I hear you thinking: What kind of weird home-built thing is that. Well, it’s Citroën 2CV-based, clearly. And home-built isn’t that strange of a thought actually. This is a 1953 Citroën 2CV Barbot Spéciale. And Pierre Barbot was just a student physical chemistry when, fascinated by (race-) cars, he made this one.
At first people thought Pierre was a mad man. Because he used such simple technical parts to create this barquette (small boat/container): that 375cc small French car created for farmers to be able to transport at least one... Goat.
But his choice wasn’t that ridiculous: Parts were easy to get, parts were cheap and it was proven technology when it comes to durability. There was a problem though: the 2CV was dead-slow.
Proper preparations and development (it took Barbot over 2 years to create the “first” one) created a car that was extremely light and aerodynamic. The Barbot Spéciale was a roofless roadster for the track that came as a surprise to many. And that surprise was complete when the 19 year old Jean Vinatier took the class-win in the prestigious Bol d’Or in 1953.
That was the last year this 24 hrs race was driven by 1 (ONE!!!) driver. So quite impressive. The engine was decreased a little to be able to compete in the FIA J (<350cc) class. The bonnet was lowered, as were many other things. It’s chassis was shortened with 25 cm’s, creating lesser ride height in the process.
And do you recognize those doors? They’re from a... 2CV! But the rear ones. And a bit lowered of course. Only the wings kept their original form, but with integrated headlights, obviously to reduce drag. And after the success at the Bol d’Or Barbot teamed up with oil company Yacco. To go for some other victories. Of some worldrecords.
So at the 27th of September 1953 the Yacco Bardot Spéciale went to the Mothlérie track once again (the Bol d’Or was held over there that year as well) and got him some worldrecords. And “Some” might be a bit of an understatement. They got 9 (nine!). Can’t figure out which they all got but two are worth mentioning: 12 hours at 90.9 kph (56.5 mph) and 24 hours at 85 kph (52.8 mph). On average.
There are some mysteries about this car though. Some say it was just one car. Some say it was two. Prove for this was supposed to be the fact that pictures of both events show different license-plates. But one of those pictures shows a special (different from the model you’ve seen thus far) licenseplate:
“WO”. These were special plates for prototypes so not directly connected to a chassis. So it probably was just one and the same car. That’s what the magazine that comes with the model says as well: only one made. There have been built lots of replicas over the years, the whereabouts of the original car is unknown, probably scrapped.
The model itself is a Norev 1/43. There was a gigantic series of 2cv’s spéciale a while back and recently I obtained a few. So some more will come by, just the interesting ones (to me) of course.
C’est ca! Take care and Bon Week-end!