1963 CitroŽn 2CV SaharaSOLD
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Estimate: Ä35,000-40,000

Sold: Ä37,760

The origins of the four wheel drive Citroen 2CV Sahara go back to the invention of a certain Monsieur Bonnafous from Savoy, who in 1954 is supposed to have constructed the original prototype powered by two 375cc engines. Registered the following year by Les Mines with the licence plate 625 K 73, and now fitted with twin 425cc engines, this vehicle subsequently covered more than 100,000km without any problems. The astonishing features of the vehicle caught the attention of a Citroen dealer who contacted Bonnafous, which in turn led to studies of the prototype by the French manufacturer in 1957. Target buyers were those who wanted a cheap and simple off-road vehicle.
Yet the twin engine concept was not new at all, though whether Monsieur Bonnafous knew this or not is unknown. In March 1958 the first Citroen prototype left the Panhard factory, owned at the time by Citroen. There were no holes in the front-doors and no hood, both characteristics of the production 4x4 2CV, and there was a bonnet formed from corrugated sheet like standard model 2CVs.

Cooling problems, however, with the rear engine demanded a radical reconstruction for the second and third prototypes; they, like the production Sahara, had no fuel-filler holes in the doors and no rear lights or indicators in the rear bonnet and, similarly, the rear wings already had the 'cut-out' shape. Gear changes for the front and rear transmissions were operated by a common central shift lever, simultaneously moving the two sets of selector rods; the rear rods could also be disengaged, thereby enabling the Citroen to be driven by only the front engine as a two wheel drive car.

Sahara production started in December 1960 and ended in 1971 after 694 vehicles had been built, the very last of which was manufactured from stored parts. Chassis 0001, the first produced, allegedly exists in New Zealand and is owned by a retired Air New Zealand captain. Many people fell for the car's ingenious construction and many road testers of the time described the car enthusiastically, but the price, around double that of a standard 2CV, deterred many from buying and financially the Sahara was a flop. The Spanish Guardia Civil did order some 85 examples and the Swiss PTT used some of the cars for tackling difficult terrain, which may explain why there are so many originally Swiss-registered 2CV Saharas. Of the estimated 680 examples built, a mere 25 are believed to still exist around the world.

Finished in battleship grey, such a popular choice on so many early post-war Citroens, with matching interior, this fine example was discovered by its current owner in Switzerland requiring restoration. Subsequently imported to Italy, this extremely rare machine still retains its original French documentation and registration plates. Accompanying the car is a detailed photographic history of its comprehensive restoration between 2002 and 2005, both before and after the work was completed. A more carefully restored 2CV Sahara would indeed be difficult to locate and this splendid and idiosyncratically French motor car is undoubtedly the rarest and most collectable of post-war Citroens. Such an opportunity is unlikely to be repeated.


Reference Number 14128

as of 10/13/2007

Overview
Car 1963 CitroŽn 2CV Sahara