Reportedly under development for ten years, the Citroen 2CV was an exercise in simplicity, France's answer to the Volkswagen Beetle, Fiat 500 or Morris Minor, but much more fundamental and less pleasing to the eye.
The most popular version of the 2CV was the five-door hatchback was with four doors, and room for four persons and their luggage.
Initially, the 2CV came with a 375 cc twin-cylinder front wheel drive engine which was only capable of reaching a top speed of 60 kilometres an hour ( 37 mph).
Over the years Citroen's engineers gradually increased the 2CV's engine's power, with the car eventually fitted with a 602 cc air-cooled version, generating 29 bhp and reaching speeds not recommended on Frances' vast network of rural country roads.
The 2CV's suspension consisted of torsion bars and oversized shock absorbers all around, with leading arms in front and trailing arms at the rear.
Individual rods realigned the rear wheels as soon as the front wheels hit a bump.
An automatic centrifugal clutch allowed two-pedal operation in traffic, with overdrive on the all-synchro three-speed (four with overdrive) manual gearbox. An L-shaped gearshift handle protruded from the dashboard.
The engine sat ahead of the front wheels, with its oil cooler placed above, inboard brakes behind, and the gearbox to the rear of the differential with even a built-in jacking system included.
The only instruments were a speedometer and ammeter, while the car's parcel shelf was mounted below the cowl.
The 2CV's flat windshield and down-sloping hood allowed first class forward visibility, although vision was limited toward the rear.
From day one, it was evident that the 2CV was designed for comfort and not for speed, and unsightly as it was the car was a tremendous success, with an ongoing two-year waiting list to buy one.
Despite the unrelenting demand in the domestic market, by the early Fifties, Citroen began to develop an export market, with the 2CV proving very popular in Northern Europe, notably Holland and Belgium, because of the car's air-cooled engine.
Orders for the 2CV flowed in, only because there was no better dual-purpose vehicle available at that time, especially at the price that Citroen were marketing the 2CV at that point.
Among the intriguing features taht made the 2CV stand out from tje crowd were its quirky fabric top that rolled back as a massive sunroof: doors that slid off their hinges: seats that could be removed, and front fenders that could be replaced in around sixty seconds.