Before Tata introduced the poor to the travails of new car buying, there was the Citroën FAF. Before the FAF there was the Greek-built Pony, and today Nice Price or Crack Pipe wants to know what's a grecian urn?
Yesterday morning Gizmodo decided to post some pictures of the next iPhone, and the resultant frenzy took down Gawker's comment boards including Jalopnik's. Despite the traffic surge, we still managed to grab your votes, and in a 54 to 46% throw down, the 630 horsepower C5 Vette managed to pull off a daring daylight Nice Price win. America, Eff-Yeah!
Now that iPhone that got everybody all worked up represents some of the most advanced technology ever offered to consumers. With phone and internet connectivity, devices like that have been making the world a progressively smaller place for years. Another device - one that's much more simple - has also made the world a smaller place, at least for those to whom it brought mobility, and it is the subject of today's consideration.
Citroën's 2CV rivaled the original Volkswagen, Italy's Tolpolino, and later, the Mini of Great Britain in the race to capture the same magic as Ford had done with the Model T. Simple, rugged, easy to build, easy to maintain transportation for the masses, these cars were intended not just to put people on the road, but to get them out there spending money, and stimulating each nation's economy. The legend is that one criteria for the Deux Chevaux's development was that it had to traverse a bumpy farm field with a basket of eggs in the passenger seat, with all the pre-chicklets surviving the journey. Despite the engineers' success, France still invented the omelet.
That original 2CV has provided the basis for a number of vehicles that were part of Citroën's ambition to not only to build cars that drivers in developing nations could afford, but to also build them in those developing nations as well, again providing that economic spark. The FAF, or Facile à Fabriquer, Facile à Financer is the most well known of these, but pre-dating that was the Greek-built Namco Pony-Citroën. Despite its precedence, the Pony exemplifies the easy to build, easy to finance apophthegm of the FAF, and like that car, possesses a very simplistic structure and bodywork.
This 1983 Pony is one of a clutch that have made it to the U.S.. Currently residing in Santa Barbara California, it's claimed by the seller to be a daily driver. With only a Dyane-based 602-cc twin making less than 30-hp, those daily drives must have been leisurely paced, but then again, if your goal is serenely motoring about town, doing so in Santa Barbara in an open-topped trucklet is a pretty good way to do so.
Things don't get much simpler than the pony. The engine is air-cooled, the suspension is an ingenious leading-link front/trailing link rear that affords waif-like unsprung weight. The glass is all flat and easy to source, and the whole thing tips the scales at less than 1,400 lbs. The seller says it could stand to be restored, although it looks pretty sound from the pictures, and he doesn't relate any tales of woe that could potentially be a deal killer for this Pony. Oh, and for you purists, there are three pedals on the floor and a spindly stick that sprouts from the dash and is connected to a 4-speed manual.
The Pony-Citroën is reminiscent of the earlier Mehari, but while the appearance is mistaken-identity close, the Mehari was a plastic tub, while the Pony is stamped steel. The similarity between the two was not lost on Citroën who banned the sale of the Thessaloniki-built Ponys in France.
As it's over 25 years old, the DOT will leave you alone, and nicely - as it's under 750-ccs - it's smog exempt too. The seller claims 40-60 mpg on the highway, which is pretty astounding. Equally astonishing is that he actually takes it on the Freeway, what with its top speed being the sunny side of 70 and a zero to sixty time longer than it takes to watch most GEICO commercials, twice. It's definitely not the Pony Express.
But that's not to say this wouldn't be a fun little runabout, and its weirdness factor would mean pulling up to every car show and gas pump would likely require crowd control. But how much would you have to pony up for this pony? Well, the seller's willing to let you slowly drive off in it for a fin shy of five large. Sure, for that you could buy any number of faster, quicker, less quirky, more common rides, and if that's the first thing that jumps to your mind, then this assuredly isn't the purchase for you. But, for someone who appreciates the journey as much as the destination, this truck has its appeal.
So, what do you say to $4,995 for this Citroën, does that make you say c'est très magnifique for this Greek? Or, would you have to be an ass to pay that much for this pony?
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