Instant Classic: Citroën 2CV Charleston 1980-90

Citroën built over five million 2CVs between 1949 and 1990. Still, it's fair to assume the majority of the examples surviving today were made in the 1980s, like the popular Charleston model.



The Charleston was a special-edition based on the 2CV6 Club, introduced in France in September of 1980. Outside, the 2CV Charleston was characterized by an eye-catching yet tasteful burgundy on black paint job inspired by the style of the late 1920s and early 1930s.

buyers snatched up the original series of 8000 cars so quickly that Citroën made the Charleston into a regular production model

Apart from the fancier exterior colors and nicer interior upholstery, nothing justified the Charleston's price premium over the standard Club model, but it didn't matter. Because buyers snatched up the original series of 8000 cars so quickly that Citroën made the Charleston into a regular production model by July of 1981.

That same year saw the last significant mechanical upgrade for the 2CV range, as front disc brakes finally replaced the drums on all versions.

The regular production Charlestons differed in a few details from the first batch of 8000 cars, chiefly the headlight housings chromed rather than painted, and the quilted gray cloth upholstery on the inside.

1982 saw the introduction of two new color variants for the Charleston, which had already become the most popular 2CV variant: a yellow over black that only lasted until 1983, and the two-tone gray.

One such Charleston would then be the very last 2CV ever produced, leaving the Mangualde factory on July the 27th, 1990.

The Portuguese factory had taken over 2CV production after the closure of the old Levallois factory near Paris put an end to 2CV production in France in 1988.

perhaps more importantly, in this day and age, the Citroën 2CV makes people smile as you pass by

Frankly, I feel sorry for those poor souls who can't appreciate these little cars, as they're actually great fun to drive, as long as you stay off motorways!

With a naught-to-sixty time of over thirty seconds but a legendarily tenacious road-holding, the 2CV is the definition of a "momentum" car.

To make swift progress, one has to concentrate on losing as little speed as possible and draw smooth trajectories in the bends, which is what good fast driving is all about! The 2CV is ideal for perfecting your driving technique and having a great time, without ever breaking the speed limit and using an unbelievably small amount of fuel to boot. Drive a 2CV as it wants you to do it, and it'll do 100 km with three liters, easy. Even the most efficient cars available today would struggle to achieve that.

But, perhaps more importantly, in this day and age, the Citroën 2CV makes people smile as you pass by. And that alone must count for something.


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