Michel Robillard is a retired Frenchman and a cabinet-maker by profession since the age of 14. He shares two passions, wood and cars and, it would seem, a true love of the 2CV.
Robillard started his project six years ago with a 1953 2CV and a variety of woods. “Pear for the frame, apple for the hood, walnut for wings and steering wheel, cherry for the doors and trunk and mangy elm for the dashboard” says Michel Robillard.
There are 22 sections to the hood alone and the finishing touches were done with wooden scissors and sandpaper.
And because the wood is heavier than steel, a 1966 Dyane 6 chassis supports the body, isolated by a thermal protection layer. Power comes from a late model 602cc engine.
While the headlights and wheels and original, even the hubcaps are made of wood, as are the bench seats which have comfortable cushions.
Robillard has worked many long hours to construct this remarkable 2CV. More than fifteen development models reside on the shelves of his workshop-museum in the middle of the fields near Loches (Indre-et-Loire) along with countless trophies won at modelling shows throughout France and abroad. Since the late 1990s, he has been producing amazing 1/10 scale models all in Touraine fruit wood: Renault 4 CV, 1949 Volkswagen Beetle, Auburn popularized by American actor Clark Gable, Lincoln, an a 1936 Bugatti Royale.
There are other wooden accomplishments like his Harley Davidson with a sidecar that he takes pride in showing. It was awarded the gold medal at the model show in Paris in 2004, rewarding more than 500 hours of work. “Just to make a walnut wheel, and its pear rim, it takes a day’s work! I always look for trouble. On the motorcycle wheels I make double shelves on rims of 20 millimeters,” he confides.
He has on display an impressive American truck of more than a thousand pieces, of which 150 are under the hood alone requiring one year of work. And then there’s the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher which will soon join the Maranello Museum in Italy.
For now though Robillard’s focus is on the 2CV. He expects it to pass a roadworthy check in a few weeks. He has already been approached with offers to buy. For now though he says he has no desire to sell. “I wanted to make an object that remains after me. I would like this car to be exhibited one day in an art gallery.” says Robillard.
He also dreams that his vehicle may one day be featured in a commercial or in a feature film. But not a remake of Griard Oury’s Le Corniaud where a 2CV meets it’s end by crashing into crates in a town square.
Photos courtesy of: Guillaume Souvant
Source: Ouest France
UPDATE: Here is a video of Michel Robillard actually driving (and immensely enjoying) the car: https://www.facebook.com/dw.euromaxx/videos/1609811692373073/?hc_ref=ARQBNJ73hsJK6DLU2Vabp-I_rjGrbNS3GCwdbTZV7lqQQiGnIsw-ozAwtE9guj792-o&pnref=story
Ah, machine translators! Mangy elm caught my eye, and then wooden scissors. Mangy probably should have been spalted, but maybe not. Wooden scissors derived from scie, or saw? Come to think of it, how about a scie-saw for planks to play on in the workshop?
Back in the day, circa 1920, lovely wood plank body panels appeared on racy cars here and there, and even in more recent times, steam-bent and laminated curved parts. We seem to hold on to the arboreal heritage, even if it’s only a little patch of burl (burr to you Britspeakers, I think), on the dash.