Citroen 2CV, the unsuspecting overland hero.

  • Hi Guest, you may choose a LIGHT or DARK theme that works best for you with the "Style Chooser" button at the bottom left on this page!
  • HTML tutorial

Carlos Beneto

Rank 0

Contributor I

60
Newbury, Berkshire, UK
First Name
Carlos
Last Name
Beneto Turner
Hello everyone! Made an account ages ago but never got round to actually posting. Great to see there is a 2WD forum now! I don’t know what proportion of the OB community is based in Europe but I’m sure it’ll be of interest anyway.

I’d like to introduce my Citroen 2CV, a model that was in production from 1948 until 1990 (you read that right). These cars are often appreciated for their French icon status, but a lot of people don’t realise the off-road capability and history that these cars have. The 2CV is famously known for its design brief of being able to carry a farmer and his eggs to market through a plowed field without breaking the eggs. As a result, it has a very unique longitudinal suspension system which gives it seemingly infinite suspension travel.

There was also a 4x4 version named the 2CV Sahara, sporting a twin engine setup! These were used by some forest police.

In its history, 2CVs have taken part in all sorts of off-road and long distance travel events. Citroen even sponsored the Raid Afrique 1973, even publishing a document on how to prepare a 2CV for this kind of use.

I would like to introduce my particular 2CV, Elaine. A late 1988 model which has had... a few upgrades.



This car started off as a rusty wreck that I bought for £800. 18 months later and it now looks like this! Everything (apart from the roll cage) was done by myself as a learning experience, and what experience that was! Every modification has been done with overland travel in mind, and there are still things to do.

The list of mods (that I can remember) are:
  • BMW R1100RT motorbike engine. The original 602cc engine offered an exciting 29hp. The new, fuel injected 1100cc engine offers 95hp and the reliability of a proven adventure bike. With a weight of 650kg (1433lbs) the performance is surprising!
  • Quaife ATB LSD I’m the original 2CV gearbox for improved loose terrain grip. It’s amazing that these gearboxes take 3 times the power without any complaints with very minor modifications.
  • Custom made roll cage, including supports for the Sparco Sprint seats and Sabelt harnesses.
  • New, upgraded galvanised chassis.
  • Reinforced suspension throughout, including VERY upgraded suspension arms and updated springs.
  • Banded wheels to fit substantially larger tyres (165/80R15) . Still small by modern standards but much larger than the original 125s
  • Wiring harness for the entire car (including engine) made from scratch.
  • Fuel system built from scratch to accommodate the injected engine.
The list goes on, but those are the main points. There are still things to do but the first 3000 miles in the car have been a blast! Just need this stupid virus to go away and start going places.

If you want to see more, the car is on Instagram@2cv_motorraid.

You can also see (and hear) the car in action here:


And finally a few more photos, hope you like them. Let’s push (pull) the 2WD world forward!








 

Dilldog

Rank V
Member
Supporter

Influencer I

2,358
Spokane, WA.
First Name
Dillon
Last Name
W
Member #

20298

Ham Callsign
KJ7LVO
Um, wow...
That is one seriously cool car. I have always though it would be cool to have one of those small Citroens. Some of the design in French cars from the 40s to the 60s just blows me away.
Would you be willing to post more photos of the engine and talk about the swap some more?
 

Carlos Beneto

Rank 0

Contributor I

60
Newbury, Berkshire, UK
First Name
Carlos
Last Name
Beneto Turner
Um, wow...
That is one seriously cool car. I have always though it would be cool to have one of those small Citroens. Some of the design in French cars from the 40s to the 60s just blows me away.
Would you be willing to post more photos of the engine and talk about the swap some more?
Sure! What would you like to know? Here go a few more pictures:

20200601_182503.jpg



20200603_170654.jpg

IMG_20201016_154943.jpg

And a quick video of it idling for good measure:

 

Attachments

  • Like
Reactions: Dilldog

Dilldog

Rank V
Member
Supporter

Influencer I

2,358
Spokane, WA.
First Name
Dillon
Last Name
W
Member #

20298

Ham Callsign
KJ7LVO
Thanks for the photos man. What are you doing for a clutch and transmission adapter? You are running the Citroen transmission correct? I just love the whole concept of this guy, and I'm a real sucker for uncommon engine swaps.
 

Carlos Beneto

Rank 0

Contributor I

60
Newbury, Berkshire, UK
First Name
Carlos
Last Name
Beneto Turner
Thanks for the photos man. What are you doing for a clutch and transmission adapter? You are running the Citroen transmission correct? I just love the whole concept of this guy, and I'm a real sucker for uncommon engine swaps.
It's a 2CV clutch and flywheel. The only custom bits are the adapter to pair the engine to the gearbox and a crankshaft extender to move the flywheel to where it needs to be. Fairly straight forward really!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dilldog

Billiebob

Rank V
Member

Traveler II

2,365
earth
First Name
Bill
Last Name
William
Member #

18893

The engine upgrade is impressive. By far the best features are the suspension and light wheel, tire combination.

Remember James Bond in one....

 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Road

Carlos Beneto

Rank 0

Contributor I

60
Newbury, Berkshire, UK
First Name
Carlos
Last Name
Beneto Turner
The engine upgrade is impressive. By far the best features are the suspension and light wheel, tire combination.

Remember James Bond in one....
You are 100% correct. I did the engine swap mainly to make it more capable in modern traffic and general performance, but where it shines is in the suspension department. The longitudinal shocks and springs give it huge suspension travel.

I carry a small floor jack and I need to place a block between the cup and the chassis, otherwise at full extension it won't get the wheels of the ground.

Even my bigger floor jack needs to go quite high before the wheels are off, as you can see here (wheels still firmly on the ground) :
IMG_20201019_114937.jpg

In this photo the ride height is set to just over factory, but it will go full monster truck if you need it to. You can adjust the suspension height in minutes with a single spanner, it's currently in "road trim" . Even at this ride height the ground clearance is immense, with a bit higher up you can easily work on it without jacking it up.

Add to that the lack of sway bar, a weight of about 650kg and the LSD (in this one, definitely not a factory item) and you have a car that will go places much bigger, more "capable" vehicles won't.

Can you tell I love it?
 

Billiebob

Rank V
Member

Traveler II

2,365
earth
First Name
Bill
Last Name
William
Member #

18893

We have lost our way... I love these tiny, light camper rigs.

wuemor.jpg
 
Last edited:

El-Dracho

Mid Europe Member Rep Germany
Member
Supporter

Member III

3,653
Lampertheim, Germany
First Name
Bjoern
Last Name
Eldracher
Member #

20111

Ham Callsign
DO3BE
That is an amzing project! Thanks for sharing! I have met 2cvs in travel trim from time to time on my travels. Nice. As I said, great project, great car, have fun with it. Wish you all the time good trip! Safe travels!
 

Alanymarce

Rank III

Enthusiast III

792
Colombia
Great vehicle! ...and very capable. A colleague of mine in Botswana had driven his 2CV there from Belgium. He said that whenever he was stuck the local people could simply lift/carry the car across the mud/sand/river/whatever.