1971 Citroen 2CV6 Convertible by Hoffman
Citroen is one of the world’s most iconic and innovative automobile manufacturers. Founded by André-Gustave Citroen in 1919, the company produced its first motor vehicle, the Citroen Type A, immediately following the First World War. Prior to this and during the War, Citroen supported France by manufacturing armaments from its then modern factory. Throughout the War, Citroen realised that he had to plan for the future and decided he would manufacture motor vehicles once peace returned to Europe.
In the early years Citroen’s plans were to bring mass production to Europe using the principles developed by Henry Ford. In 1934 Citroen introduced the 7CV or Traction Avant which today is recognised as one of the most important automobiles ever built. The Traction Avant pioneered unitary body construction (with no separate chassis frame), four wheel independent suspension and front wheel drive. The early 1930’s were tough times for Citroen and the company ultimately filed for bankruptcy in December 1934 and Andre Citroen passed away after losing his battle with cancer in July 1935 at the relatively young age of 57. Michelin subsequently took over Citroen and the Company went on to become a power house of French industry.
The Citroen brand is synonymous with innovation, however, their cars were also well built and very reliable. Other key milestones in Citroen’s history were the introduction of the Deux Chevaux or 2CV in 1948 and the Goddess DS Series cars in 1955 (which featured a hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension system, a high pressure hydraulic system, disc brakes and later swivelling headlights). What is often overlooked is that Citroen has a rich motorsport pedigree, particularly in rallying, where it has won many events and championships over the years.
The thinking behind the 2CV was to build a low cost and simple form of motorised transport that could be used by farmers to effectively replace the horse and cart that was still so prominently used throughout rural France. The design brief for the car contained some interesting criteria. It needed to be able to carry four people and 50kg of farm goods to the markets at 50km/h, if necessary, across muddy and unpaved roads. One other parameter stated that customers needed to be able to transport eggs across a freshly ploughed field without breakage. The first 2CV’s were characterised by distinctive corrugated body panels, a roll back sunshine roof (to improve load carrying), a minimalist interior and a unique colour scheme – you could have any colour you wanted but it had to be grey! The car was powered by a bullet proof 375cc flat-twin four stroke two cylinder engine driving the rear wheels through a four-speed gearbox, with simple but effective independent suspension all round. By mid-1939 a pre-production run of 250 cars was completed and the intentions was to present the car at the Paris Motor Show in October of that year. Unfortunately, the start of World War II prevented that from happening.
The 2CV was finally revealed to the public at the Paris Motor Show on 7th October 1948. The car was heavily criticised by the press but the public loved it and Citroen was flooded with orders at the show. The car went on sale in 1949 and within months there was a three year waiting list which soon increased to five years. As a result, a second hand 2CV was more expensive than a new one. The 2CV very quickly became a car of the people, much like the Volkswagen Beetle or Fiat 500, and circa 5 million cars were built over 42 years of production from 1948 through until 1990 (or circa 9 million if you include commercial vehicles!) . . . quite extraordinary really!
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a rare and unique Citroen 2CV6 Convertible by Hoffman.
Citroen never offered a convertible version of the 2CV and it was Wolfgang Hoffman, a German entrepreneur, who had the idea to build a topless 2CV. Hoffman developed a fibreglass body kit to fit on a 2CV chassis. The kit completely changed the appearance of the rear half of the car. The existing roof, boot, front window frames and the top of the rear doors were removed and the fibre glass body with the soft top were attached to the car. Interestingly the lower half of the rear doors didn’t have to be removed. It is understood that Hoffman built around 250 cars at the factory and supplied another 1,700 kits for customers to retrofit to their 2CVs.
There is a letter on file from Hoffman to confirm this particular car was indeed one of the 250 cars built at their production facility in Hohenfurch, Germany. The car is documented as being sent directly by Hoffman to Citroen’s dealer principle in Oregon, USA to be used as a show car and demonstrator. The car is understood to have had one long term owner in the USA and there is an Oregon Title and other documentation on file. The car carried the Oregon registration 022GKQ. This little 2CV was advertised on Bring-A-Trailer in June 2014 and subsequently sold by the Oregan Motor Company to an enthusiast in Melbourne, Australia. At that time the odometer was at 31,000 miles. There is an import approval on file dated 10th September 2014. In January 2015 the car’s interior was freshened up, which included new foam and reupholstering the seats in a durable and weather resistant Porsche vinyl. The front mat and the rear curtain were also replaced. At the time almost $4,000 was spent on the car. The current owner acquired this fabulous Citroen 2CV in May 2016 from Shannons’ Melbourne Autumn Classic Auction at which time the odometer was 50,248 km. The car moved to south east Queensland where it joined an interesting collection of cars and only a recent change in circumstances has resulted in it being reluctantly offered for sale. Today the odometer reads 52,236 km, so in his five years of ownership the car has travelled only 1,988 km.
Today this particular car presents very well. Its bright red paint work is fresh and has a strong depth of colour. There is only one blemish on the rear left guard. All of the decals, exterior trim and glass, including the removable side windows, are in good order. The interior remains ‘like new’, the car having travelled around 2,000 km since it was refreshed. Even the carpets are all in excellent condition as is the soft top. The instruments, whilst very basic, are in good working order. Mechanically the car does everything it should. The engine pulls well and the car handles and stops as one would expect from a 2CV!
Driving a 2CV is a real ‘experience’, from the unique position of the gear stick to the way the car handles . . . it is definitely something different! Despite its small 600cc engine the car goes surprisingly well and keeps up with modern day traffic. Getting up to speed takes some time but the car happily cruises on the motorway at around 100km/h should you need to take it there. Driving around twisty roads is an experience you won’t easily find in any other car. Whilst its suspension appears to be soft, the car handles surprisingly well.
A Citroen 2CV is a ‘cool thing’, however, a Citroen 2CV Convertible by Hoffman is a ‘very cool thing’!
- Citroen 2CV6 Convertible by Hoffman
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