Watch out for the duck!

One of the cars sold by Citroen over the years has been the 2cv6, although the 6 doesn't mean six cylinders of course. However, a 2cv eight cylinder does exist and even if Citroen never thought of building it, somebody else did. While tidying up a friend's garage Marco Klaassen came across a V8 and that's when strange things began to happen...

Marco Klaassen had some previous experience tuning up Citroen 2cv cars. It was lots of fun driving a 2CV fitted with a four cylinder GS motor, outpacing and annoying other fast drivers. A similar car was used in a Bond movie, by the way. But a GS boxer motor doesn't deliver more than 60 to 65 hp and Marco, with the V8 he had come across in mind, decided to find out how far he could take it. And he took it very far indeed, as far as a Citroen 2CV V8 ! The 5.7 liter Oldsmobile V8, delivering 280 hp had been overhauled and had only done about 1500 miles when the car around it was smashed to bits. Lying in Marco's garage was this 1962 2CV body, and as it was still in pretty good shape he decided to use it as a basis for his V8. There is no way you can fit a V8 in a Citroen 2CV! Or is there? Marco proved it can be done. By utilising every inch of space he managed to squeeze the fat V8 under the bonnet of the 2CV. It's true, the radiator sits in front of the front axle and the motor protrudes inside the car, where the automatic three speed, operated with a shifter, reaches up to the front seats, which are sitting way back toward the rear of the car.....but who cares!

40.000 guilders, six girlfriends

At first sight this 2CV with the typical corrugated iron bonnet looks like a restored period car with 16 hp under the bonnet. Only the width of the rear tyres and the deep growl of the motor reveal that it is really a wolf in sheep's clothing. Don't be mistaken however.
It took Marco, a former aircraft mechanic, three years of hard work, 40.000 guilders and six girlfriends to get the job done. However much the 2CV may look like the real thing, in reality it's quite the reverse. It has a specially made undercarriage and the job of welding it together was mainly done by Eric Bauer who also provided the V8. The chassis is made of 2mm steel plate with a rustproof powder coating and fitted up with parts from the most diverse manufacturers. The radiator has been taken from a Ford Granada and fits neatly under the bonnet. The front axle comes from an Opel Commodore and the rear axle, with 85 percent lock, from a Ford. The rear axle had to be drastically shortened to make room for the wide rim tyres, which have to convert the huge engine output to road power. Yes, this is a rear wheel drive 2CV all right ! To preserve its original looks and to keep the element of surprise the decision was made not to broaden the rear wings. The rear axle is equipped with size 215/60-15 Goodyear Eagles, but even 40 cm tyres would fit. The front tyres are a 'little' bit smaller, but 145-15 is still an inch wider than on a normal 2CV. The rear wheels have been made from (widened) Citroen wheel rims with Chevrolet wheels at its core. Because of the original 2CV chrome hubcaps the different core is hardly noticeable. The rear suspension did service on a Jaguar before and the adjustable shock absorbers are from Koni. Of course this car hugs the corners tight, it doesn't scrape the road in bends like your run of the mill 2CV.

Porsche colour

Stopping the car is done with the aid of Opel disc brakes at the front and massive Volvo discs at the rear and power assistance comes from Mazda. The hand brake is something else. Lack of space made Marco opt for a disc brake on the propeller shaft, operated by a Mini hand brake lever. The heater comes from a Mini as well. Space for the battery was found in the rear, in a specially made compartment. The petrol tank, segmented and made from stainless steel has been designed by Marco as well. Steering housing and steering column come from different Opel cars. The exterior of the 2CV is very deceptive because it looks so much like an ordinary car. The windscreen has been replaced by one with laminated glass. "It only cost me a fiver, it was well worth the investment", says Marco. The colour presented a bit of a problem. It was impossible to get hold of the original 2CV yellow that Marco had set his sights on. So he opted for a Porsche colour instead which, incidentally, suits the performance of this car. Besides, this Sahara yellow comes pretty close to the original 2CV colour and that's what matters. Fred van Doodewaard from The Hague did a perfect spray painting job on this car.

Eight cylinder sound system

Inside, the car looks anything but the original. The Sparco bucket seats and the six point full Harness safety belts keep you strapped in. There is a definite smell of car racing here. Sitting on the back seat is out of the question for the simple reason that the car has none. The roll bar made from thick drawn steel tubing leaves no room for it. The dashboard, especially made from aircraft aluminium has a 'somewhat' extended instrument panel as compared to a normal 2CV and the American gauges make it look like a NASCAR racer. Hi-fi equipment doesn't come standard on Marco's car, but there is an eight cylinder sound system under the bonnet. Marco doesn't drive his car on the road very often, but when he does it can be hilarious. There was this time when he pulled up to stop at a traffic light, his 2CV V8 towing a substantial caravan. Waiting next to him was this awfully smooth and fast looking Golf GTI. When the light turned green, the occupants must have been scarred for life when they watched the 2CV plus caravan tearing away, engine roaring. Which brings us to performance. 0-60 takes about four seconds. Maximum speed is somewhat harder to determine, because over a 110 the canvas roof threatens to launch itself and fly off into space. So, for safety reasons Marco hasn't taken it beyond a 115, but according to his calculations the maximum speed lies somewhere between 140 and 150 miles per hour. The greatest sensation with this 2CV V8, however, is driving it on the motorway, doing 90, tailing the car in front and then overtake at breakneck speed with the sound of the V8 going full blast. This car, for the record, weighs 1040 kg, about twice as much as the original. How about the MOT? No problem, thanks to the people at Perry's Car Engineering in Eindhoven. They made the 2CV V8 pass all its tests effortlessly, turning it into a perfect roadworthy car.

This article was published in the magazine GTI Tuning & Design in Januari 98.

There is also a sound file (wav 1,1 mb) available where you can sample the awesome sound of this 2CV.