The 2CV had a blaze of activity in January, attending two events in the Abergavenny area, and ending up quite badly broken after both of them. First, the exhaust crossbox failed, then next time out the swan neck disintegrated. New parts were fitted and the 2cV then had very little use. In fact, the further it travelled for some time was when I took it to Hereford for some fettling.
It came back transformed and when the BX was ruled out as it’s not fixed yet, the 2cV was the only vehicle to take the Pride of Longbridge in Birmingham. That was a 210 mile round-trip and it was completed today without so much as a minor grumble – which is good as I didn’t take any tools. The weather was lovely to start with, turning to rain later in the day and reminding me that the leak situation is really not good. Fortunately I was wearing walking boots, so my feet didn’t get wet.
I can’t post any pics up of the event yet, in case it turns out that I can use said pictures to earn money. It would have been sensible to take some photos of the 2CV on its grand day out, but sensible didn’t happen.
You’ll have to make do with this photo, stolen from a friend, who happened to pass where I’d parked up in Longbridge earlier today.
Driving long distance in a 2CV can be a bit of a shock to the system. I reckon I nudged a genuine 70mph at one point on the M6 (near the M5 interchange – an astonishing result in any car!) which equates to 5000rpm. That creates a lot of engine and transmission noise but it’s nothing compared to the wind noise. The Ami felt almost silent by comparison. With folding, two-part side windows, a vent flap that doesn’t quite seem to fit below the windscreen, a hideously un-aerodynamic roof just above the windscreen and doors that flap above 60mph, it’s hardly serene.
It is comfortable though and, with a bit of thought, not too stressful – other idiots permitting. I got off quite lightly today. People can get rather upset when overtaken by a 2CV – presumably people with a problem in the trouser department. They either refuse to let you overtake by accelerating, or come flying past you moments later to try and prove to the world that trouser inadequacy isn’t a problem. As if people judge that by whether you let a rather feminine little car overtake you.
Mind you, I have been spoilt lately. The BX does a rather more gentle 2600rpm at motorway speeds, and wind noise is vastly quieter. I can actually listen to a stereo. I can keep it at 70mph no matter what nature hurls at me in terms of headwind and gradient too. I just put my foot down a bit more and allow the turbo to keep things moving.
Today was all about remembering that a 2CV is just as capable really. It may be a humble farmer’s wagon, but it’ll hurtle along motorways readily, and be surprisingly comfortable while it does it. I also had great fun taking some twistier roads on the way back. Few cars are such fun at entirely legal speeds.
It was proof that a properly sorted 2CV really is a marvellous thing.