The Citroën 2CV (French: deux chevaux vapeur, literally "two steam horses", from the tax horsepower rating) was an economy car produced by the French automaker Citroën from 1949 to 1990. It is considered one of their most iconic cars. It was described in the book Drive On!: A Social History of the Motor Car by longtime CAR magazine columnist the late LJK Setright as "the most intelligent application of minimalism ever to succeed as a car." It was designed for low cost, simplicity, versatility, reliability, and off-road driving. For this it had a light, easily serviceable engine, extremely soft long travel suspension (with adjustable ride height), high clearance, and for oversized loads a car-wide canvas sunroof (which until 1960 also covered the boot). Between 1948 and 1990 3,872,583 2CVs were produced, plus 1,246,306 camionettes (small 2CV trucks), as well as spawning mechanically identical vehicles like the Ami, Dyane, Acadiane, and Mehari.
The 2CV belongs to a very short list of vehicles introduced right after World War II that remained relevant and competitive for many decades — in the case of the 2CV, 42 years.
Pierre-Jules Boulanger's early 1930s design brief – said by some to be astonishingly radical for the time – was for a low-priced, rugged "umbrella on four wheels" that would enable two peasants to drive 100 kg (220 lb) of farm goods to market at 60 km/h (37 mph), in clogs and across muddy unpaved roads if necessary. France at that time had a very large rural population, who had not yet adopted the automobile, due to its cost. The car would use no more than 3 litres of gasoline to travel 100 km. Most famously, it would be able to drive across a ploughed field without breaking the eggs it was carrying. Boulanger later also had the roof raised to allow him to drive while wearing a hat.