When I was writing my piece on the 2CV Barbot Spéciale I ran into a guy selling a lot of his Hachette (Norev/Universal Hobbies actually produced ‘m) 2CV’s. Still high on that Barbot I had to get ‘m. At least all the interesting ones. Among them the first Prototype that was somewhat documented, known as the Terrasson 2CV amongst Citroën-people.
Somewhat documented because it’s actually a bit of a mess when it comes to info on these. There was a projet TPV, for Toute Petite Voiture or Very Small Car, started before WWII, in 1935. But, as Citroën was really busy cleaning up the mess the 1934 introduction of the Traction Avant had created (lot’s of redesigns were needed), it was mainly a theoretical exertion.
And some of these theories were about using light weight materials. Like an aluminium body. As, Citroën expected, this light material of the future would soon be as cheap as steel. Of course it did not in the end but it shows how Citroën was being innovative. As always.
Using 1 headlight was such a thing as well, although this “innovation” was mainly to reduce costs. As it was supposed to be in some sort of Microcar-class there simply wasn’t needed more then one. And what better place to mount it than in the center of the car? It proved to be very, very wrong.
Why? I’ll come to that. There is not much known about the first 2CV prototype shown here. All we know is from one picture a former test-engineer took while on duty. And the details he shared with us. His name: Pierre Terrasson. Because all three prototypes (one of ‘m with a 800cc 4-cylinder engine that was very hard to handle according to Pierre) were destroyed just before the Germans invaded France in 1945. Here’s the only known picture of it:
Test driving on public roads only took place during the night because Citroën wanted the upmost secrecy for their TPV. And during those nightly trips the engineers found out one important thing: Oncoming traffic thought there was a motorcycle heading towards them with that single headlight and the centered position led to all kind of awkward situations and near misses. So, with the final pre-production cars from ‘39, only to be found in 1994 (!!!), the headlight’s position was moved to the driver’s side. But that’s for another French Friday.
So with no 1:1 or detailed plans on this one whatsoever it’s amazing how Norev got this one. Actually, there has been created a 1:1 replica by Jacques Lorion from the French Bretagne region. It took him 4 years to create it and it did, just like the original, only get to 70 km/h. The original prototype had a water-cooled 375cc engine, can’t imagine Jacques to come up with such an engine as well for his replica...
That flat twin was extremely powerful: 9hp. And although those initial 2CV only weighed around four hundred (400!!!!) kgs it never was quick of course. The 3-speed didn’t help either with all that torque. It came with 4 drum brakes and had independent suspension on all 4 wheels.
I really love the fact Hachette made this collection of 2CV’s as it really tells us the amazing history of the 2CV. Initially the collection was supposed to consist of 105 editions, ranging from this Terrasson prototype to the Méhari and the 2CV that re-did the Paris-Beijing race. And each was accompanied with a small magazine with info on the model and the 2CV in general.
But in the end Hachette did 5 2CV’s extra so the complete collection would have 110 models. I only have 18. I got a lot to look out for...
C’est ca! I’ll certainly show more of these in the future, if there’s any interest of course. It certainly opened my eyes: I did not know there were this many different 2CV’s in the first place. Bon Week-End!