I would never consider myself a ‘petrol head’; a car enthusiast.
My first car was a mini – an original mini! Since then I’ve had a VW Beetle, a couple of Renault 5s (no longer in production) and more recently I’ve favoured VW Golfs. However, the car I’ve always longed to own is a 2CV !
It was originally intended to be a cheap country round-around for farmers, designed to be able to carry four people (or sheep) and a basket of eggs across a ploughed field without breaking any shells… or bones.
To me it has always been a ‘Symbol of France’. When I knew I would be living and working in France, I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to realise my dream of owning a 2CV. My mother, who thought they were a hideous and dangerous vehicle, described them as ‘baked bean tins on wheels’. Harsh, in my opinion. On reflection, I think she was more concerned about any potential safety issues.
Strangely, fate intervened in my car purchase prior to living in France. I had the opportunity to buy a left hand drive Renault 4 ( which was built as an answer to Citroen’s 2CV, and clearly it was influenced by that car). I knew the owners and, despite the rather dubious brown colour of the 4L, I knew it was at a too good a price to refuse. I duly purchased the Renault and named her ‘Mirabelle’! For the year I had her, she never let me down, taking me to Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and beyond! What she lacked in looks, she made up for in personality; from the dashboard mounted gearstick to the tendency to let in rain, around the feet, when it poured !
I still have a secret longing for a 2CV and I believe that nowadays one can have 2CV tours around Paris or hire a ‘deux chevaux’ in Provence. Watch this space…
Do you have a favourite French car? I’d love to know!
In the meantime, here’s a great clip which explains why Chris Harris (new Top Gear presenter) loves his 2CV: