SORRY NOW SOLD – SIMILAR WANTED
A rare and magnifique 1958 Citroen 2CV AZU Fourgonnette.
Conceived by an extraordinary design brief by Citroen MD Pierre-Jules Boulanger in 1936 to enable four farmers to drive 50 kg of farm goods to market at 31mph in and across muddy unpaved roads if necessary. The car would use no more than 3 litres of fuel to travel 100 km (78 mpg). Most famous, was the requirement be able to drive across a ploughed field while carrying eggs without breaking them! The TPV (Toute Petite Voiture – Very Small Car) project was abandoned in September 1939 when the French government declared war on Germany. Finally revealed in 1948 the Deux Chevaux was an instant commercial success with a five-year waiting list and second-hand Tin Snails costing more than new ones! Numerous variants of the 2CV in its 42-year production run included the AZU Fourgonnette (Van) which was a familiar sight for many years and commonly used by the French Post Office ‘La Poste’ and EDF (Électricité de France).
Steel corrugated body panels, twin side-hinged rear doors, rear hinged side doors with openers, spare wheel compartment, rear grab handles, triple side rear glass panes, nearside door mirror, steel slatted grille with chevon emblem, mudguard flaps, one rear light, side repeaters, rear reflectors, removable seats, batterie gauge, headlamp adjustment control knob, pull starter, choke, column mounted Jaeger speedometer with gear change markings, horn, speedometer driven wipers with manual override, scuttle ventilator, sun visors, rear view mirror.
Wonderfully simplistic this 2CV AZU Fourgonnette A-Series has had a full restoration which can be seen from every angle. Correct to the original factory build, virtually every body panel bar the front wings, front doors and A-panels have the corrugated construction which was an ingenious design by Citroen to add strength to allow ultra-thin steel for weight saving purposes. A spotless underside reveals perfect structural integrity and the Grey bodywork looks fantastic with some markings, touched in scratches, and imperfections but far superior to most commercial vehicles. The obvious build methods falling far short of modern-day manufacturing excellence, verging on the hilarious, just as they rolled off the production line! The one tail light and rear reflectors resonate with a simpler motoring era designed for the masses and suicide doors enable easy access. The six side windows were a feature of many ‘Weekend’ conversions and the original GLAQauto Securite etched panes remain with new rubbers fitted. The grille logo comprising the famous chevrons and single door mirror remain intact. A truly delightful example of this Gallic icon.
Utilitarian brilliance is demonstrated everywhere from the surprisingly comfortable removable seats with tubular steel frames and rubber band springing to the cable/hand operated windscreen wipers! The Jaeger batterie gauge still functions as does Veglia speedometer. The grey steering wheel is correct for a post 1957 vehicle as is the presence of a speedometer light for post 1954 and side repeater post 1955 production. The rubber mat is easily lifted allowing all laid bare metal flooring to be visible thus revealing the quality workmanship below. The Fourgonnette cargo area is finished to the same exterior standard as is the clever side compartment containing the spare wheel. A most intelligent application of minimalism in vehicle design, or more simply, a brilliantly method of transporting one’s baguette, wine and cheese!
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
The air-cooled, flat-twin, four-stroke 425cc engine is the original factory unit as fitted to this 1958-year model complete with AZU stamped engine plate with number clearly legible. The wonderfully clean engine has block stampings as well as the original numbered chassis plate which again corresponds with a 1958 AZU Fourgonnette. Prime the carburettor and the engine thrums into life at the pull of the switch and settles to a surprisingly smooth idle ready to exploit the ferocious 12.5hp performance! The transmission is dash mounted and has fours speeds which are easy to use once the uniqueness is familiarised.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
Five correct grey steel wheels support expensive Michelin 135R 400 tyres all round with masses of tread and no cracks. The front inboard drum brakes and rear drums make this car slightly slower than the speed it eventually reaches.
A copy of the Certificat D’Immatriculation (registration certificate) confirms first registration in the Billy Commune in the Allier Department, Central France on the 21st March 1958. The first registered owner was an Andre Fillion whose profession was very fittingly noted as a Cultivateur (Farmer)! The car remained in France for over 60 years and following a full restoration it was imported to the UK by the only UK owner, a gentleman also fittingly named Mr French! This 2CV is fully UK registered as a Historic Vehicle but prior to leaving France it was fully restored by Mark Griffin who has been a 2CV restoration specialist for over 40 years and is well known to the Citroen Car Club and 2CVGB. Highly respected and well-known within the 2CV fraternity, Mr Griffin is enthusiastically applauded by the UK’s leading Citroen Guru and Chairman of 2CVGB. Photographs of the restoration are held in the history file.
The current owner, Mr French, sourced the car from Mark Griffin in 2018 having searched for a long time for the right vehicle. Mr French had always wanted a 2CV Fourgonnette having had fond memories of childhood holidays to Northern France where these vans were a common sight, many in Grey! Wanting to concentrate on his motorbike collection, Mr French having now scratched his Fourgonnette itch has decided to sell the vehicle to the next lucky custodian who will certainly appreciate this magnifique example.