On today’s Cars of the Ku, we have a Citroën 2CV6 which is currently all the way up in Nakanojo, Gunma Prefecture, Japan. Since I happen to be in New Mexico this week, our French friend comes from sometimes tipster Luda-Sensei who snapped these pictures at a local art show.
Luda says she was at the art show called Bienalle, and the car was parked at a former elementary school that’s been used for some 1990s Japanese movie settings.
For reference, I’ve included the English description of the art show and the location specifically (#22) where the vehicle was found. When it comes to art, you can’t do much better than displaying a classic Citroën!
The Citroën 2Cv was produced from 1948-1990 and covered a wide range of designs and models. The 2CV6 specifically, of which this two-tone model is an example, was made between 1970 and 1978. It’s not a V6 as the name implies — instead its name refers to its hulking, massive 602 cc engine. (Yeah, go ahead and feel inadequate, American muscle cars.)
One of the biggest draws of the 2CV models, including the 6, was its style, which never quite left the late 1940s, eventually reaching total retro status by the time of its discontinuation in 1990.
The small car was popular not only its native Europe, but also in places like Japan, which was hit even harder by oil crises, first post-WWII and later in the 1970s. It’s unknown precisely what this particular 2CV6’s history is—it could have been imported rather late—but it’s not unreasonable to think that it might have been purchased or imported in new to compete with homegrown products.
Indeed, by the late 80s and 1990s several Japanese automakers were intentionally aping the retro styling of vehicles like the 2CV, including the Nissan Pao, which we earlier covered in Cars of the Ku. As I wrote at that time:
The Pao adopted the Mini’s outside hinges, took panel styling cues from Citroën, and had a half-and-half rear hatch modeled on the Austin A40.
The 2CV in all its iterations was seen as cheap, reliable, and small. Perfect for a market such as Japan. Add in its quirky, retro, almost never changing exterior, and its cute front face, it’s not surprising it was a winner in Japan.
And still today, I see plenty of more modern Citroëns on the road. It’ll never be seen as a performance or tuner car, but I’m sure the owner of this 2CV6 is just as much in love with it as any other enthusiast in Japan.
Images via Luda-Sensei. Used with permission.