25 March 2013

Two horsepower?

I don't know who owns this Citroën 2CV, but it certainly is a fine-looking car. It was parked down by the church in our village last week, and I've seen it out and about a few times recently.

The 2CV was manufactured from 1948 until 1990, so all the ones you see on the roads
are at least 20 years old. Just over five million of them were built.

It's called a 2CV (Deux Chevaux) or "two horsepower" car because of the size of its engine. The CV number in this case isn't real horsepower, but instead is "fiscal horsepower," a formula based on engine size, power, and emissions levels that is used to calculate car registration fees. My little Peugeot, for example has a 5CV engine for tax purposes, but its diesel engine produces 90 hp in real terms.


  1. The bodywork on that one looks in very good condition... The colour is "Eau de Nile".... although, having seen the Blue Nile, I think the designers at Citroen [and the person who named the river] were "'avin' a larf!"... it was much like the bief out back... an "off-muddy brown"!

    This is a 602cc and should really be called a 3CV... but there were too many out by then as 2CVs to change. Or so the story goes...

    Have a nice, grey day!

  2. I love them. Mechanically simple, can travel over a ploughed paddock and the boot, sorry trunk, folds down to make a picnic table. The French response to a VW Beetle?

  3. Andrew, sorry, a common misconception...
    the boot lid folds up...
    fine to make the sarnies and salad up on as it is at roughly elbow height...
    but, once you've taken the four seats out of the car to sit on, you need something that is coffee table height to eat off...
    usually a plate on your lap...
    but 'tis far more comfortable than sitting on the ground!!

    Much better than a Beetle... and I've owned both... especially in winter.
    power to and weight over the front wheels...
    the ones wot steer the car...
    and the heat comes straight in at the front...
    power to and weight over the rear wheels...
    slides all mover the place in snow...
    and you wait for ages for the miserable heat to filter through from the back...
    in summer... no contest at all... the Deuche has always been a cabriolet!!

  4. Here our road taxes are calculated on the engine size...mine is 1600hp.
    What a coincidence, my motor vehicle registration renewal came in the mail yesterday.

  5. If the two horses are Percherons, the car is plenty powerful.

  6. We used to take out the back seat for sunbathing and picnics. I loved the roll-back rooftop -- ideal for standing up to see the sights.

  7. Hello Virginia, 1600 hp can't be right. No car engine develops that much power. 160 maybe...

  8. P.S. In France we pay road taxes only once, when we purchase the vehicle, and not annually (as we did in California).

  9. They are such great little cars. Not sure that N could get his 6 foot 4 ins into one though! Have a good week Diane

  10. Diane, he could, you know... they are the perfect car for tall people... the designer himself, Pierre Boulanger, was very tall, and part of the brief was to design the car so that he could sit in it with his hat on!!
    I have "duck's disease"... long body and my tail end is too close to the ground... but I can sit in ours with plenty of headroom.

  11. So French! There's a company in Paris that will drive you around to see the sights in a 2CV, but it's kind of expensive.

  12. Ken, I meant 1600cc...sorry...not sure how much horsepower that is.


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