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2 CV Charleston: 40 years old and still cult


The best soups are made in old pots, they say. In the automotive sector, it is sometimes with an old-fashioned and remodeled model that we create an icon. The 2 CV Charleston presented at the Paris Motor Show in the fall of 1980 is the most jovial example. To tell the story, let’s reverse it.

Launched after the war (but designed just before), the modest Citroën bravely survived the decades of the Glorious Thirties, responding to the French’s need for a practical and economical car for town and country. Brave deudeuche! Faithful to the (driving) position, it has enabled modest families, nuns, country priests, farmers, teachers, students and all kinds of mowns to take to the road as well. Their freedom! Also abroad, the 2 CV is a success.

Buttocks tight in rib

And yet, for those who drive it today, it is almost an epic, with its curious gear lever, its all-relative suspensions, its windows that fall on your elbow, its intermittent heating, its difficult hill starts ( even impossible), its sluggish times and, for some models, its centrifugal clutch. We still haven’t understood the point, but quite the danger: at a standstill, we find ourselves coasting!

In the current sense of the term, the 2 CV is therefore not quite a car, rather a moving passenger compartment with which we become one, whose efforts we marry: buttocks tight on a hill, busts packed at full speed (102 km / h with wind in the back), hocks stretched when crossing speed bumps …

A Citroën 2 CV Charleston, the 2nd model released in 1982

Even yesterday, “in her time”, she was considered Spartan. But how to do without it? In the early 1950s, there was almost nothing on the cheap car market. Customers waited three years to get their 2 CV! But over the years other models – like the Renault 4 L – come to compete with it, then to precede it.

2 pop, retro CVs.

But the “two-legged” has not said its last word. Frugal, it pulls out of the game of the first oil shock. Finally, the Citroën Dyane launched to thwart the success of the 4 L is rather failed and the 2 CV remains popular with the public.

READ ALSO : Ugly (but legendary) cars: Dyane, the ungrateful little sister of the 2 CV

Thus in 1974, when Citroën replaced its round headlights with squares to modernize it, customers rebelled! As for the youngest, they want a “real” 2 CV, but up to the tastes of the day. They will be delighted with the Spot – very pop with its white and orange livery – launched in 1976 in a limited edition of 1,500 copies, the Club (yellow, green, blue, orange …) in 1979 then the Charleston in 1980 in a series limited to 8,000 copies.

A 2 CV Charleston rental company offers them for weddings.  Breakdown included ...

A 2 CV Charleston rental company offers them for weddings. Breakdown included …

This two-tone model (black and burgundy, black and yellow then beige and white) with the front seats and the rear bench covered in black and white (then beige) houndstooth fabric is riding the retro chic wave of the time. Bingo! The Roaring Twenties two-legged is a hit, to the point of seeing its production become unlimited. Those who are not yet called bobos are crazy about it, just like the pure bourgeois who play bohemian. In 1984, Laurent Fabius, Prime Minister of François Mitterrand, was surprised at the wheel of a Ferrari 400. The press mocked, “Uncle” looked big, “Lolo” then tried to redeem himself for driving. He will go to Matignon in … Charleston.



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