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    Put a smile on your face / #Citroen-2CV / #Citroen /

    Citroën’s 2CV was always endearing and a hoot to drive – and now you can buy a ‘brand new’ one, handbuilt to your specifications Words Mike Renaut / Photography Matt Richardson

    THAT’S A SHOCK. Citroën’s #Deux-Chevaux is no longer a student’s cheap banger. A decent 2CV is worth several thousand pounds, especially one completely rebuilt to make it rust-free and mechanically perfect. That’s where The #2CV-Shop comes in: it transforms rusty examples into brand new 2CVs. ‘We strip them completely, replacing the entire floor and sills on every car we build,’ explains managing director Darren Arthur. ‘You can’t see rust hiding up inside, so we prefer to put all new steel in. Each shell is then shot-blasted back to bare metal.’ Once rot-free, the shell is seam-sealed and zinc-coated.

    The 2CV Shop is the UK distributor for Cassis, which produces parts from original Citroën tooling. The brand new galvanised chassis gets fresh steering and brakes, overhauled suspension, new wiring, a rebuilt engine and gearbox along with new pipework, wheels and tyres. All cars are handbuilt to the customer’s desires. ‘We did a 2CV in metallic black with televisions in the headrests to match a client’s Audi A8,’ says Darren. ‘A disabled chap required a hand throttle on his; another customer wanted racing suspension. Leather interiors are possible, and so are hatchback conversions and tinted glass.’

    The 2CV Shop produces some 20 bespoke 2CVs per year, mainly straightforward restorations to factory spec with upgrades such as electronic ignition. The entirely in-house process takes about 12 weeks and you drive away in what is effectively a factory-fresh 2CV.

    As with most things Citroën, what at first seems odd soon becomes second nature. Grab the gearstick jutting from the centre of the dashboard and pull; a flick of the wrist anti-clockwise selects the dog-leg first gear on the four-speed box, then release and push forward for second. With a 30bhp 602cc engine I’m not expecting much, but the car surprises. Revved hard it keeps up with modern traffic better than some larger-engined classics. Power into a corner and you’ll lean until the mudflaps scrape. But what looks comically terrifying from outside feels perfectly safe within an interior snug enough to ensure you aren’t thrown about. It’s basic, but all the essentials are here – and if you want the wind in your hair, the roof rolls completely back. Plus these cars cost next to nothing to run.

    Prices start at around £14,000 for an entirely ‘new’ 2CV. Restored (rather than completely rebuilt) machines are a fair bit cheaper. For 2013 The 2CV Shop will be offering the same rebuild service on Citroën Meharis. ‘Give us a call,’ says Darren. ‘We can do just about anything – and we love a challenge.’

    // The Citröen 2CV Shop, Warminster, Wiltshire BA12 7BZ, UK., +44 (0)1985 841327.
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