Citroen 2CV Buyers Guide
The following buyers guides are based on Rudy Heilig's experience in
of buying, selling, inspecting and repairing Citroens. The values listed
are based his sales experience in Southern California - automobile
prices can be very regional and therefor these values should only be used
as a guide.
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you feel we overlooked something that should be added to our buyers'
Conceived in 1936, the 2CV was built in prototype form before the Second
world war. Although 250 of these prototypes were built prior to the 1939
Paris Auto Show, the war intervened and all but two of them were scrapped
to avoid having them fall in German hands. The 2CV eventually reached production
in 1949 although only 924 were built that year. Since then some seven million
2CVs and 2CV variations have been produced.
The first 2CVs, designated 'A' series, had a 375cc engine and were rated
at two horsepower on the French fiscal rating (hence its name 2CV or 'two
horses'). It had such features as a canvas roof, running from the windshield
to the rear bumper (forming the trunklid as well as the roof) and just two
instruments: a speedometer and an ammeter. It was available in only one
color, an aluminum grey.
Over the years. the 2CV slowily evolved to its present-day form. In
1954 it got the 425cc engine, in 1957 the metal trunk lid, in 1959 it offered
a wider range of body colors, and received a third side window in 1965.
The changes were hardly distinguishable from one year to the next. But a
comparison between a 1989 2CV with its forty-year-old predecessor makes
the newer 2CV seem almost luxurious. Fortunately, the 2CV hasn't lost any
of its character and appeal along the way.
To help you identify a good 2CV from a bad one we have created the following
The first models (those with the 375cc and the 425cc engines) are extremely
slow: the top speed barely exceeded 40mph. Also some parts for the early
engines, such as crankshafts, can be difficult to find. The engines themselves
are remarkably sturdy; some have surpassed a 100,000 miles with little mechanical
1. Check the compression. It should be fairly
even in the 80 to 105 range.
2. Check for oil leaks especially around the
front and rear of the engine. These might indicate leaky crankshaft seals
- keeping the oil topped off is essential as the it holds little more than
2 quarts. Ignoring an oil leak could quickly lead to an engine overhaul
- about $1,500 to $2.000.
3. Check the condition of the cooling fan.
A fan with missing or broken blades won't cool efficiently. This can be
disastrous on the 2CV's air-cooled motor.
1. Check that the clutch functions properly. Also check the amount
of adjustment still left on the adjustment screw. The screw is located at
the end of the fork at the top of the transmission bell housing. If the
screw is turned out about 1 1/2 inches or more than you can expect a clutch
2. Drive the car and shift it through all the
gears. Make sure the transmission shifts smoothly. The second and third
gear synchromesh are usually the first to wear. Transmission overhauls can
be expensive (anywhere from $1,200 to $2,000) especially on older models.
3. Check for play on the driveshafts. Open
the hood, engage the handbrake, and rock the car back and forth while watching
the shafts. Very little movement should be visible.
1. If possible, drive the car in an empty parking
lot and test the brakes in an semi-emergency stop. If the brakes shudder
or pull to one side then the front brakes will need attention or, at the
very least an adjustment. Also check the front brake cylinders for leakage.
2. Check the rear brake cylinders for leakage
and proper operation. If the rear brakes don't seem to function properly
than be aware that they will need to be worked on by someone who has special
1. Exhaust systems are relatively inexpensive and easy to replace. Check
for unnecessay welding which might increase repair cost.
Although rust on the 2CV's thin sheet metal can be a problem it is usually
easily remedied. Most of the doors, fenders, etc can be removed in seconds
and are readily available. Only the pre-1960 currogated hoods and the suicide-opening
front doors of the early 2CVs are unavailable, difficult to find in good
used condition and expensive to repair if damaged or rusted.
1. Check for body rust near the bottom of
the front doors where the front fenders bolt on.
2. Check for rust near the rear taillights.
On later models dirt and moisture will get trapped underneath them.
3. Most importantly, check for rust in the
floorboards. Take time to lift the carpets and look underneath them. Also,
look under the car to check the frame rails. The floorboards themselves
can be replaced as long the frame structure is intact.
Now that you have a pretty good idea what to look for, let's try to determine
your 2CV's worth. Keep in mind that this is not a complete guide for the
2CV as only the most common 2CVs for North America are listed. We tried
to make the following chart as accurate as possible, however prices should
only be used as a general guide.
We use the following rating system to figure out in which category your
'Parts Car' Not running,
incomplete, and unrestorable due to rust.
doesn't run but car is complete and can be restored.
'Fair' Car is
complete and runnable but needs a lot of work.
'Good' Car is
regularly maintained but could use some upgrading.
is in near-showroom condition.
| pre-1960 2CV
|| $100 to
| $2,000 to
| $4,000 to
| $8,000 to
| $12,000 to |
| '60-'71 2CV (425cc models)
|| $100 to $1,000
|| $1,000 to
|| $2,500 to
|| $5,500 to
|| $9,000 to
| 2CV4 (435cc models)
|| $500 to $1,200
|| $1,200 to
|| $3,000 to
|| $6,000 to
|| $10,000 to
| 2CV6 (602cc models)
|| $500 to $1,500
|| $1,500 to
|| $3,500 to
|| $7,000 to
|| $12,000 to
| 2CV6 Charleston, Dolly, Etc
|| $1,000 to
|| $2,000 to
|| $4,000 to
|| $8,000 to
|| $14,000 to
| 2CV 4x4 Sahara
|| $5,000 to
|| $8,000 to
|| $16,000 to
|| $30,000 to
|| $45,000 to
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Trunk opening kit (add $250), hitch (add $150), Robri trim ($250)
© 2001 Citroën Concours of America