Stephane’s cheap philosophy Wednesday: the little car that could

I’ll try to steer clear of the usual self help clichés: Be positive! Make a difference! Yes we can… Cheap self help “philosophy” makes me gag! It’s just that I saw one of our country’s most iconic cars in the street earlier today and it got me into thinking. About my life, my contribution to society yadi yadi yada…

I’ve written about the citroen 2cv several times in the past. Maybe because I have loved this little car my whole life. As a child, it represented utter freedom. For decades, people have used it as their “adventure” car on safaris or on their tours de France. It was everybody’s first car and every single mom had one; and every farmer and every catholic priest and… Oh and the noise it made… That friendly, funny little noise that I could imitate by flapping my lips together when I was playing with my Dinky Toys on the floor of our living room.

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It was funny looking  to be sure, but it was also affordable, easy and cheap to repair, dependable, resilient, hard working, utterly versatile… The 2cv will forever be part of the French imagery like the old guy on a bike with a baguette under his arm.

Now, ready for the cheap philosophy? Here it comes: I believe that all we need to do in this world is find out what we are really good at and use it to make others’ lives easier and happier.

We don’t need to be rich or good looking to be useful. Caring, fun and dependable will do!

The 2cv wasn’t fast or fancy. But see, it wasn’t built to impress, it was built to serve. That’s probably why we all loved it so damn much…

So when am I buying a lovely little 2cv to add to my car collection? Ha ha, screw that! I’m getting a Porsche!

60 Comments Add yours

  1. Being practical is sometimes the best option, especially when it comes to attitude toward life 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I agree!

  2. mariekeates says:

    I love the quirkiness of the 2CV. Maybe I’m just a quirky kind of girl.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      We are all Quirky then Marie! 😉

  3. Ha ha ha! Love it! Why not buy both? One for fun and one for practical!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I wish I could. I truly do! 😉

  4. skd says:

    All through my child hood, I used to admire my grand dads car which looked similar to this one, standing next to our porch. And believe it or not, it was the same color. I am all nostalgic today after reading your post 😱

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Ahhhh nostalgia… 😉

  5. My parents had a dark blue VW bug that they bought used from friends in the 70’s. My dad was always tinkering with it. But I love the old bugs. 😊

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Never had one, but I do to. They were very special indeed. All cheap “peoples” cars from the 60s and 70s were… Thanks for dropping by dear friend!

      1. I really dislike the two modern designs for the bug. Lost it’s charm!

  6. Great post. Yes the 2cv. Never owned one and never lived in France but always loved them. There are a surprising number that have made it all around the world even to our part of the world Perth. Something wonderful about affordable cars that were for the common people.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      From this one to the mini to the beetle, they all represent such wonderful childhood memories. They don’t make them like that anymore. Who will remember a Clio or a Mazda?…

  7. I would love to have a 2CV although they are no longer cheap. In 2003 I was offered a HY camionette together with a 2CV for 1200€ ..and I didn’t buy them….everlasting regret:)

    1. My French Heaven says:

      A 2cv in great shape runs for about 8000€ these days… I too should have bought one when I could have… 😦

  8. Clanmother says:

    I like you philosophy!!! Simple, clear, and fun.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Alright then darling! I’ll officially call myself a philosopher from now on 😉 Nooooooot! 🙂

  9. Angeline M says:

    I love your cheap philosophy Wednesday. Hope you make it a regular. I like today’s thought.
    I learned to drive in a VW Beetle…wish I had one now, but with all the monster SUVs on the road I would be afraid of getting squashed like a….bug.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I like your sense of humor Angeline 😀

  10. Malcolm Gay says:

    I like that you do cars as much justice as you do food.

    Here is something to look at, to feed your 2CV passion .

    If you search, YouTube for a clip by Quentin Wilson (past Top Gear host from 20 years ago)

    “Citroën 2cv bbc1996”

    it encapsulates the history, the journey and the present,

    and yes it is viewable from an internet connected screen in a new Porsche.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I loved it! Thanks for the link Malcolm!! Quentin had a house just a few miles down the road from me. I met him at a friend’s birthday two years ago. Nice man. His wife is evil though 😉 Thanks again for the link!

  11. ladyredspecs says:

    Love it! The 2CV is truly iconic, even my French neighbour drives one. We pay huge taxes on luxury European cars here, but that doesn’t stop my car obsessed other half though who claims it’s a passion for fine engineering. Forget the Porsche Stephane, not enough luggage space to carry essential such as wine and food…….

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You may well be right Sandra… But a small boot could be the secret to eating less then. I’d call it the Porsche diet 😀

  12. sara says:

    I love your philosophy and think that it’s the absolute key to a fun and useful life 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks dear Sara! :-d

  13. carlsonprock says:

    Love the post. We just saw a parade of 2cvs yesterday. I hope you don’t mind that I linked to it from my blog.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      That’s wonderful!!

  14. pinkagendist says:

    I’m pretty sure I was built to impress 😀

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I had figured that much 😉 Good for you! 😉

  15. You took me back in years and I am in love☺

    1. My French Heaven says:

      A trip down memory lane is good for the spirit sometimes 😉

  16. agnesashe says:

    Oh my goodness – I’m so impressed with your 30 year old Golf Cabriolet. When I lived in Germany my landlord drove round in an ancient, beaten-up VW and explained to me that it was better for the environment to keep your car going as long as possible. I am still driving my (youngster) 21 year old Corsa I bought secondhand in 1994!
    I wholeheartedly agree with you and your ‘cheap philosophy’, sadly, being dependable seems to have gone out of fashion. By the way my German landlord’s other mode of transport was a Boeing 747 (pilot for Lufthansa) – perhaps a bit conflicted with regards to the environment. 😉

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Ha Ha! Very funny 🙂 Upels are really good cars too! They might not be as classy as the British or Italian cars, but they do get the job done, don’t they 😉

  17. Stéphane Cassin Photographie says:

    Une charmante prise de vue qui date des années 50 et qui a beaucoup de style 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Ca a du passer dans Paris Match à l’époque… 🙂

      1. Stéphane Cassin Photographie says:

        Ah quand même!!!

  18. I agree. This car is absolutely wonderful and seems so much more human than the high-tech models we use nowadays. Compare the 2cv to the horrendously big 4×4 types (especially the white ones) that instantly ruin any landscape. A 2cv is always ‘integrated’, anywhere. I remember the special way you had to open the windows and, if I remember well, you could even sleep in it, stretching out the front seats. Easy to repair, exactly. Nowadays we seem so disconnected from the things we are using, this ‘machine’ was simple and pretty easy to understand. Anyone seemed to know how to repair it. They should make them again! I love their high wheels also. You could get anywhere.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I don’t understand why car companies don’t produce old models like these as limited editions. they would make a fortune! I guess there’s the safety issue, but I’m sure they could find a way…

  19. help ! I just leant on the keyboard! – should have read ‘tour in a 2CV’ – if you do ever buy one Stéphane you w will have to come and visit for afternoon tea! So sorry for the 2 messages!!

  20. Oopla! C’est moi encore! Just found today’s post – that 2CV is iconic everywhere – we just had a feature in the Charente Tourist Board dossier de presse as a stopping place for a tour in a

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Those clubs are everywhere. People love that little car so much…

  21. kate magee says:

    Have always loved the 2cv and I smile whenever I see a vintage one rolling down the streets of Toronto…may not add it to my car collection (if I win the lottery) though as that money would be earmarked for a Kharmangia 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      It’s so funny, the Gia was not very common in France. I know it was a huge deal in North america though. Ahhh cars…

  22. sabine says:

    So true: La 2cv makes everybody nostalgic… did you know it has a sweet nickname in German? It´s “Ente” = canard!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      It kind of looks and sounds like a duck, and you know the old saying?! If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then…

      1. sabine says:

        …it must be a 2cv, right? 😉

        1. My French Heaven says:

          Right 😉

  23. Oh wow you brought back memories. When I lived in Europe I owned a sweet little citroen that I drove all over from Marseilles to Nice to Ventimiglia. I had so much fun in that car it was my European love affair, with a car mind you. I love the analogy, philosophy if you may but if/when I go back to Europe, wholeheartedly agree I would love to drive around in a porsche,

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m aiming for the new Targa! Maybe in the next life… 😉 🙂

      1. Yes, it’s beautiful.

  24. In addition to finding what we do and using it to help others, we need to remember that all gifts are worth much and not compare our gifts to others we think are “worth more.” Being a good friend or spouse is worth more than most people can imagine, yet the urge to downplay the importance of a gift such as these is often strong. “I don’t make any money staying home with the children.” So what’s more important–money or raising your children to be good people? (I don’t mean to imply that children can’t grow up well if both parents work.)

    Anyway, some of the most valuable gifts are least recognized and rewarded by society, but that doesn’t make them any less valuable.

    janet

    P.S. My car was a ’75 VW Super Beetle, bright yellow. Loved it!!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are so so right J! Beetles were the German version of the 2cv (or the other way around). A car for the people 🙂

  25. Brilliant! I love your bit of “inexpensive” philosophy and couldn’t agree more about the abundance of cheap philosophy beseiging us daily which really sets my teeth on edge. As to the Porsche, can you imitate its throaty, deep growl?

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Never tried 😉

  26. judilyn says:

    Fab photo – 1960’s? Looks like a bunch of crinolines under the young lady’s skirt. I remember pulling them on – one after another – but that was in the mid- to late 1950’s. Great nostalgia post! ;->

    Virtual hugs,

    Judie

    1. My French Heaven says:

      50s I think… 🙂

  27. billgncs says:

    my wife had a vw beetle that we drove for close to 300,000 miles. We loved it because it always worked.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I am driving a 30 year old Golf Cabriolet these days. All I do is put oil and gas and that’s it… There is nothing like a German car when it comes to reliability and durability… + they’re super cute… 🙂

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