Al Johnson
Al Johnson
Managing Broker, Windermere Real Estate Mount Baker
4919 South Genesee Street Seattle, WA 98118  |  Direct: 206-595-6000  |  Office: 206-725-7255  |  Email:

 It's a Citroen 2CV, or Deux Chevaux

Imagine this scene: it's 1962, and I'm 16 and car crazy. My friend Mark's father returns from a summer trip to France with a car that looks like a VW Beetle made with an Erector set, and I am smitten. It's a Citroen 2CV, ungainly and ridiculously underpowered, and we have a blast driving the back roads of northern Westchester County, New York.

Fast-forward to 2003. I'm surfing eBay and discover that several people around the country are importing and selling old 2CVs. Most of the cars have serious rust problems, even if they're cosmetically attractive. But there's one couple, Axel and Uschi, who really restore the cars from the ground up-- and they're in Seattle! Several visits and a year later, I'm the proud owner of the car you see above, a beautiful and lightly used 1974 Charleston model. If it's a sunny day, you're likely to see me driving it-- joyrides cheerfully given, if you're intrigued.

Fact sheet: These cars were made in France between 1948 and 1990. Two-cylinder air-cooled engine, 602 cc, 28 horsepower. Weight just over 1300 lbs (even the tiny Smart Car weighs over 1900), capable of highway speeds if not jackrabbit starts. Vinyl & canvas top rolls back to the rear window. Astonishingly comfortable ride. When Automobile Magazine recently made their list of the "100 coolest cars" of all time, the 2CV was #38.

Special thanks to Uschi for her sketch of the car.

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