This 1953 Citroen was driven on the 90th Anniversary 1997 Peking to Paris Rally by LeMay Museum Board Member Burt Richmond and was later donated to the Collection of the Harold E. LeMay Museum. Burt and his co-driver finished the race, driving into Paris 2nd in class!
The Peking to Paris motor race was a race held in 1907 for automobiles between Peking (now Beijing), China and Paris, France, a distance of 9,317 miles or 14,994 km. The vehicle bumpers, decals, overhead lights, and seats, etc. were added/modified for the event.
The French “people’s car”, conceived before World War II and secretly developed during the War, made its official appearance at the 1948 Paris Auto Salon. Designed under the direction of Pierre Boulanger, the car was designed for the paysans, the country farmers. The car was designed to “carry two farmers wearing clogs, plus 110 pounds of potatoes or a small cask of wine at a maximum speed of 30 mph.” Boulanger also required that the “Umbrella on Wheels” be able to carry a basket of eggs over a plowed field without breaking the eggs. The car was simple, rugged, reliable and nearly indestructible. The manual 4-speed shifter comes out of the dash and twists left or right for gear changes. Average fuel consumption was 50+ mpg. The 2CV was the first automobile to be fitted with Michelin X radial tires.
The model 2CV means "deux chevaux vapeur", literally "two steam horses", from the tax horsepower rating used in postwar France to determine road taxes paid by motorists. The 2 CV thus had a very small 375 cc motor to ensure that owners paid a minimal amount. With over 8 million built from 1949 to 1990, the 2CV proved to be the most popular car in France in the post-war era.
Of its many designs, the rarest is the Sahara, a twin-engined 4X4 used by the French Army in North Africa and the Spanish Guarda Civil. Only 694 of these vehicles were built. One of the most popular models was the Fourgonnette (light van), an example of which is also in the LeMay Collection. Citroen and the 2CV “Tin Goose” have earned their place in automotive history with a unique and long-lasting design. Production ceased July 27, 1990. References: