This is the original idea behind the now classic Citroen 2CV and it remained as such throughout four decades of its production.
Einstein said it himself: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler”
To keep the weight down, everything had to be carefully thought-out. The windows on the 2CV do not open mechanically or electronically, you push them open with your arm, this not only reduces weight but also means it’s one less thing likely to break. The 2CV roof is made of fabric which can be rolled down on sunny days.
Sturdy and Reliable:
The reliability of the 2CV comes directly from its simplicity (as per the windows for example).
Automotive minimalism resulting in fewer things likely to let you down.
The engine is air cooled so there is no radiator or water pump likely to break down. Hardly any electronics also means it’s less likely to suffer faults on that end.
Yet, test engines were run for 1000 hours non-stop at full throttle, an equivalent of 80000km! Some 2CV engines have been known for running past 400000km which is simply unheard of with other manufacturers at that time.
An economy motoring icon.
The Citroen 2CV or Deux Chevaux, even though its initial design pre-dates the second world war, is as economical as the more techy recent Citroen models of today at under 5 litres per 100km.
This is in part due to the 2CV’s incredible light-weight at 525kg which is 300kg lighter than Citroen’s C1, its smallest model today.
The 2CV was aimed at a consumer market such as farmers who, until then, had not been able to afford a car. Therefore it needed to be affordable to buy and cheap to run and maintain. Exemplifying this is the jack handle which could cleverly be used to not only hand-crank the engine in case of a battery failure but also could be used as a wheel brace as well as to remove nuts that held the front wings on.
No wonder, back in 1999, 67% of the French voted the Citroen 2CV car of the century!
Photos used with permission © CITROEN COMMUNICATION - GEORGE GUYOT