A recollection by Stan Smith, Oak Hall PA…..

It was during the 1960’s that my passion for the French front-wheel-drive Citroën began. I had a few that were bought used from Penn State professors who had brought them to State College from Europe. One of my first Citroëns was the air-cooled two-cylinder model that was called the 2CV. When I read an advertisement in CARS & PARTS newsmagazine that there was a 2CV Truckette which was the station wagon version of the sedan I had been driving for a number of years, I had to buy it. At $99 I couldn’t pass it up.

The only problem was that the 2CV was in Paragold, Arkansas which was over 800 miles away. The owner told me that he had put new tires on it and the distance should not be a problem. So I bought a ticket to fly to meet the owner at a nearby airport and when we arrived at his home I began to wonder what did I get myself into.

A trial drive around the block convinced me that no way would this worn out machine get me back home. When I mentioned my concern the gentleman said he has another Citroën in which he had replaced the engine. It was the larger 4-cylinder model called the DS that made use of a hydraulic suspension. “For $300 you can have them both and just tow the 2CV home” was his suggestion. There was one problem, neither of us had a tow bar and if we did there really was no way to hook one up since both vehicles had independent suspension. After much thought, we came up with a solution.

We decided to use a heavy-duty chain to interconnect the bumpers of the cars together and to minimize the scruffing effect of the front wheels of the 2CV, first lower the DS all the way that the hydraulic suspension would allow. In that position it would allow the DS’s rear bumper to fit under the front bumper of the 2CV. Then the two were lashed together. When the DS was raised to its normal height the 2CV virtually had its front wheels off the ground.

The gentleman was so happy to see me leave, and my $300, he offered to let me use his Arkansas license plate….. Just be sure to mail it back to him were his last words.
I left just as it was getting dark, which meant I’d be driving all night. That actually was a good move since the highway police would have a hard time noticing this crazy land-train of vehicles speeding home to Penna!

By mid-morning the next day I was past Pittsburgh and made it to State College by 2 PM after having overheating of both of the DS ignition coils causing loss of power. Once home, I realized that I was a lucky person to have made the trip without any incident and to start using a trailer for bringing home any future treasure. Plus, I should think twice before going a third of the way across the USA for it.

7 comments

  1. I’m surprised the back bumper of the DS was able to support the weight of the 2CV. Probably not possible on the most of the DS over here these days with rust that has creeped in over the years!

  2. I honestly agree about the back bumper…..at that time I never had to operate on body work of DS Citroen’s. Later when I had to replace a bumper I saw what little held it in place!

    1. They must’ve hung the 2CVs front from the box section top lip of the trunk – there’s no way I can see that the DS bumper brackets could take that load, even as light as a Duck is!

      1. Hi Ken, I asked Stan about that. He said it was just strapped to the bumper, but added “ Later when I had to replace a bumper I saw what little held it in place!”

  3. Stan, did the 2CV’s back window slide open . Our family of 4 had one just like it from 1956-1964. Toured Europe in it at 40 mph 3 times. Have never seen a truckette like it since. Do you still have it ?

  4. , My mother drove a paper route in a 2CV just to make ends meet. That was 1960 and we needed every penny. The early DS had an external log manifold and the pair of coils were fired by a pair of points buried under the manifold.. In order to adjust the points one had to remove the intake manifold, A clever owner decided to cut off the intake to cylinder four so he could synchroznize the points without losing anti-freeze which warmed the 2-barrel Weber. The ID-19 of the time used a one barrel Solex, not much different than the carb on a common VW Bug.

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