Monday 05 Dec 2016
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Andrew Kirkham and his AZAM

1960's 2CVs

By the early 1960's the European small car market was hotting up and the introduction of such vehicles as the Renault 4, for instance, helped fuel this. Stylistically, the 2cv was still firmly rooted in the austere 1940's. To compete it needed a makeover and the corrugated bonnet was an obvious easy target for replacement.

Thus came about the wavy bonnet so familiar to 2cv drivers today and often still referred to as the modern bonnet. This perceived "modernity" of the 1960 bonnet well over 50 years later is testament generally to the adaptability of the little car.

The new look bonnet transformed the appearance of the iconic post war 2cv giving it a fresh outlook with which to hustle in the fickle market place of 1960's motoring. Further trim also came along to keep up with marketing trends. Citroen managed to do it their own way as usual and the AZAM of 1963, which was trimmed out to the max with a beefed up motor and interior spec, continued the process.

 

The 1960's saw myriad other refinements made both to the bodywork and mechanics of the deuche. Production peaked around 1966, but then, with the introduction of the Dyane in 1967 (an intended replacement), Citroen was in competition with itself for the small car market and something had to give! The close of the decade saw the demise of a lot of what was left from the original sensational 1940's vehicle, but what followed opened yet another amazing chapter in the story.

The new 1960's 2cv saloon register will cover the period of the decade in which the wavy bonnet held sway, the tail end of 1960 to 1969.

In production were The AZ (a basic model), the AZL (somewhat improved) and the AZAM (somewhat further improved!). The decade also saw the manufacture of the legendary 2cv 4 x 4 - the Sahara - possibly worthy of its own specialist register!

During this time around 1,179,000 2cv saloons made it onto the roads of Europe, none being manufactured for the UK market (unless by special request).

Production of the 2cv decreased severely with the introduction of the Dyane in 1967. However, with the production figures for both vehicles combined, and don't forget they where being made on the same production line and targeting the same market, total annual output hovered around 150,000. Then in 1970 2cv output recovered and started on an upward trend again, peaking in 1974 when well over a quarter of a million 2cv/Dyanes were manufactured.

Production was concentrated in Paris - Levallois - but also took place in Belgium where some innovations were introduced - Paris cars catching up later.

The decade was a colourful one in contrast to previous years, with a multitude of official colours available at various times.

 

Like other Citroen models, the DS for instance, the separate specs started to blend over time leading to crossover and eventual rationalisation.

 

On the open road a sixties 2CV swings along nicely, and in traffic you might mistake it for a later model. But leave behind your competitive side and go with the flow. Take off is from another epoch and all hills are a challenge especially since Bradley Wiggins re-invented cycling! Nonetheless the often imitated but now seldom driven 1960's 2CV is still "where it's at" man.

 

Andrew Kirkham - '61-'70 Registrar

 

 

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