There’s an old saying that mentions something about putting lipstick on a pig, and how it’s rarely a good idea… In the case of the 1959 Citroen Bijou, there was plenty of lipstick, but no pig; the Bijou was based almost entirely on the excellent Citroen 2CV, which had been given a new fiberglass body in order to appeal to the more sophisticated tastes of the British public. The Bijou was a fine-looking car, no doubt about, but it suffered from several fatal… drawbacks, if not flaws. First off, it was very expensive compared to local, more useful and certainly more powerful offerings, tipping the scales at 675 pounds (in 1959), a price few were willing to stomach.
With a top speed of barely 45 miles per hour, and the two-thirds of a minute it took to almost get there, power (and the lack thereof) was this car’s greatest Achilles’ Heel. The Citroen 2CV was already not very fast, and the new body was considerably heavier, making the Bijou painfully, almost dangerously slow.
Needless to say, Citroen didn’t have much success with the Bijou as it could have anticipated, as the British public were not fooled, particularly at a time of economic distress, and with so many better options available.