1987 Citroen 2CV Bamboo from UK and Ireland


Ever been rolled down a hill in a dustbin? I love it really


I rebuilt the car myself out of two cars, so when I got it nothing worked.

Running gear will go on forever. Bodyshell rusts to powder instantly, important to stay on top of it.

Electrics have a mind of their own but easily accessible and fixable.

General Comments:

Awful yet brilliant at the same time. You must be an enthusiast to own one now. Will be reliable as an only car used daily but best as a Sunday car.

The car is flimsy, slow (unless you give it a bootful, and then when you do it's not very economical). It leaks on your feet when it rains, it goes round corners superbly, but throws you out of the car while doing so.

They cost the earth to buy now unless you rebuild one yourself, which is actually fairly expensive too.

The car steams up when it rains, is freezing when its cold, noisy on motorways, doors don't seal and flap about at speed. The floor rusts through in a matter of months, any second hand part you buy has the same problem, the wipers don't remove rain from the screen.

But I still continue to keep one as a second car. Why? I don't even know either. It's fantastic, has a certain, how the French would say Je ne sais quoi. Everything about it is fun. It's the most fun you can have in a car without losing your license. You can drive it flat out knowing the engine will never give up, and it will never go out of control, though perhaps occasional slight understeer. 50mph feels like 100.

Girls love it, people will stop to talk to you at the petrol station. Middle-aged boring people seem to get angry at the sight of it. Quick off the mark in 1st, top speed is 85mph, downhill, with a tail wind. The car will always get you there, though not always with all parts still attached. All parts though are still available, most expensive job is a replacement chassis at £600, which instantly ups the cars value by about this much.

Does it matter if it looks ugly? I think it looks quirky, different, anythings better than another Fiesta, Corsa or what have you.

Want one? Go for a ride in one before you commit. That'll decide whether you love it or hate it. Ride seems like the opposite to an old mini. If you're not good with mechanics spend the money on a good one, rather than having an average one repaired. 2cv Mechanics however are about. Join the 2cvGB club.

They make a fantastic first car, unless you intend on crashing it, because that would probably kill you. Safer than two-wheels though. As an only car though, having experienced bigger and better cars (speaking from experience), the novelty wears off and you want your big comfy modern warm car back.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd July, 2009

1987 Citroen 2CV Charleston 602cc flat-twin air-cooled beast from UK and Ireland


Who needs a modern Eurobox when you can drive a 2CV?


Starter died. Fortunately, it sat right on top of the engine so replacement was a ten-minute job.

The fuse to the alternator would blow after making three left turns in a row, leaving the battery dead in no short order. Tracked it down to indicator repeater light wiring in the front wing shorting out against the metal. Electrical tape took care of that one.

The lead from the aerial to the radio rotted out. Not the mounting point: the actual cabling inside the lead. Replaced it and was soon enjoying longwave in all its crackly monophonic glory once again.

Succumbed to terminal chassis rust after I moved to the US. A sad end for a much-loved car.

General Comments:

What a fantastic vehicle. Still to this day, hands-down the best car I have ever owned.

It was slow and underpowered.

It was basic to the point of not quite being able to be described as 'spartan'.

It was either really ugly or really beautiful depending on your point of view. I'm in the latter camp on this one.

It also got 40mpg, handled and rode brilliantly, was a hoot to drive (you haven't experienced body roll until you've flogged a 2CV HARD down a twisty road), could go anywhere, carry anything, be driven with the roof fully-open on a nice summer's day or if you needed to transport something oversized, and would never fail to make passers-by smile.

Noisy? Absolutely. Flimsy? Nope, it was light. Basic? Definitely, but never uncomfortable or difficult to live with. It had everything you need in a faithful, honest, fun vehicle - plus character by the bucketload. It's a pity that Citroen isn't making a modern 2CV: given how faceless and anonymous all modern hatchbacks have become, there's plenty of room in the market for another unique and endearing eccentric.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd October, 2006