1971 Citroen Hoffman 2CV Cabriolet (LHD)
Conceived by Citroën’s boss Pierre Boulanger as form of cheap mass transportation in the 1930s, development of the 2CV was interrupted by the Second World War and it wasn’t until the 1948 Paris Motor Show that the French public finally got see the remarkable new Deux Chevaux in all its glory. Characterised by distinctive corrugated body panels and a roll-back sunshine roof (to improve load carrying), the 2CV featured a minimalist interior, complete with unique hammock-style seats. Powering the Deux Chevaux was a tough little 375cc flat-twin driving the rear wheels through a four-speed gearbox, with simple but effective independent suspension all round. Early cars were available in any colour - so long as it was matt grey. After going on sale in 1949, production could barely keep up with demand and by 1952 there was an 18-month waiting list, underscoring the 2CV’s undeniable popularity. Citroën gradually rolled out a series of improvements, with the option of a more powerful 425cc version, the AZ, offered alongside the original Type A from 1954. A centrifugal clutch that automatically disengaged at low revs made city driving much easier was a welcome modification and for those wanting a few more creature comforts, the AZL of 1956 offered a heater and a demister. It took until 1959 for Citroën to extend the colour range beyond the basic grey, with Glacier Blue joined by a more extensive palette the following year. In December 1960 the 2CV underwent its first major facelift, with the bonnet and grille both revised and more comfortable seats inside. As time went by, the engine grew in both capacity (now 602cc) and power output, the bodywork underwent further subtle changes (smooth panels, front-hinged doors, six-light windows etc.), the electrics switched to 12-volt system and front disc brakes were standardised in September 1981. When the last 2CV rolled off the production line in 1990, total production – with offshoots like the Dyane and Mehari taken into account – exceeded an extraordinary 8.8 million units and it remains a distinctively different classic car today with a cult following around the world.