Few readers of CW will be unaware of the history of the Citroën 2CV, the car which had its development interrupted by WW2, causing the early prototypes to be literally buried to escape occupying forces.
An exercise in minimalism which made both Beetle and Fiat 500 look positively over-complex, the 2CV was at odds with Citroën’s prewar market position as a middle-class kind of French Rover and indeed was also at the opposite end of the market from the firm’s later high-tech DS models.
Despite this, the little twin-cylinder air-cooled car brought in much-needed cash flow for the struggling firm and helped post-war France to get back on its feet. In many ways it was a better multi-purpose car than our own Land Rover and much more affordable, too.
By the ’60s though, the world had moved on and the spartan 2CV was looking out dated. Citroën’s answer was to produce the Dyane, although even die-hard Citroën buffs are unsure whether it was intended as a more upmarket 2CV or a replacement for the older car.
The Dyane was essentially a restyled 2CV with more contemporary lines and a hatchback rear plus a slightly more comfortable interior. Initially the same 425cc, 22 bhp air-cooled twin was used, but from 1968 the Dyane was offered with the 602cc motor rated at a heady 33 bhp.
The Dyane would last only until 1983, meaning that like the Mini and Metro, the original outlived its supposed replacement.
This means that survivors are pretty rare, especially in the UK but they do make a slightly more usable classic than the 2CV.