French By Way Of Argentina: Citroen 3CV


Jamie PalmerBy Jamie Palmer

I’ll bet some of you have already started on your responses to my “typo” in the title. Actually, it’s correct! Versions of the famed Citroen 2CV that were manufactured in Argentina were called the 3CV–you can look at this site for more information on the Argentinian versions. This one is located in Hagerstown, Maryland and is listed for sale here on eBay. The auction was set up originally was $1,000 with no reserve, but the seller has now relisted it so there is a buy it now of $9,000 and lower offers will be considered.


By the way, according to this translation, “Cachila” means old heap or old banger. It appears that the seller doesn’t know a tremendous amount about the car by their own admission; I’m guessing the owner is no longer with us and the family is selling it off. How about that front bumper? There’s one just like it on the website in the first paragraph, even the same color, so it’s a good bet it’s factory equipment.


The seller states that it runs and drives well and has minimal rust. It’s supposedly been garaged it’s whole life-that’s great! Aren’t those fold up windows cool?


Don’t forget there’s actually a decent amount of room in there as well. The missing door panels look to be in mint condition and have been stored away from the car.


The engine compartment looks surprisingly clean as well. While hardly pristine, this car looks like a terrific driver Citroen, and that can’t be a bad thing. This is a car I’ve wanted to drive an example of for a long time. I’m not sure if I’d end up liking it or not, but it’s so different from just about anything else on the road, I think it would be a great automotive experience to have. What do you readers think? As those long time Barn Finds readers know, this is what I’d like to do with a 2CV, as I told you last June.

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  1. Zaphod

    The same engine lived on through the Ami 6 and Ami 8. In 2 fiscal HP it was a little slow and had trouble keeping up with highways minimum speeds. Brilliant bit of engineering, built around farm transport. One parameter was to carry 50 kilos of eggs across a field without breaking them. I was commissioned to wake one up that had been outdoors for over 20 years. Ran like a top.

  2. Howard A Member

    While we American’s look at this car with wonder, I believe, the 2CV ( never heard of a 3CV) was considered the “Model T” for the French, it was that successful. Built from 1948 through 1990, they sold millions. The 2CV story is actually very interesting, and it’s introduction was delayed by WW2. They have come a long way ( the original’s had a rope starter) but the basic car is still pretty much the same. While boxy looking ( I read, designed with a tall roof so French police could wear their tall hats) they have a unique suspension and they handle surprisingly well. Agreed, a tad weak on the hp for the US, but the French build great cars, and the 2 (or 3) CV was no exception. Great find, I’d love to have it. Curt, in one of my favorite movies, American Graffiti, drove a 2CV. ( although, the movie was set in 1962, the model he drove, with 3 side windows, wasn’t introduced until 1966)

    • Andrew

      I also remember they took the 3rd window out again in the late 1970’s for some reason, only to have it back again once more until their final years.

  3. healeydays

    In the early 70s I was in the army and reported to my new unit 9th Infantry at Ft Lewis Washington.

    When I stepped out of the cab in front of my new barracks I see in 3 of the parking spaces was the first 2CV I had ever seen, a 56 Chevy Wagon shorty (set of doors cut out of the middle of it) and a 37 Stude pickup that was hotrodded.

    I knew it was gonna be an interesting group of guys in that unit.

  4. Derek

    3CV is the tax rating for the French system (602cc engines); they were still sold as 2CVs though. Possibly the most practical car I’ve owned – it can carry far larger things than you’d expect it to, especially with a hatchback kit fitted. You can make them quite a bit quicker fairly easily, too (I race them for fun).

    Shifting band gear? No problem…

    • MikeH

      Not to mention that you can remove all four doors, the bonnet and the deck lid in about 3 minutes. You can haul almost anything.

  5. Steven C

    These are near the top of my dream car list and this one is in my idea of perfect condition. If i had to keep the car and could not sell it, i would take a 2cv over any supercar ever made. I know i am a weirdo.

  6. Ross

    Designed primarily for French Farmers to haul produce to market, so I heard.

  7. Bob C.

    Didn’t Richard Dreyfus drive one of these in American Graffiti?

  8. James Mogey

    I owned a dirty yellow example in Massachusetts back in the mid sixties. It was a quirky but wonderfully comfortable. An early model, mine had the seats which were adjusted by a series of holes drilled into the floor. God help you if the front edges of those holes rusted or became bent up. I once had the whole seat rear up and tumble over backwards while accelerating from a stop light when a hole gave way. I was stopped several times by police officers who just wanted to know what kind of a car it was.

  9. Andrew

    There was even a pickup model made for the Royal Navy back in the 1960’s for aircraft carriers. I wonder how many are left today.

    • Derek

      Few pickups left – there’s a story about them all being pushed into the Indian Ocean following the operations that they were bought for.

      Incidentally, mine cost me £750 a couple of years ago. Scabby, admittedly, but with a year’s MOT.

  10. Ck

    I think the car in American Graffiti must have been a time machine, it was a 67 set in a movie in 1962…..had to look that up I know nothing aboot these cars. I do like the pickup in Andrews pic though.

  11. David Miraglia

    The French Beetle

  12. juan

    3CV had real 18 HP (or 18 CV) 2 CV had only 13 HP (again, or 13 CV), the french model had way much better quality than the Argentinian (rust were not their strngth, I´m from Argentina) but they were OK, very dependable but weak for our country (chassis broke down, but you can change it for a cheap price).
    “Cachila” is an expression used in Uruguay (a neibourgh country) for naming generally the old cars but mostly when they are tired/abused/beaten up.
    The roof looks fiberglass, never factory offered not even as an option.


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