Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The 2CV race that will not take your breath away

The 2CV race that will not take your breath away

Always capable of raising a smile if nothing else (rather unfairly, as I'm sure some owners would agree) the good old 2CV - Tin Snail, Garden-Shed-on-Wheels, call it what you will - is actually a jolly nice little car and a superb little French success story, having been produced continuously from 1948 until 1990. It is a marvel of simplicity and original design.

They're certainly unusual cars and not normally the sort of thing that would occur to someone as being a good vehicle to form the basis of a 24-hour endurance race. Stories abound of flexing body-shells causing doors to fly open unexpectedly and with their skinny tyres and soft, high-riding suspension (designed so that French farmers could drive across a ploughed field with a crate of eggs on the back seat and not break a single one) they don't exactly lend themselves to spirited driving!

However underneath that unmistakable exterior is some ingenious, quality (for the time) mechanicals that are easy to fix (and modify) and which are sturdy and hard-wearing, as they needed to be for the car's original purpose. Newer variants are also deceptively fast. I myself was once a passenger in a standard 1984 model which reached an indicated 90mph (I say "indicated"; the speedometer only goes up to 90mph and the needle was off the end, so it may even have been a little more! OK, there may have been a slight downward slope to the road and the wind behind us, but still...!). So while it may be slow compared to most racing events (and standard modern-day family cars if it comes to that) the unique qualities of the 2CV must make this a highly entertaining form of motorsport. I don't know that even I would want to watch it for 24 hours straight but nevertheless it does look like a lot of fun!

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