Oh, I thought I'd mention to you..You might consider getting Brad Penn or Joe Gibbs oil from now on. The commercially available motor oils have had the good lubricants removed. Banned. Zinc/Phosphorous - the good stuff..soft zinc and the ingredients to lubricate between the upper cylinders and pistons. And other parts. A friend of mine told me. He has a high-performance boat and had the engine custom modified. The place who does the mods told him they will only warranty their engines if they contain Brad Penn oil. Brad Penn oil comes from an oil refinery in Pennsylvania that's been around like a hundred years. Anyway, I asked him, "How can they make the oil still with the good stuff in it?". He said "It's for off-road use only." I wasn't willing to go with the commercially available stuff -it means significantly reduced engine life and significantly increased costs.
"..And the eight and final rule: If this is your first time at Fight Club, you have to fight."
'Men are meant to be with women. The rest is perversion and mental illness.'
I have a fascination for people who lovingly care for dowdy, pedestrian cars. I think it's because I know that it makes no financial sense whatsoever (vs., say, restoring a Ford GT40 like the one pictured above) so their motivation is love, sentimental value and/or nostalgia.
Almost exactly 65 years ago to the day (October 7) the production version of the Citroën 2CV was shown at the Salon de l'automobile de Paris.
(I would have saved this for October 7th but I probably would have forgotten. )
What the Volkswagen did for Germany and the Fiat 500 did for Italy, the Citroën 2CV did for France: it motorized a nation. In post-war France fuel was scarce, roads were in extremely poor condition, factories were in shambles, and an entire nation (much like the rest of continental Europe) was seeing a great resurgence in the popularity of horse-drawn vehicles.
Citroën had been known for their technical innovation before the war, particularly in the few years before war broke out when they released the Traction-Avant: the first affordable, mainstream front-wheel-drive car in the world. (Front-drive had been done before but only in limited production or in very high-end cars like the 1929 Ruxton and Cord L-29.)
After the war the French middle-class didn't have the money for Traction-Avants, nor did Citroën—the development costs were so high the company went bankrupt in 1934—and the farmers and other rural folk seldom bought automobiles before the war to begin with. Citroën had seen a hole in the market for a very affordable car for the average rural Frenchman. They just needed to figure out how to make one such that it would make a profit for the company.
The market research they conducted in the 1930s concluded that the new car, the Toute Petite Voiture ("Very Small Car"), had to meet the following design requirements:
- carry four passengers
- carry at least 50 kg of cargo
- travel at least 50 km/h
- use no more than 3 L/100 km of fuel (or for those who are less metrically inclined, 78 mpUSg)
- have a smooth enough ride such that a farmer could drive the car over a ploughed field without breaking the farmer's cartons of eggs as he took them to market
The solution required an extremely minimalist approach. Like the Traction-Avant it would be front-wheel-drive which would allow for a larger passenger cabin. Instead of the Traction-Avant's conventional four-cylinder engines the new car would use a horizontally-opposed two-cylinder engine, not unlike something that would have been seen in a motorcycle. The body and chassis would be made of aluminum and magnesium to keep the car as light as possible. Weight was the enemy in achieving the fuel economy goal. The roof was canvas, there was only one headlight and they didn't provide an electric starter.
It was not a pretty car to say the least.
After Germany invaded France in 1940 the Citroën managers ordered the prototypes hidden throughout Europe. They feared the design, if discovered, could have been used by the Nazis to produce a new war vehicle not unlike the Germans' own Kübelwagen.
Despite the war, and despite having to keep all knowledge of the project hidden, work continued on refining the design of the TPV. The water-cooled engine of the prototype was replaced with an air-cooled version of similar design. Electric starter was provided as a concession to the sensibilities of female customers, who found crank starting difficult and awkward. The body had to be redesigned entirely, in steel instead of aluminum and magnesium, given that the cost of the more exotic metals was rising dramatically and would stay high after the war.
It was not until the autumn of 1948 that the final production version of the car, known as 2CV after the French vehicle tax band it fell within, debuted. Even though the car had been completely redesigned to have a steel body it was still fantastically light; only 560 kg (~1200 lb). The 375 cc air-cooled, two-cylinder engine—mounted waaaay out front—produced a paltry 9 hp. The original prototypes' torsion bar suspension had been replaced with a simpler coil spring layout. Simple, but unconventional.
The front and rear wheels were mounted to simple trailing arms, and the arms were connected by pull-rods to the springs, which lay within a horizontally-mounted tube on each side of the car.
This allowed the suspension arms to have long paths of travel and very low spring rates to keep those farmers' eggs from breaking. It also had the side effect of making the car lean unbelievably far in corners. The car's centre of gravity was much lower than one would have expected as a result of the low-mounted engine, and despite pitching over to a comical degree the car was very sure-footed and not prone to rolling over. This was also helped by the car's tires, a new design by Michelin (Citroën's parent company at the time). The 2CV was the first car with radial-belted tires, something most cars (particularly in North America) wouldn't have until the 1980s.
The seats were also softly sprung and supremely light. Instead of being filled with horse hair and covered with a thick leather hide like most cars at the time they were more akin to a lawn chair. In fact they were removable and could be used as such, for when the family went on a picnic.
Despite the never-ending derision for being too ugly and preposterously minimalistic the car remained on sale for 42 years.
I bet you thought you'd never have a car like the Citroën 2CV to thank for radial tires...