May 11, 2010


Shortly after the 2CV's launch in 1948, Citroen saw a market for a commercial model. The answer was the 2CV AU (more commonly called "fourgonnette" in French) introduced in 1951. The front of the car remained the same as its sedan sister but from the B-pillar back the sheet metal was new, roughly shaped like a box to accomodate large objects. The AU's drawback is that it used the same 375cc flat-two engine as the sedan, an engine that had a hard time moving people around - a man who had one in the 1960s got passed by a priest on a bike while going up a hill, true story - and a harder time moving heavy merchandise. Citroen responded to this in 1954 by putting a 425cc version of its flat-twin in the little fourgonnette, dubbed the 2CV AZU.

Customers increasingly opted for the AZU over the less-powerful AU, who saw its production end in 1956. The AZU had little competition in France until the Renault 4 F4 hit the market in 1961 and sales were stellar. Farmers, grocers, car dealers, the national phone company, it seems as if everybody had a 2CV AZU in the late 1950s.

As an interesting side note, Panhard sold 25% of its shares to Citroen in 1955 and from that point up until 1970, Panhard produced the 2CV fourgonnettes in its Paris factory.

This mid-1950s AZU was spotted in the woods around Aix-en-Provence, France. Little is left on it aside from a dead 6-volt battery.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Was just in Italy and it's true, there are loads of Pandas still on the road. Good little workhorses.