Home » Let’s Appreciate This Iconic Citroën 2CV Image With The Grandfather Clock: Cold Start

Let’s Appreciate This Iconic Citroën 2CV Image With The Grandfather Clock: Cold Start

Cs 2cv Clock 1
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See that image up there? I think of that as one of the most iconic images in all of automotivenessitude. Here in America, it’s a bit less well known, but even so, I think for almost anyone interested in cars, there’s a spark plug of recognition that fires when we see a car carrying a vertically-oriented grandfather clock, and that spark of recognition finds its way back here, to this 1963 Citroën brochure. It’s such a wonderful and evocative image, something that’s both whimsical and a remarkably good demonstration of the remarkable flexibility and usefulness of the Deux Cheveaux.

Whomever the art designer was that first came up with the concept for this photoshoot was really an unsung hero of the art. This wasn’t the usual well-packed trunk image, with stacks of suitcases tetris’d into every available nook and cranny in a car’s trunk, this was an image that embraced and reveled in the inherent chaos of reality, one that really understood that the stuff-hauling test of a car wasn’t about neatly geometric boxes and cases, but instead about things with complex, unforgiving shapes, with limbs and pointy prongs and delicate bits and proportions that made a mockery of any rational trunk.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

But here the 2CV’s incredible ability to let itself be opened and gutted until it was just a loose framework on a wheeled platform came into play, allowing for crap-hauling stunts like this:

Cs 2cv Clock 6

Oh, our antiques collector or whatever he does is not done yet! Not even close!

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Cs 2cv Clock 7

Ever wonder what all that crap in there is? The old brochure was nice enough to show a little inventory:

Cs 2cv Clock 2

Look at all that wonderful crap, birdcages and archaic bicycles and gramophones and puti and dressmaker dummies and either a coatrack or an elegant, impractical grappling hook, all sorts of hard-to-haul shit. And yet the 2CV swallows it like a champ!

Cs 2cv Clock 3

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Could you drive on the highway at highway speeds like this? I mean, can any 2CV really crank at highway speeds? Barely. And in this form, it’d be really open and windy. But at city speeds? Hell yeah you can!

Also, as an aside; this other page from the brochure really made me think, too: look how completely you could wash these things:

Cs 2cv Clock 4

Jeeps always brag about their ability to take off doors easily and all that, but the 2CV was right there, too. There’s something so appealing about a car that can be stripped down so easily like this. Is there any modern car like this? I guess a Wrangler is closest?

Cs 2cv Clock 5

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Okay, back to the iconic grandfather clock sticking out of a 2CV roof; if you don’t believe me that it’s something of a visual icon, just look up there – it has multiple Lego recreations! And, and and, look at this – in the UK version of Antiques Roadshow, a 2CV with grandfather clock appears in the opening credits:

2cv Clock 8

This is A Thing. 2CVs and grandfather clocks. These were effectively how the 2CV did active aero. Also, I bet a skilled driver could use the pendulum as some sort of handling enhancement, too.

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Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
9 days ago

> Whomever

Nope, just whoever.

Images 1 and 2: As if by miracle, it welcomes what any other car would turn away, be it long, tall, or wide. How accommodating!

Image 3: Some day you may need to carry bulky/awkward objects.

Image 4: It can hold, carry, and transport. No fussy packaging. Its suspension ensures that everything reaches its destination in one piece, even the most fragile.

Image 5: It’s simple (a child could drive it), it’s practical (its interior surfaces and carpeting can be hosed down)

I don’t fully understand what “no fussy packaging” means here. I think it means you don’t need to pack your cargo in complicated ways just to fit into the car?

Last edited 9 days ago by Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
9 days ago

Bentley: “For an extra $160,000 you can option your Bentayga with a Breitling Mulliner Tourbillon.”

Citroën: “I’m so glad you brought this into the dealership today – while the market for 2CVs of this particular era has softened recently, with some tasteful restoration I can see this bringing as much as $10,000-$12,000 in the right auction. However, your timepiece is highly desirable amongst collectors of long-case clocks, and for insurance purposes I would give a conservative valuation of $40,000-$50,000.”

SonOfLP500
SonOfLP500
9 days ago

This is my favourite “Citroen with a lot of stuff in it” picture. The genius of Hergé.

http://dardel.info/tintin/Castafiore55.jpg

Guido Sarducci
Guido Sarducci
9 days ago

I assume this is Sport Chrono optioned 2CV?

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
9 days ago

I need a full size pickup just to move my doomsday clock. That and my cup of take out coffee.

Alan Bradley
Alan Bradley
9 days ago

I love the 2CV. I’ve even owned a 2CV, but when it comes to this kind of thing then you just can’t beat the Renault 4 Fourgonnet/Van with its “Giraffe hatch”.

Black Peter
Black Peter
9 days ago

Beatle taillight level pedantry incoming:
This is a “long case clock” likely in the style of a Bornholm, though matching some French designs. While “grandfather” is generically used to describe a long case clock, grandfathers are know for the ornate scroll work and finials on the top. Grandmothers are shorter and have curved tops some scroll work, but imagine the grandfather as tall with a beard and handlebar moustache and the grandmother as shorter and with a prim bun.

Ham On Five
Ham On Five
9 days ago
Reply to  Black Peter

This. Is why I’m an Autopian.
Thank you!

Black Peter
Black Peter
9 days ago
Reply to  Ham On Five

lol You’re welcome!

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
9 days ago
Reply to  Black Peter

Beatle taillight level pedantry

John, Paul, George, or Ringo?

(Or Pete Best or George Martin?)

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
9 days ago

I seem to recall having read a column by DED Jr ages ago about his Wife’s Grande-Mère loading up her Fiat Topolino with as much luggage as it could hold, plus a large oriental carpet, a cat and her daughter and driving to the South of France to outrun the Nazis.

Seems reasonable to show a lighthearted version of this capability in post-war French marketing…

….which leads us to the Volvo 240 wagons and Saab 900 hatchbacks displayed in IKEA entrances in the 80’s, loaded up with all kinds of flatpack furniture (shown assembled in a nearby furniture display)

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
9 days ago

I find it hard to believe that the weight of the clock and the wind resistance and the lever arm it represents wouldn’t flip a moving 2cv or at least cause it to pop a wheelie.

SLM
SLM
9 days ago

Wind resistance ? In a 2 CV ?

Ottomottopean
Ottomottopean
9 days ago

The grandfather clock is cool and all and maybe even unique to the Citroen. My question though is, why is there always a bird cage in these pics? Are they just an easy representation of stuff that’s difficult to fit anywhere or were there so many people during mid century times that had birds?

Such an oddly specific type of decor if they just had the cage for display reasons.

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
9 days ago
Reply to  Ottomottopean

I think they’re just bulky items that can’t be squished to fit, for illustrative purposes.

But it does seem like ornamental bird cages used to be a much bigger part of pop culture, like “two guys carrying a sheet of plate glass across the street” or alum making someone’s mouth shrivel into a little butthole sphincter.

Last edited 9 days ago by Jonathan Hendry
A. Barth
A. Barth
9 days ago
Reply to  Ottomottopean

They are also (mostly) transparent so you can see what’s behind them.

Geoff Buchholz
Geoff Buchholz
9 days ago

Torch, thank you for regularly sharing the artistry and whimsy of French car literature. These images always put me in a great mood and leave me thinking of the Ratatouille soundtrack, in a good way. Allons-y!

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
9 days ago

You think that 2CV is stripped down? The bonnet/hood just slides off to the side, and a few bolts hold the front wings/fenders on giving you fantastic access to the engine. What little engine there is. The rear wings/fenders are held on with just a few screws too. Parts car to actual car takes half an hour.

I drove mine to the beach once with three passengers standing and waving in the back. It did not handle well, and I got nowhere near 60mph out of it like that. Fun though, as long as no one has a crash.

A grandfather clock is handy in a 2CV: no clock on the dash.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
9 days ago

That’s the most entertaining grandfather clock since Captain Kangaroo.

Hamish48
Hamish48
9 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

in loving memory of Mr. Greenjeans

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
9 days ago

Didn’t the advertising for the GM Envoy XUV utilize the clock at one point too?

Maymar
Maymar
9 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

I swear I remember that too, but the closest I can find is a bookcase being hauled upright for no particular reason. Something, something Mandela effect.

Flyingstitch
Flyingstitch
9 days ago

That painting is positioned to look like a child pressed against the glass, and it’s disconcerting.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
9 days ago

A grandfather clock is the elegant way to measure a 2CV’s rate of acceleration.

DubblewhopperInDubblejeopardy
DubblewhopperInDubblejeopardy
9 days ago

Are those stripper poles? Cirque du Citroen….

Last edited 9 days ago by DubblewhopperInDubblejeopardy
Geoff Buchholz
Geoff Buchholz
9 days ago

Because it can can-can!

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
9 days ago

You mean the brass ones, right? Never seen stripper poles with that much texture…

I’ll let you mind go wherever your mind goes with that comment.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
9 days ago

I drove a coworker home in my Geo Tracker one time. She was in the passenger seat with a ~6` tall potted plant in her lap and poking through the sunroof. That’s about all I have to add.

Tim Cougar
Tim Cougar
9 days ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

I once saw a Great Dane riding in a Saturn Vue with its head poking out the sunroof.

Jbavi
Jbavi
9 days ago
Reply to  Tim Cougar

I once saw an Audi A8 with 3 very long 2x4s poking forward out of the sunroof

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
9 days ago
Reply to  Tim Cougar

I was on the Shuto Expressway in Japan and was passed by a Toyota HiAce Super Custom Living Saloon with two children’s heads poking out of the central sunroof.

The Japanese do things differently.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
9 days ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

I drove a potted lemon tree home in the back seat of my Mercedes-Benz CLK.
Convertibles are far more practical than one expects.

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
9 days ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

I hauled a 50gal water heater home from Lowes in my Tracker. Roof off, strapped to the roll bar, 60mph on I-75. Another time it was one of those plastic garden sheds made of blow-molded sides that snapped together and I carried it the same way from Augusta Georgia to Greenville SC. Got caught in the rain that time though.

God, I miss that car.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
9 days ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

My neighbour came home one day with a full length extension ladder sticking out of the back of his Audi TT.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
9 days ago

Transported a 5′ stuffed giraffe home via the sunroof of my ’97 Accord. Got some odd looks that day.

Not as odd as the looks I got from the people on horseback when we transported an old toilet in a Radio Flyer wagon. My kid (about 5 at the time) was sitting on the throne…

A. Barth
A. Barth
9 days ago

It’s the automotive equivalent of the brown paper grocery bag with the baguette and celery sticking out the top.

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
9 days ago

Slide out the passenger seat and store it upside down facing backwards behind the driver’s seat, and that tall clock would only stick out a foot or something, but it wouldn’t look so cool and iconic..

Did the same thing in my 1953 Beetle once, and had room for a whole extra VW engine with exhaust “und alles” beside me on the way home 😎

Last edited 9 days ago by Jakob K's Garage
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