If you’ve ever been to France or even watched a French movie, you might have noticed a very unique little car. That car was the Citroen 2CV affectionately known as the Deux Chevaux, which translates to “two horses” It was France’s answer to the German Volkswagen Beetle and intended to be just as utilitarian. It was low cost transportation with a lot of flexibility designed in to accommodate a variety of uses.
I’ve been fascinated by these little cars since my first trip to Europe. They’re still very popular across the pond and have a strong hobbyist following in parts of Asia. I’ve always wanted to take one apart but never thought I’d get the opportunity as they’re rare in the US. Then one day I got an email from a guy named Andy. He asked if I’d be interested in restoring an odd little car he had. He had no idea !
Andy lived in Europe for a while and drove a 2CV. He loved it. After moving back to Florida he managed to track one down that was for sale in the US. After enjoying his new toy for a while he decided a full restoration was in order. This project was another one of our “shared” restorations. Andy and his sons handled the chassis, drive train and interior restoration and we did the body reconstruction, paint and assembly.
Andy had the car taken apart by the time we got involved. He kept the chassis/drivetrain and delivered all the body parts to us. Here was the pile of parts he left with us.
At first glance the metal looked to be in decent shape. We dug a little further and found the extensive rust that these cars are known for. Working on the car was easy. No rotisserie necessary. One person could just roll the body over as needed.
These cars are still so popular that there are companies reproducing original quality parts for them. A company in the Netherlands reproduces many of the steel body parts. You can even buy “crate motors” for the different generations ! We used a combination of repro parts and custom fabrication to put the body back in shape.
The next step was additional rust repair on doors and fenders followed by body work and priming. Andy and family are big Lightning fans so he chose the official team colors and we applied them in the upscale Charleston 2CV paint scheme.
When the chassis restoration was completed, Andy delivered it to us so we could assemble the body on it.
Check out the beautiful work that Andy and his sons did on this chassis !
Next we had to put the puzzle back together. Since we didn’t take it apart and had never worked on one before, we needed lots of direction from Andy.
After the body was fully assembled, Andy still had to finish some mechanical work, break in the engine and install the interior. He promised to bring the car back so we could see the finished product and go for a ride.
True to his word, he drove the 2CV from Tampa across the Howard Franklin bridge to our shop. Not only did we go for a ride in it but Andy let me drive it. I’ve driven a lot of classic vehicles but this was without question, the most unique driving experience of my life.
This was an extremely fun and rewarding project for us. Through the magic of the internet and one little decal, Andy was able to track down the owner in Germany who had assembled this car from various parts so his little brother would have something to drive when he got his license. Now the little 2CV is living out the next chapter of its life with Andy’s family in a country no one would have expected.