Commissioned by Citroën's president, Pierre-Jules Boulanger, in the 1930s and 1940s under the formula "four wheels under an umbrella", the Citroën 2CV was a remarkably simple car. But, while it had been created to get rural France on the road after WWII, the cheap and versatile deux chevaux quickly became popular among young urban people all across Europe. In the end, the Citroën 2CV was produced until 1990 – with more than with 5 million cars sold.
In the Mid-1950s, Citroën started thinking about an all-terrain version of the 2CV capable of travelling the Sahara desert where oil exploration and exploitation was in full swing. In order to create the desired four-wheel drive, the engineers came up with a rather surprising solution – they installed a second engine in the back of the car. Equipped with two 425 cc engines, the 2 CV Sahara developing a total power of 26 hp. It is recognisable by the air vents on the rear quarter panel, the notched rear wings, the stamped rear trunk, the spare wheel on the bonnet, and the fuel filler in the doors. In the end, only 694 examples of the little adventurer were produced between 1960 and 1967.
One of these cars was sold new to a French industrialist and passionate fisherman by the name of Monsieur Ribier, who used the Sahara to tow his boat from the river. When Mr Ribier died in 1976, his widow gave the 2CV to a family friend who continued to use it for a few more years before storing it in the dry until today. On 27 March, this Citroën 2CV Sahara is coming up for auction during Aguttes’ Spring Sale in Neuilly-sur-Seine. “When we visited the car, we discovered it under a thick layer of dust”, the auctioneers recount their first encounter. “It bears some of the scars of its off-road use that are now part of its history. The odometer shows 28,137 km, which is the original mileage. As the engines are not blocked, restarting it should not be a problem. This car is exceptional due to its history and its state of preservation, which makes it certainly one of the most desirable 2CV Sahara among the rare survivors.” Considering that other examples of the Citroën 2CV Sahara have sold for 120,000 euros and more, the price estimate of 60,000 to 100,000 euros in the Aguttes catalogue almost seems like a steal!