you need to analyse all of it for dents and rust. Rot is likely in any of the seams, which spreads to consume entire panels. Areas likely to be holed include the rear wings, the box section under the rear seat, the sills and the boot floor. The front bulkhead also corrodes; if there’s any visible sign of rot it’ll be worse out of sight.
How’s the chassis?
Trying to keep the chassis rust-free is a thankless task but replacements are available, both pattern and genuine. Constructed of box sections, corrosion starts inside and works its way out. Focus on where the front suspension bolts on; corrosion either side weakens the frame and patches aren’t enough to restore strength. The same goes for the rear chassis legs, which also suffer from crash damage as the rear bumper attaches to them.
Oil be damned
A 2CV’s engine will last pretty much forever if its oil and filter are replaced every 3000 miles. The oil acts as both lubricant and coolant which is why frequent replacement is worth every penny. Check that the oil cooler behind the engine-driven fan isn’t caked with grime. There are no head gaskets so leaks from the heads are common; run the engine with the windows and roof closed and any fumes will quickly become apparent. Expect oil leaks too, but nothing major, while the big end bearings never go as they’re so tough. The tappets aren’t set very tight so these can be noisy but if there’s piston slap, which gives away a tired engine, make sure you’ve got £1400 or so to pay for a full rebuild.
Gearboxes are reasonably strong as they don’t have to transmit much torque. Eventually third gear synchromesh wears out leading to crunchy changes; a rebuilt gearbox is