Why is it that some 2CV’s from the mid-1970’s and 80’s have square headlights? If square lights were supposed to be more modern illumination units, why do the later models have round headlights?
Much discussed, much confusion. According to Fabien Sabates in “Le Guide de la 2CV”: “All 2CVs received square headlights as of September 1974 (model year 1975). In September of 1975 (model year 1976) Citroën introduced the Special, a bare bones car without the 3rd rear side window, and round headlights. The other models retained the square headlights. In September of 1978 (model year 1979), the Special regained the 3rd rear side window, but kept the round headlights. The 2CV “Confort” is now renamed 2CV Club, and retains the square headlights. September 1980 (model year 1981) sees the introduction of the two tone Charleston model. The trim level is “Club”, but round headlights are installed. All other Club models soldier forth with square headlights. The Specials and their derivatives retain the round units. As production begins to wind down, the model range is simplified. In July of 1987 (model year 1988) the Club model with its square headlights is discontinued. Only the Special and the Charleston remain in production, both with round headlights, until the final curtain falls at 4:00 PM on July 27, 1990 (model year 1991)”.
Citroën’s savings with lower cost to produce the round units probably explains their use from 1987 until the end of 2CV production.
In some cases people have retrofitted square headlights on models that had round ones. (Especially if they want to look like the James Bond 2CV in the movie ‘For Your Eyes Only’.) But more likely people have switched out the squares for the round. Arguably the round headlights are cuter and better suit the overall curvy lines of the car.
UPDATE & CORRECTION:
Gert Bue Larsen offers a correction to what Fabien Sabates states in “Le Guide de la 2CV”. Gert writes:
“The Club model was not discontinued in July 1987. It switched to round headlights for model year 1988, and remained in production in France until the very last day at Levallois. I bought myself in Denmark a brand new 1988 2CV6 Club with round headlights, and I was present on the last two production days at Levallois (Friday, February 26 and Monday, February 29, 1988) at Levallois, seeing numerous Club models rolling out of the plant.”
Gert further says: “I also toured the Mangualde plant in May 1990 shortly before the production ceased, and I can report that the entire 2CV range was still being manufactured – Spécial, Club, and Charleston – all with round headlights. According to my photos and notes from 1990, I saw Spécial and Charleston for France+Belgium, Club and Charleston for W. Germany, Spécial and Charleston for UK, and Club for Portugal (the latter with a particular seat fabric and foldable rear seat).”