CITROEN: 1968 2 CV AZ
The 2 CV is perhaps the best known Citroen ever, it's certainly the most
produced Citroen although opinions differ about exact numbers. The 2 CV (= deux chevaux,
two horsepower, a name that indicated the power of the car according to the French tax
system) was designed in the thirties, hidden from the Germans during the Second World War
and introduced to the public for the first time on the sixth of October 1948 at the Paris
The 2 CV that was first introduced, the "A", was a very much modified version of the original minimalist concept. Although the car tended to look the same over the years it was actually constantly under development. The first major upgrade came in 1965 when the "AZ" was introduced: the looks were freshened up and the mechanics overhauled and updated. In 1971 the car got updated again, now called 2 CV 6 with square headlights and more engine power so it could keep up with the rest of the traffic.
In 1988 the French Citroen factory stopped the production of the 2 CV, not because of lack of interest but because it couldn't possibly comply with modern safety and environmental demands and legislation. In some factories overseas the car was kept in production until the early nineties.
The 2 CV has had a strong following from the first day it was introduced. You either loved the car or hated it. To the fans of the 2 CV it was the most affordable, easiest to maintain, comfortable and original means of transport. To the others it looked just like an umbrella on wheels with the engine of a coffee grinder or a lawn mower. Which brings us to the technical data of the 1968 2 CV AZ:
2 cylinder 4 stroke air-cooled, 425 cc displacement, 18 SAE hp @ 5000 rpm, compression ratio 7.5 to 1. Top speed: 95 kph. Gas consumption: 5 to 6 litre every 100 km.
TRANSMISSION AND CHASSIS:
4 gears forward, only 2nd, 3rd and 4th synchronized. Hydraulic drum brakes. Independent suspension lay-out with hydraulic shocks at the rear wheels.
Length: 386 cm, width: 148 cm and height 160 cm. Weight: 540 kg. Wheelbase: 240 cm. Trackwidth front & rear: 126 cm. Interior seats four adults.
The car had a linen roof that folded down to the bootlid. The suspension lay-out was designed for maximum comfort: it was advertised that a French peasant could drive over the rough rural roads with a basket of eggs on the front seat without breaking any. Downside: corners had to be taken cautious because of major body-roll (but it didn't tip over easily).
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