Citroen have always been known for the extravagant and advanced cars, the 2CV is no exception. First launched in 1948 as the ultimate utilitarian vehicle, the 2CV excelled in simplicity, which made it very easy to maintain and run. In many ways the 2CV was very similar to its German counterpart, the Beetle. Today both cars still have a large group of fans and are considered automotive icons.
Very little about the 2CV's design can be considered conventional, as it was quite a departure from pre-War car design. Power came from a small air-cooled two-cylinder boxer engine. A simple unitary chassis construction was used suspended by coil springs all around. The suspension gave the 2CV its characteristic 'wobbly' ride that earned it the nickname 'duck' in some countries.
immediately after the 2CV's launch it was popular with farmers for which the car's simple construction was perfectly suited. To add to the vehicle's versality Citroen planned to introduce a four-wheel-drive. A conventional all wheel drive setup would be both costly to develop and would make the car much more complicated. Citroen bypassed both problems with an ingenious yet very simple solution.
Instead of complicating the driveline, Citroen fitted a second engine in the trunk of the 2CV to power the rear wheels. The two engines were completely independent units with their own gearboxes, fuel tanks and starter buttons. On flat surfaces just one of the engines could be used to save fuel and on rough terrain the second engine could be engaged.
To accomodate for the second engine, the floorpan was modified. The new rear suspension resembled the front suspension quite closely. Both the front and rear suspension were beefed up to handle the added abuse the 4WD 2CV was set to sustain. The two seperate fuel tanks were mounted under the driver and passenger seats, with the filler caps visible through both doors.
It was dubbed 2CV Sahara, after the terrain it was to be used on. With all wheels driven, few roads were too steep or slippery for the 2CV Sahara. Like many 'Saharas', the featured car was used by an oil company in the dessert of the Middle East. After a long hibernation it was found again and restored. It remains as one of the rare survivors of the 'Sahara's' limited production run.
Christie's offered chassis no. 449 for sale in the Paleis 't Loo Concours d'Elegance auction, where it sold for EUR21,150.