}Citroen Concours of America's

Citroen 2CV Buyers Guide


The following buyers guides are based on CCA's experience in 25 years of buying, selling, inspecting and repairing Citroens. The values listed are based on CCA's sales experience in Southern California - automobile prices can be very regional and therefor these values should only be used as a guide.

E-mail us at ruudman@citroen-ca.com if you feel we overlooked something that should be added to our buyers' guide.

From a Reader: "A quick note about my journey into Citroen ownership. I design online RPG games for a living, so my mechanical abilities and budget are about the same - limited. I love old, funky cars and have maintained my 1971 VW Beetle easily, but I was ready for a change. I've always been fond of the 2CVs because they're so unique. Thanks to this buyer's guide, I was able to learn that these cars, considering their rarity and age, are fairly inexpensive. I was able to quickly learn what to look for (and what to avoid) when purchasing and discovered that these fairly simple machines were well within my shade-tree mechanic ability. I purchased a solid, well maintained driver and never looked back! It makes my poor bug seem so plain and boring. Everyone knows what a bug looks like but I never tire of the second looks and people pointing in excitement as I cruise down the road in my 2CV. The comments I've received are almost as much fun as the car itself!

 If you're considering dipping your toes into the classic car world, you can't go wrong with a good 2CV."

Conceived in 1936, the 2CV was built in prototype form before the Second world war. Although 250 of these prototypes were built prior to the 1939 Paris Auto Show, the war intervened and all but two of them were scrapped to avoid having them fall in German hands. The 2CV eventually reached production in 1949 although only 924 were built that year. Since then some seven million 2CVs and 2CV variations have been produced.

The first 2CVs, designated 'A' series, had a 375cc engine and were rated at two horsepower on the French fiscal rating (hence its name 2CV or 'two horses'). It had such features as a canvas roof, running from the windshield to the rear bumper (forming the trunklid as well as the roof) and just two instruments: a speedometer and an ammeter. It was available in only one color, an aluminum grey.
Over the years. the 2CV slowily evolved to its present-day form. In 1954 it got the 425cc engine, in 1957 the metal trunk lid, in 1959 it offered a wider range of body colors, and received a third side window in 1965. The changes were hardly distinguishable from one year to the next. But a comparison between a 1989 2CV with its forty-year-old predecessor makes the newer 2CV seem almost luxurious. Fortunately, the 2CV hasn't lost any of its character and appeal along the way.

To help you identify a good 2CV from a bad one we have created the following buying guide.

Engine:

The first models (those with the 375cc and the 425cc engines) are extremely slow: the top speed barely exceeded 40mph. Also some parts for the early engines, such as crankshafts, can be difficult to find. The engines themselves are remarkably sturdy; some have surpassed a 100,000 miles with little mechanical attention.

1. Check the compression. It should be fairly even in the 80 to 105 range.
2. Check for oil leaks especially around the front and rear of the engine. These might indicate leaky crankshaft seals - keeping the oil topped off is essential as the it holds little more than 2 quarts. Ignoring an oil leak could quickly lead to an engine overhaul - about $1,500 to $2.000.
3. Check the condition of the cooling fan. A fan with missing or broken blades won't cool efficiently. This can be disastrous on the 2CV's air-cooled motor.

Transmission:

1.
Check that the clutch functions properly. Also check the amount of adjustment still left on the adjustment screw. The screw is located at the end of the fork at the top of the transmission bell housing. If the screw is turned out about 1 1/2 inches or more than you can expect a clutch repIacement.
2. Drive the car and shift it through all the gears. Make sure the transmission shifts smoothly. The second and third gear synchromesh are usually the first to wear. Transmission overhauls can be expensive (anywhere from $1,200 to $2,000) especially on older models.
3. Check for play on the driveshafts. Open the hood, engage the handbrake, and rock the car back and forth while watching the shafts. Very little movement should be visible.

Brakes:


1. If possible, drive the car in an empty parking lot and test the brakes in an semi-emergency stop. If the brakes shudder or pull to one side then the front brakes will need attention or, at the very least an adjustment. Also check the front brake cylinders for leakage.
2. Check the rear brake cylinders for leakage and proper operation. If the rear brakes don't seem to function properly than be aware that they will need to be worked on by someone who has special 2CV-only tools.

Exhaust:

1. Exhaust systems are relatively inexpensive and easy to replace. Check for unnecessay welding which might increase repair cost.

Body:

Although rust on the 2CV's thin sheet metal can be a problem it is usually easily remedied. Most of the doors, fenders, etc can be removed in seconds and are readily available. Only the pre-1960 currogated hoods and the suicide-opening front doors of the early 2CVs are unavailable, difficult to find in good used condition and expensive to repair if damaged or rusted.

1. Check for body rust near the bottom of the front doors where the front fenders bolt on.
2. Check for rust near the rear taillights. On later models dirt and moisture will get trapped underneath them.
3. Most importantly, check for rust in the floorboards. Take time to lift the carpets and look underneath them. Also, look under the car to check the frame rails. The floorboards themselves can be replaced as long the frame structure is intact.

 

Now that you have a pretty good idea what to look for, let's try to determine your 2CV's worth. Keep in mind that this is not a complete guide for the 2CV as only the most common 2CVs for North America are listed. We tried to make the following chart as accurate as possible, however prices should only be used as a general guide.

We use the following rating system to figure out in which category your car falls:

'Parts Car' Not running, incomplete, and unrestorable due to rust.
'Restorable' Probably doesn't run but car is complete and can be restored.
'Fair' Car is complete and runnable but needs a lot of work.
'Good' Car is regularly maintained but could use some upgrading.
'Excellent' Car is in near-showroom condition.


Parts Car

Restorable

Fair

Good

Excellent

 pre-1960 2CV

 $100 to
$500

  $500 to
$2,000

 $2,000 to
$5,000

 $5,000 to
$8,000

 $8,000 to
$12,000

 '60-'71 2CV (425cc models)

 $100 to $500

 $500 to $1,500

 $1,500 to $4,000

 $4,000 to $7,000

 $7,000 to $10,000

 2CV4 (435cc models)

 $100 to $800

 $800 to $2,000

 $2,000 to $5,000

 $5,000 to $7,000

 $7,000 to $10,000

 2CV6 (602cc models)

 $100 to $1,000

 $1,000 to $2,500

 $2,500 to $5,500

 $5,500 to $8,000

 $8,000 to $12,000

 2CV6 Charleston, Dolly, Etc

 $100 to $1,000

 $1,000 to $3,000

 $3,000 to $6,000

 $6,000 to $9,000

 $9,000 to $15,000

 2CV 4x4 Sahara

 $1,000 to $3,000

 $3,000 to $7,000

 $7,000 to $11,000

 $11,000 to $17,000

 $17,000 to $25,000

Optional Equipment:
Trunk opening kit (add $250), hitch (add $150), Robri trim ($250)

-back to top-

 Best viewed with Netscape
© 2001 Citroën Concours of America