Runs and Drives: 1963 Citroen 2CV

When you are looking at purchasing a classic car, you can sometimes tell from the advertisement that you are dealing with an enthusiast with a sense of humor. When I looked at the ad for this 2CV and saw that the owner had provided three categories of information, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, I knew that this was special. It’s also worth looking at the sticker on the back of the car in the last photo because that also demonstrates his sense of humor. You will find the little Citroen advertised here on eBay. It is located in Vienna, Virginia, and comes with a clear title. At the time of writing, bidding is sitting at $1,525.

The little Citroen looks rough, and the new owner will have some work to do to bring it back to its best. The windshield is cracked, and the hood hinge is rusted out. The owner also says that the condition of the frame is questionable. This may not pose a huge problem, because the frame on a 2CV is like almost everything else on the car, and is a fairly simple design. This means that it could potentially be repaired.

The interior of the 2CV doesn’t look too bad. It is when you look at the interior of one of these that you begin to realize how simple the design actually is. The 2CV has been the butt of a lot of jokes, but to drive one over rough ground helps you to understand just how clever these little cars are. Everything was designed to be simple and rugged, and the interior is no exception. Virtually any interior re-trimming work can easily be performed at home. Still, it really doesn’t look like it needs a lot.

Under the hood of this Citroen is the 425cc air-cooled engine, which produces 16hp. This was sufficient to propel the Citroen to a top speed of 52mph. This engine runs and drives well, as is demonstrated by the owner in this YouTube video. What the video shows is that once the car is running, the engine sounds strong and clean, and it doesn’t blow any smoke. The car was last registered for highway use in 1986, but it does get removed from storage and driven at least once a year. It will need some mechanical work before it is fit for use again, with the majority of this revolving around fixing electrical issues, such as a faulty generator, and lights that aren’t working.

The Citroen 2CV is an interesting car, and it has a dedicated following in the motoring community. While a 2CV is never going to command a huge price, older examples in good condition still command respectable prices. Restored examples from the mid-1960s consistent attract prices of around $18,000, and even up as high as $23,000. If the frame on this one can be repaired (if it even needs it), then this car represents a restoration project that you could undertake at home.

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Comments

  1. Jeff

    These are so easy to work on, they should be considered tractors. If the bid doesn’t rise too quickly, someone might get a great deal on a fun toy.

    1
    • LodeStar

      JEFF- Have you ever worked on a tractor? They are more complicated than a car. Maybe, you were thinking lawn mower?

      • Jeff

        I grew up in farm country, so yes. I always found them to be mechanically very straightforward. At least, my father’s and grandfather’s tractors were easy to work on. It all came down to basic physics. Nothing like the computer engineering degree required to work on modern cars.

  2. Chinga-Trailer

    I’ve found them difficult to work on, particularly front inboard brakes, and the drums on this car much more monkey business than the discs on the later cars. Combine that with cheap steels that rust and corrode badly, I think most will not enjoy working on them. Combine that with such lethargic performance that they are a hazard in modern cosmopolitan traffic. These are toys, drive them where and how you would a golf cart.

    1
  3. Jesper Member

    Its very thin metal. When you welding in body u must use minimum power you can. Metal must lay dobb otherwice hole again and again. But charming cabin scooter 😎😎🇩🇰🇺🇸🇩🇪

    2
  4. Bob C.

    Looks like the car Richard Dreyfus drove in American Graffiti.

    5
  5. Chinga-Trailer

    Hard to work on, particularly the front inboard brakes. Drums on these early cars a real pain, the later disc brakes still a lot of monkey business. Cheap steels rust easy, everything else corrodes or dissolves! So slow they’re a hazard in modern cosmopolitan traffic. Apart from that, a lot of fun and a great car,!

  6. Keith

    Simply French junk.

    1
  7. Vance

    It would make a nice refrigerator, or washer and dryer.

    2
  8. leiniedude Member

    Does your dog bite? Its not my dog.

    2
  9. Swen

    I was statoned in (then) French Morocco
    In 1956, 57 in the Air Force. We shared the military base w/French military.
    They had dozens of Citroen 2-CV’s.
    Later back in the U.S. I drove a 2-CV…
    More entertaining than most anything on TV. .or at least as much fun as a motorcycle.
    The first 2-CV’s did not have constant velocity (CV) U-joints (remember, FWD)
    so it lumped around corners.
    Besides all the interesting design features….a 2-CV will tickle your funnybone.
    I am going to buy or build a model 2-CV for display in my man-cave.
    ….the Swenster

    2
  10. Tim D in MN

    It IS the same car Richard Dreyfuss drove in Am. Graffiti. I have lusted after one of these for 40 years, but nice ones are hard to find at a decent cost. While not the same in performance as my ’67 GTO, the larger 625 (or so) engine in the later models are adequate for today’s roads. Just sayin’!
    Tim in MN

  11. JunkFixer

    This isn’t actually scary at all. Frame replacement is fairly common on the 2CV4/6 and new replacements are readily available from many suppliers. The drawback to this one is the 425cc engine which makes US highway use impossible, unlike the larger-engined later models.

    2
    • chinga-trailer

      Yes, a later 602cc model with disc brakes is a much more “usable” car but they’re still SLOW – notice the orange “Caution” triangle this guy has put on the trunk lid of his other 2CV, visible in the top photo on this page. Accelerating (sic) away with a green light once, I was almost rear-ended by a teenage girl on her cell phone who didn’t realize how slowly I was moving the moment or two after the signal had changed.

      1
  12. Nevis Beeman

    2014 having just come off the AT, I stumbled upon a smart looking 2CV in a posh looking golf club car park somewhere in coastal Maine. The licence plate was from Arizona, and read simply ‘2 CV’. I often wondered what the story behind this particular wee Citroen was. Could it have been driven from Arizona to Maine ? Not impossible but unlikley I thought.

    1
    • Chinga-Trailer

      A number of years ago I ran an insurance agency in Williams, Arizona and one fine day a herd of at least a dozen 2CV’s, all with French license plates, came trundling through town. It seems a group of them shipped their cars over to the east coast, headed west, picked up the remains of old Route 66 and were on their way to California. One must assume they were not in a hurry though. So it is possible one could drive the other way and go from Arizona to Maine. You’d have to have a lot of patience though to do

      2
  13. redwagon

    i can appreciate the engineering in these for a particular situation/condition ie rural France poor roads and some overland travel. however in my opinion they should not be street legal.

    flame suit on …….. do your best.

    • Chinga-Trailer

      Why do you think these should not be street legal? Are you a big believer in the “Nanny State” where government has to protect us from any and every sort of danger? Maybe mandatory motorcycle helmets aren’t enough – maybe full Kevlar riding suits and boot should be required of even scooter drivers? Do we need even more airbags in our cars and electronic controls that take away any sort of decision making process? How about banning cars and motorcycles altogether? Make everyone ride the train or subway? No wait, people trip and fall onto the tracks, maybe make everyone stay home in flame-proof but padded rooms so you can’t even fall and get hurt?

      3
  14. Mickey Dorsey

    We lived in France in 1974-75. These were as common there as VW bugs are here. Almost every family had one. True, you would not drive one on the interstate, but around town they are a hoot. It’s sad to see the continuation of so many negative comments on BF. I don’t care if you would not buy any particular posting. If you have something positive to contribute, please do so. Otherwise why not just wait to post until you see something you like!

    5
    • Chinga-Trailer

      I’ve had perhaps a dozen of these little “‘Troons” and love them, and have shared my accurate observations. My intent was never negativity but accuracy. So if I’m one you think is unnecessarily negative, I think you’re mistaken. Sharing correct information, both good and bad is appropriate.

  15. Derek

    A new chassis is about £400, I think. Ken Hanna makes the best ones. Bunch of mates to lift the body off and back on again (or a 2-post ramp). The bonnet hinge panel’s a bit of a pain, but everything’s available.

    I take mine on the motorway, but I have a heavy foot and a good engine…!

    • Chinga-Trailer

      I’ll bet you also have at least 602cc in your car! Somewhere on youtube is a short video with a cute blonde screaming her heart out in terror as I did a few fast laps of Portland International Raceway in my 2CV based Lomax Three Wheel Speedster! I think that car would break every speed limit in USA if given a chance!

      • Derek

        It’s an old-spec race-prepared 602. 1100 oilhead BMW to come.

        Search youtube for “Sparrow 2CV BMW Mallory” and you’ll find Pete terrorising a PPC trackday in a BMW-powered 2CV. Highly entertaining!

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