If you’ve watched the latest Grand Tour special then you’ll know that Jeremy Clarkson would likely hate today’s Nice Price or No Dice 2CV while James May would consider it brilliant. Let’s see if enough of us consider it to be a deal.
When it comes to the amount of cereal you get in a box or the size of the milkshakes at your local burger joint (I’m looking at you, In-N-Out), it seems the most common mantra amongst many companies is “less is more.”
One carmaker that has held strong this ethos — but in an admirable fashion — is Lotus. The British cottage car builder has long advocated that the best way to make a car go fast is to make it as unencumbered, and hence as light, as is possible.
That was evident in yesterday’s 2005 Lotus Elise, a light and quick charmer that nonetheless had a bunch of options piled on it in a somewhat counterintuitive fashion. The weightiest thing about the Elise was its $49,999 price, and that was a burden 77 percent of you felt was too onerous to take, giving the Lotus a No Dice loss.
Lotus isn’t the only car company to focus on the weight of their wares. Today’s 1965 Citroën 2CV is evidence that the French also saw value in low weight as a means of enhancing performance. Of course, when it comes to 2CV’s and performance, the goals have always been much more modest.
Originally designed as a farmer’s car, with a suspension so pliant it could be driven across a plowed field with a basket of eggs on the seat breaking none, the 2CV’s innovative design and low price made it popular not just on farms but across all of France.
Here in America, however, the little Citroën would prove just an oddity. There was a reason that George Lucas chose to have Richard Dreyfuss’ character drive one in American Graffiti. Today, like any cheap car from a past era, the 2CV has earned the right to be a collectible. Considering that out of approximately 3.8 million 2CVs built over the car’s 42-year model run only about 1,000 of those came to America, you’re not going to see one on every street corner. In fact, most of those that you do see here are most likely privately imported cars brought into the country by people who love the 2CV’s roll-back roof and moped-like acceleration.
Based on the pics in the ad, there are a number of questions regarding this one’s provenance. The seller lists the car as a 1965 model, however, the seatbelts, tail lamps, and the presence of an alternator under the hood indicate it to be a much newer model year. That’s ok though since it’s not unheard of for fans to transfer a VIN from an older wrecked car to a newer imported edition. Considering the presence of the seat belts but not a single-spoke steering wheel, I’m going to guess the original model year for this one as being 1972. Don’t hold me to that, however.
We don’t know much of the car’s story at all from the seller since the only description the ad offers is the following:
1965 citroen 2cv Deux ChevauxBlue with a Grey interior. Very Nice condition. Wonderful rare Unique French Car
The spec sheet in the Craigslist ad also notes a 25,000-mile history and classifies the cylinder count as “other.” Of course, we all know that the 2CV (or Deux Chevaux) has an air-cooled twin under its hood.
Depending on the exact year and model this could have either a 435-cc 26 horsepower twin or a 602-cc unit offering 30 stampeding horses. Either way, the transmission is going to be a four-speed manual with a wonderful umbrella handle shifter sprouting from just underneath the dash. In-board front/outboard rear drum brakes and a leading and trailing arm front/rear suspension setup complete the 2CV’s major mechanicals.
Aesthetically, the car seems to be in pretty good shape. The blue paint looks fresh as does the vinyl on the roll-back roof. All of the trim appears intact and while you might think otherwise, three is the standard compliment of lug nuts for each of the 2CV’s wheels. The cabin is just as cheery as the body and, according to the ad, the car comes with a clean title.
It’s no surprise that, on their recent TV outing, Clarkson and May expressed differing opinions about the 2CV. Jeremy thinks the model is terrible since the performance will never “make some wee come out.” James, on the other hand, marvels over the fact that the front windows fold up like those on his airplane. The show doesn’t give us Hammond’s take on the car, but we don’t really need him playing momma bear to the other two extremes now, do we?
What we do need is your opinion on this particular 2CV and its $16,500 asking price. As I noted, these models are appreciably rare here in the States and that has driven values up as supply doesn’t seem to fully sate the demand. That being said, this is one of the cheapest 2CVs for sale here. What do you say, is it cheap enough? Or, is this 2-horse simply priced too high?
H/T to Bert Hoff for the hookup!
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