Some time ago, I was lucky to meet Neil Eberhard at a Wynberg Boys
High Schools Old Boys Open Microphone session. I found out he is
a collector and reconditioner of the charming and famous Citreon
2CV – Causing my immediate interest!
This delightful little “Noddy” type car is incredibly basic and
sensible. An economical car designed for the people. Much like
the renowned VW Beetle. The 2 CV was in production for 40 years
(1950 to 1990) with very little changes or enhancements.
Ask any Frenchman about this car and he/she will tell you “C’est ne
pas une voiture, c’est art de vivre!” (It’s a Philosophy. It’s a
way of life)
This utterly reliable and compact motor car has been driven right
around the World. The 2CV is light enough to be easily carried by
a few sturdy men. It has crossed rivers on dugout canoes, scaled
high mountain paths and is so tough, after all 4 tires were burst
in Pakistan, it was driven on its wheel rims for a day with no
On the outside, the curving fenders are old fashioned and almost
sort of sexy. The roof consists of a rubberised canvas cover which
can be clipped either fully open or just half way – like a modern
sunroof. Apparently the boot lid is designed to become a camping
table and the rear seat clips out to become a comfortable camping
Under the bonnet is a rugged 600 cc 2 cylinder horizontally opposed
overhead valve air-cooled engine. Very similar to what was found
in the older BMW motorcycles and just as dependable.
Inside, the lay-out is the basic of basics. Front and rear seats
are the bench type and amazingly comfortable. Leg room was a bit
on the tight side but not noticeably so.
The dashboard sports a Ammeter for battery charge and a simple
speedometer. The headlight focus can be controlled from a knob on
the dashboard – this to prevent the lights lighting up the night
sky when the rear is fully loaded with garlic bread, wine and
truffles… Or maybe a pig or two!
There are rudimentary controls to regulate the cabin heat ducted
from the engine, and on a hot day, to blow a cool breeze over your
The Gear Shift is just as strange. It is a long L shaped rod
protruding forward into the dashboard. The shift pattern is
cleverly designed in order the most used gears, 2nd and third are
the easiest to change. The position of the gear lever on the
dashboard also means that no leg room is wasted.
The opening of the front side windows was an amusement for me. The
lower half clips out and is flipped up to hook on a catch outside!
What a ride in a beautiful (Kind of Ugly Duckling) piece of French
history. Big thanks to Neil and Mattys.
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Barry Blomkamp Nd. Bsc (UL)
Professional Public Speaker, Trainer and Corporate Entertainer,
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Cape Town, South Africa.