Happy 70th to the Citroën 2CV

19th February 2018
Gary Axon

In the manufacturers area of the main Hall at Retromobile, the anniversaries of not one, but two of France’s most iconic and important cars are being celebrated, as Citroen lights the candles to mark 70s years since the launch of that most French of all cars, the 2CV, plus 50 years since its fun-loving, beach car sibling, the Mehari was announced.


In a dedicated area of the large Citroen and wider PSA Groupe stand, pleasing plastic self-assembly kit ‘Airfix-style’ frames sandwich a handful of 2CVs and Meharis. These include a scarce 1968 Mehari in its original (and short-lived) format, with metal chains in place of the later removable doors, smaller rear lights, and a host of other subtle detail changes. 

At the other end of the display is the Holy Grail of all 2CVs; one of the pre-war single headlamp Citroen prototypes that were set to be unveiled at the October 1939 Paris Motor Show, which understandably never actually took place due to the outbreak of WWII just one month earlier.


To stop the invading Germans getting their hands-on Citroen’s secret and vital new ‘peoples car,’ the few 2CV prototypes built in readiness for the 1939 Paris Salon were hidden across France in farm yard barn lofts and other out-of-the-way places.

Gradually, from the late 1960s onwards, a handful of these ‘lost’ 2CV prototypes began to be discovered, including the delightfully battered example displayed at Retromobile, with its simple roof-suspended hammock seats, lack of instrumentation and wooden starting handle.

If you’re a fan of these basic air-cooled ‘A-frame’ Citroens, no promises as yet, but this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed (12-15 July) may have a surprise or two in store!

Photography by Tom Shaxson

  • Retromobile.

  • Retromobile 2018

  • Citroen

  • retromobile-2019-citroen-tom-shaxson-goodwood08021928.jpg


    Retromobile 2019: 100 years of Citroën (gallery)

  • retromobile_weird_cars_12021801.jpg


    Gallery: The weirdest cars at Retromobile

  • artcurial_retromobile_goodwood_09021811.jpg


    Gallery: From Ferrari FXX to Peugeot 205 T16 – Retromobile auction