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‘ Design a car that can carry farmers and eggs across a field, without breaking the eggs’
That was the design brief from Citroen vice President Pierre Boulanger, it was a huge task, a difficult brief but it was exactly what they managed to do. You need to understand that as late as the 1930’s many French farmers were still using pony and cart and so they represented an untapped market. The result was engineering genius but there was an ominous event just three years away, the second world war. The car was due to be unveiled in Oct 1939 but war had broken out. This was a disaster for the car launch. Then the Nazis invaded France and we see how Boulanger became a nuisance and an ‘enemy of the Reich’.
BUT 9 years later it was launched and it was a massive hit, despite some snarky comments. One American journalist asked ‘ does it come with a can opener?’
We see the 2CV connection with the James Bond franchise and through that a curious connection to Queen Elizabeth 1 and we see how the car can be adapted for the 21 St Century and the need to clean up the air.
This car was a combination of engineering innovation and utilitarian bodywork. Originally the bodywork was corrugated for extra strength without extra weight. It was a definite marker in the history of automotive engineering. In 1953 Autocar magazine called it the most orginal car since the Model T Ford. That is how revolutionary this car was in its day.
This is why the 2CV is so well loved and rightly became an icon. It lasted so long because it was well loved and still is loved by a new generation.
This will be of interest to:
Engineering/ construction tutors with level 1 and 2 students.
Lovers of France
Media and film fans.