The 2CV had it blueprints already prepared before WWII began and this TPV (Toute Petite Vehicle) was to be presented at the 1939 Paris Auto Show. Due to the impending war, that Paris Auto Show was cancelled. Citroen's plans and prototypes for the 2CV were stored away and hidden. Literally hidden because the decision was made to store the prototypes in haystacks in the factory so that the Nazis would not be able to find them. Prototypes were also distributed by train throughout Europe so that the Nazis would not steal this beautiful 2CV idea.
In October 1948, four years post-war, the car was finally presented at the Paris Auto Show as a TPV (‘Toute Petite Vehicule’, which is French for Small Vehicle) and launched on the market. Pierre-Jules Boulanger, the 2CV’s spiritual father appointed by Michelin, had the clear goal in mind to produce a cheap, light, fuel-economical, and above all, simplistic car that fits the demands of countryside people. Citroën’s marketing research showed that there were several criteria to be added: the car had to accommodate two people, mainly farmers, and fifty kilograms of potatoes or a fifty-litre barrel of wine. Rumour has it Citroën also wanted the car to accommodate two farmers and a sheep in the car, or even that it had to be able to move a basket filled with eggs on and off-road, on the bumpy and freshly plowed field, without breaking a single egg. To achieve that goal, Citroen devised a simple yet ingenious system that ensures the car to balance itself. When pressure is applied to one side of the wheelbase, the other side of that wheelbase automatically lengthens, that system was named built-in mechanical levelling. Even though the 2CV is not sporty at all, this car is able to take turn at an incredibly high speed without tilting over.
The 2CV was built from 1949 to 1990, during this period, the same line was maintained. The 'goat,' as it is known in Belgium, remained the same recognizable car for 42 years. This continuity emphasizes the sublime design that perfectly meets market demand. Nearly six million units of the 'duck,' as it is known in the Netherlands, were built in various finishes. For example, an off-road version was introduced under the name 2CV 4x4 Sahara, a 2CV with two engines, two gearboxes, and two fuel tanks. Citroen also introduced an intended successor to the market under the name Citroen Dyane. As the Dyane did not affect the sales of the 2CV, Citroen decided to continue production of the 2CV. Not too many variants were designed, this car was already as amazing as it could get.
Nothing can subvert the 2CV’s fame and popularity. Even today, the 2CV remains a very popular classic car that holds its value and it is so ingenious in the simplest way possible which makes it a very sustainable and almost undestroyable classic.