1966 Citroen 2CV
1966 Citroën 2CV Sahara AZ 4x4
Chassis no. 0772
Ranking alongside the Volkswagen Beetle, Mini, and Land Rover as one of the classic mass-produced cars of the post-war era, Citroën's quirky 2CV debuted in 1949. Intended to provide basic transport in a period of post-war austerity, the 2CV outlived its humble beginnings, going on to attain cult status as the favoured car of the environmentally concerned motorist.
Although the original 375cc air-cooled flat-twin engine grew eventually to 602cc, the 2CV's performance remained relatively modest at around 110km/h flat-out, not that that concerned the majority of its devotees for whom the roomy interior, full-length sunroof and frugal fuel consumption were of far greater importance. It was a sad day for many when the last French-built 2CV left the Levallois factory in 1988, although production continued in Portugal for two more years.
One of the more unusual of the many 2CV variants, and certainly among the most collectible today, is the four-wheel drive 'Sahara' which, unusually, used a second engine to drive the rear wheels. This ingenious means of providing all-wheel drive had already been tried by some Citroën dealers, and by the end of the 1950s the factory had decided to produce its official version, which was intended mainly for use in the rough desert terrain of France's North African colonies. The first prototypes were shown to the motoring press in 1958, with production proper commencing in December 1960. As well as the additional engine, the Sahara featured a special chassis, reinforced suspension, wider wheel rims, twin fuel tanks (beneath the front seats) and countless other modifications to enable the car to cope with difficult terrain and climate. In 1962, following Algeria's independence, Citroën dropped the 'Sahara' name and the car became the '2CV 4x4'. It is estimated that 695 of both designations were built.
This 2cv Sahara was delivered new in Switzerland, evident from the indicators in the front wings and the white wheels (other examples had gris rosé wheels). The car, owned by a lady at the time, was regularly serviced by Citroen Garage Aebi in Lyss, Switzerland. The car remained in Zürich up to 1975 and then relocated to the Jura region of France. In 1979 the Sahara was dismantled; its restoration was never started and the car was still in pieces when the current vendor bought it in 2009. Fortunately it was still complete, even the 2 original 'Garage Aebi' key rings were still present. The enthusiast owner then proceeded to restore the Citroën, a lengthy process that took the next eight years to complete.
These twin-engined 2CVs rarely come to the market, and this beautifully presented example is worthy of the closest inspection. Ready for its next adventure, the car is offered with its cancelled Swiss registration document; current Belgian registration documents and a technical inspection valid until 2026; sundry restoration invoices; Extracts from a magazine featuring the car's restoration; and a Citroën Dating Certificate confirming authenticity and matching numbers.