The car that annoyed the Nazis, had the ability to drive through a ploughed field without breaking eggs and sell over 5 million units had a colourful ‘Spot’.
Typically French by its quirky unmistakable design, the Citroën 2CV was even affectionately nicknamed the ‘tin-can’ or ‘duck’ by its ever-growing number of fans and quickly becoming an integral part of a society that wanted simplicity and affordability – the lovable 2CV had all of this and more…
Whilst the innovative and successful Citroën 2CV hit the dizzy heights of more than 5.1 million vehicles being sold by 1990, it was in the seventies when things began to change for the brand. Models were changing and assembly plants needed to manufacture them; namely that of Aulnay, north of Paris.
There was also the little problem of the 70s oil crisis which meant those clever French designers and engineers had to come up with alternative power units such as the CX diesel which became a best-seller throughout the 70s and 80s and remained the fastest diesel-powered car on the market for at least a decade.
It was decided that the 2CV would also receive some ‘special’ changes with two alternative liveries for the 2CV and some bold colour injection, focussing primarily on its younger audience: one was a tribute to the Belle Époque and the times of André Citroën, in yellow and black. The other and quite the opposite was white and orange, of a particular shade called Orange Ténéré, which had recently been launched in the conventional Citroën range, called ‘transat’ (which in French means deckchair).
White and orange were given the flamboyant stamp of approval and a limited series (the first in Citroën’s history) of 1800 units was approved with the production of this ‘special’ to be carried out in what was the first 2CV factory – the Parisian plant in Levallois.
Next, was the name change. The original choice of ‘Transat’ was already registered in France so the car was renamed ‘Spot’ which inadvertently corresponded nicely with ‘Special Orange Ténéré’.
Drawing its inspiration from the 2CV4, the ‘2CV Spot’ came equipped with a 435 cc engine (although in some markets it was also sold with the base of the 2CV6), ‘luxury instrumentation from the AMI6, orange fabric interior upholstery and a striped white and orange awning for protection once the roof was pulled back which was only available on this particular model.
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The first and only prototype ended up at Normandy for a photoshoot in January 1976, then in March of the same year publicity material for dealerships were published. On March 27, 1976, the 2CV Spot was unveiled for the first time at an event inside a large glass delivery hall where fully assembled cars were finally checked before being sent to dealerships.
The launch date was then chosen and announced for the weekend of April 10-12 at all Citroën dealerships that had previously received one or two units of the 2CV Spot. 1200 cars out of 1800 were already sold when production ended in May, while the final 600 ‘Spots’ were all said to be hunted down and snapped up within weeks.
Not too shabby for a car that was laughed at by some petty journalists who obviously knew better…