[ Owning a Citroën 2CV]
Jon Elliston, Evesham, Worcs
The 2CV pictured is one of seven Jon owns and despite its vintage (it was built in 1960) he’s not afraid to take it places. He says, ‘I bought my first 2CV in 1995, when even quite good cars were being sold as breakers. My first 2CV was a Beachcomber bought for £50 for parts, but it was too good to scrap. Since then the collection has grown to include the Belgian-built yellow car which is one of just nine survivors.
‘These Belgian cars were posher than regular 2CVS, with higher-quality trim and the availability of brighter colours; until then most 2CVS were painted grey. Another unusual feature is the Trafficlutch transmission, aimed at city drivers who didn’t want to have to use a conventional clutch. This is effectively a centrifugal system which disconnects drive in stop/start traffic”.
Completely standard, Jon’s 2CV still has six-volt electrics. He concludes, ‘They have foibles but they’re brilliantly comfortable and after a stressful day a drive in a 2CV sorts things out. Best of all they’re dirt cheap to run.’
Simon Saint, Worcester
2CVGB club chairman Simon Saint bought his first Citroën in 1970; now he runs a 2CV and Traction Avant as everyday transport. He says, ‘I bought my 2CV new in 1986. Since then it’s covered 150,000 miles and the car is still largely original, although it had an engine rebuild a few years ago. The displacement was increased to 652cc which makes quite a diëerence to usability on the motorway. It used to be our family car, taking us all over Europe, and still goes to France several times each year; I fit a boot extension when needed.
‘I cover about 6000 miles each year in my 2CV. The key is to invest in buying or creating a good car and the running costs will then be tiny; over many years the average annual cost shouldn’t be more than £300-£400.
‘Perhaps the most appealing thing about the 2CV is how versatile it is. I do all of my own maintenance because they’re easy to work on, and you can fit an astonishing amount into one. You can even take them oëroading – I’ve driven across ploughed fields in mine, but never carrying a tray of eggs.’
Dorothy Moran, Hamilton, Scotland
When Dorothy Moran used to go on family holidays to France as a child, she was interested in only one thing – the 2CVS that spluttered their way around the French countryside. So when she was looking for a new family car in 1987 she knew exactly what to buy. She says, ‘Back then our 2CV was our family car, used to transport five of us with camping gear. Very tough mechanically, the 2CV is a joy to drive because you just roll back the roof and glide along as the world smiles on – these cars make people happy.
‘In some ways the 2CV is ideally suited to modern conditions in that it copes well with poor surfaces and it’s plenty quick enough for congested roads, but staying on top of rust is a problem and a lot of maintenance is required, so if you do a lot of miles that becomes a bind. That’s why for many people the 2CV is a perfect second car rather than their main one. It’s easy to do most things on a DIY basis though, especially once you’ve got a copy of the workshop manual that the club has produced with input from its members.’