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Selling over 5.1 million units between 1949 and 1990, the 2CV is a big deal to Citroen, being its longest lasting model and arguably most iconic! Owing its origins to a 1936 Pre-War project in the form of “TPV” or “Toute Petite Voiture”, which translates to “very small car”. The aim of this project was to create versatile, economical and accessible cars.

The project was successful, creating a “TPV” in 1937 that weighed 370kg, had one headlight (you didn’t need two at the time), could carry four people and 50kgs of luggage in comfort at a maximum speed of 50km/h. 250 pre-production models were ready for the Paris Motor Show in 1939 but the outbreak of World War II put a stop to that and all bar four of those models were destroyed.

A photo of a Citroen 2CV van shot at the Citroen Conservatoire.
A 1955 Citroen 2CV AZU van photographed at the Citroen Conservatoire

Launch of the 2CV happened much later in 1949 with the car becoming an instant hit, its simple, hard-wearing and affordable characteristics as well as its unique body shape made it a standout vehicle. A tiny 375cc, air-cooled, flat-twin engine produced 9bhp and was capable of 50km/h.

That being said, demand was driven by a myriad of reasons. Its shape, removable benches, lightness, comfort and agility can all be credited for the 2CV’s success. At its peak, wait time was six years!

A shot of the Citroen 2CV 6 by Hermes, photographed at the Citroen Conservatoire.
Citroen 2CV 6 by Hermes was painted and dressed to match the luxury brand’s colours

Ten special editions were created over the life of the 2CV. These included the Spot, Charleston and Cocorico. There was also the Citroen 2CV van in 1951 and 2CV AZ in 1954 which came with a 12bhp engine and a centrifugal clutch! You will also notice the 2CV 6 by Hermes, 2CV A Berline and of course the famous 2CV 4X4 “Sahara”.

A photo of a Citroen 2CV 4x4 Sahara, photographed at the Citroen Conservatorie.
The 2CV 4×4 Sahara was a twin engined version of the iconic Citroen

The photos you see here are from a special project by Citroen to create portraits of eight noteworthy 2CVs. Shot at the Citroen Conservatoire, these photos will go on display at the Conservatoire at Aulnay-sous-Bois, an event that will be opened by the gathering of 75 2CVs.

The exhibition opens on the 7th of October with fans of the “double-chevron” brand also able to view 250 iconic Citroen models at the Conservatoire.

Thanks for reading! For more Citroen news and reviews, visit Tarmac Life.

Words by Matthew D’Souza, pictures courtesy of Stellantis Media Citroen.

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