Saturday, February 07, 2009

More French Barn finds!

Earlier in the blog I wrote a little about the amount of old cars that seem to be populating the rural areas of France. Tucked away in barns, or quietly rusting in fields and hedges old cars are to be found almost anywhere when you are 'tuned in' to spot them.

The Citroen 2cv is of course the archetypal French car of the post war era, with a production run of several million that spanned forty years, it's no surprise that they still keep cropping up in farmers barns on a regular basis!

In recent years many Brit's have bought second homes in France, or indeed moved out there to live permanently, and I know of at least one person who 'inherited' an old 2cv this way, it simply came with the house!

When the 2cv was introduced in 1948 it was hailed as an 'Umbrella on wheels' which referred to its utilitarian nature as cars just didn't get more basic than the 2cv. Yet these little cars sold like hot cakes, there was a waiting list of over a year for the first model as farmers and lower income families gave up the horse and cart they used as daily transport in favour of these tough little cars.

I have one of these cars, and have owned several 2cv's over the past decade or so and I really can't stress enough what fun they are to own!
Their almost supernatural reliability is also something that never fails to amaze!
Recently I was out driving in my 2cv when a Taxi driver pulled alongside (blocking all traffic in doing so) he just had to tell me that he had one too - back home in Greece. He said that he hadn't been home for three years and the 2cv stood outside in his garden, but he fully expected the car to start right up on his return as it has done every two years or so when he visits home!

It's quite amazing that with the probable exception of the car in the very first photo, with nothing more than the addition of fresh petrol and a new battery the likelihood is that all of the cars shown here could be driven!
I have witnessed such finds being started up for the first time in years and the faces of the onlookers vary from total amazement and disbelief, to the wry knowing smile and nod of the head of the enthusiast.

The car above and below are typical of the type of find that are common. Mostly complete they are easily restorable, and thanks to a network of clubs and specialist dealers virtually every single replacement part is available for the Citroen 2cv.

A new fashion has also developed among the younger owners, and that is to drive the cars 'as is' meaning that once the mechanical and safety aspects have been checked and maintained the car is put right back into service with often an entire patina of surface rust!

The above car is an example of this, no shiny paint job here just good old 'honest' patina showing the life and times of the cars history. I quite like this approach, but only if steps are taken to prevent further deterioration of course.
Many of the photographs here were taken from the French site 'LeBoncoin' which is a little like a classified ads site, it's all in French naturally, so unfortunately I can't make out much of the wording in the ad's but I like to browse through those old Citroen 2cv's from time to time and check out the new discoveries!

1 comment:

Viewliner Ltd. said...

Probably my favorite old european car. Saw many of them in Amsterdam when I was a kid.

Contact me at

I would like to send you some pictures you might like, Richard.