For all its sophistication, France at the end of World War II was still a very rural country; the 1948 Citroen 2CV was designed as a way to put rural France on wheels, and to say it succeeded would be a gross understatement, as over its 42-year production run, over 5,000,000 2CV were built! One of the most important standards the 2CV had to meet was that of comfort and handling, to navigate France unpaved back roads; indeed, one of the test its excellent suspension passed with flying colors was to carry a basket of eggs at speed through a plowed field without breaking a single one! Because of its design, the Citroen 2CV was prone to lots of body roll in curves, but its front wheel drive provided excellent traction, and overall handling was phenomenal, if at times a little … exciting.
The basic engine design of the 2CV was simple: an air-cooled, flat twin. Depending on the year, displacement ranged from 375cc to 602cc, and output, from 9 to 29 horsepower. Needless to say, the 2CV was not built for speed, and in a best-case scenario, with the most powerful engine, could reach a top speed of 67 miles per hour or 107 km/h, well short of the highway speed limit in France!
Supremely practical, comfortable, extremely reliable and roomy, the 1948 Citroen 2CV and its many successors and variations have proven to be one of the great automobile success stories, and just like the Beetle, the 2CV has developed its own, quite enthusiastic cult following.