Home » Meet The Crappiest Car I Was Ever Thrilled To See: Cold Start

Meet The Crappiest Car I Was Ever Thrilled To See: Cold Start

Cs Ies America 1
ADVERTISEMENT

I’ve been eager to see cars in all kinds of miserable conditions in my time here on this car-filled planet we call Earth, but I think the highest ratio of crappiness to urge to see a particular car happened when I was in a little town called Esquel, in the Patagonia area of Argentina. I was on a Mini-sponsored trip that would eventually take me all the way to the southern tip of South America, but at the moment this picture was taken, I was simply thrilled to be in physical contact with a car I never expected to see in person: an IES 3CV America.

Well, I guess if I’m really honest, what I’m seeing in person there is like 70 to 85% of an IES America, but that’s good enough for me. I’ve always been fascinated by these cars for a number of reasons. First, because they’re basically Citroën 2CVs, a car that’s been one of my favorites since, well, forever. But what I find really fascinating about these is the bizarre and pleasingly half-assed way IES (which stands for, in case you were wondering, INDUSTRIAS Eduardo SAL-LARI S.A.) attemped to update the archaic 2CV design into the 1980s.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

The 3CV America was introduced in 1986, and featured a number of pretty dramatic changes to the basic 2CV design. One big one was that instead of a trunk lid, a real, full-length hatchback was installed, making the car significantly more practical. You can see here on the one I saw how the hatch is now hinged above the rear window, where the rubber opening roof meets the metal of the hatch: Cs Ies America 2

The only evidence on this one are some holes where the headlights and grille would have gone, but the whole front end was updated as well.

Cs Ies America 3

ADVERTISEMENT

All the plastic bits are gone on the one I saw, but back in the day, this car’s face would have looked like this:

Cs Ies America Front

Look at that! Square headlights in plastic bezels, sort of integrated into the fenders! A black plastic grille, and a big black bumper with integrated indicators and sidelights! It’s so modern! And look at how modern the dash became:

 

Cs Ies America 4

ADVERTISEMENT

Holy crap, all that textured black plastic and rubber, those tweedy seats, all those indicator lights – this feels like a car of the ’80s! I will admit, I’m not entirely sure what was different in the Super America versions; I do know the cars had electronic ignition on the old Citroën air-cooled boxer twin engine, and I suspect there were other subtle modernizations. Also there are Ferraris named “Super America” too, so try not to get confused.

Here’s a nice one seen on video, so you can get the full sense of how much they tried to update these:

There’s something about the slapped-on nature of the ’80s-looking elements on this incredible iconic and archaic basic design that really appeals to me, in a deeply confusing way. I can’t say it’s exactly successful, but I can say I love it, so I think that’s good enough.

I’m so taken by these, I was genuinely thrilled to find that one, even in its incredibly rough and unfinished state. I’d like to think it’s been restored now, and is happily bopping around Argentina, running over ex-Nazis and eating nice thick steaks.

ADVERTISEMENT
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
39 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Luis Tombo
Luis Tombo
6 days ago

Full detailed video: you can set English subtitles https://youtu.be/pIskuj_1_Cs?si=CHqTQ8qZyvrIPY6a

Along with Martin, Dutch Gunderson, Lana and Sally Decker
Along with Martin, Dutch Gunderson, Lana and Sally Decker
9 days ago

I would like to inform my fellow Autopians that there is a 468-mile 1988 Yugo for sale on Facebook Marketplace somewhere in the Philly area. The $20k asking price is probably why it has been posted for seven weeks.

EricTheViking
EricTheViking
9 days ago

I am very curious how the gearbox selector linkage in 3CV is rerouted.

The 2CV and its various derivations have the umbrella handle selector going horizontally through the firewall in the middle. You twist the rod left or right and slide it forward or backward to select the gears.

In 3CV, the selector is attached to the floor.

Luis Tombo
Luis Tombo
7 days ago
Reply to  EricTheViking

Actually it is not a 3CV thing. (writing from Argentina here) These IES America/Super America things as rebadges/wayyy past end of life cars being build locally after acquiring the used tooling from Citroen in an auction (AFAIK that was the story back then) were very rare, very low volume. Yes, floor shifter, completely different suspenstion, etc. were innovations from IES. And they failed very quickly. Nevertheless, the Argentina market Citroens were called 3CV Azam from 1969 onwards, incorporating non-suicide doors, different tail lights, a real hatch in the back, and the 602 cc engine instead of the 425 engine. Some of these changes aligned to features for other market, some don’t. https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citro%C3%ABn_2_CV#3CV

Luis Tombo
Luis Tombo
7 days ago
Reply to  EricTheViking

More info in english language wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citro%C3%ABn_2CV#Argentina

Elhigh
Elhigh
9 days ago

The “deux” part of 2CV was two, as in two equivalent horsepower via some arcane calculation of the French motovehicule tax assessment algorithm. What in the South American world renders this a 3CV? Is the biggest engine ever offered in the 2CV biggerized yet further?

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
9 days ago

What are the tabs sticking out of the headlight bezels? Aimers?

EricTheViking
EricTheViking
9 days ago

They are called “headlamp levelling control”, which is to move the reflectors down a bit to compensate for the load in the rear as not to blind or piss off the oncoming drivers. The drivers could use the wheel switch (right side of dial in Mercedes-Benz W123) on the dashboard to adjust the beam pitch electrically or by vacuum.

What you see on 3CV is the cheapest system that you have to step outside and slide the lever manually.

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
9 days ago

When I ran the ad through Google translator my blurry morning vision saw “Súper cambiado” as “Super charged” rather than “Super changed.” Damn that tiny descender on the n. And my old man eyes.

Last edited 9 days ago by Alan Christensen
MiniDave
MiniDave
9 days ago

Floor shifter instead of the thru the dash version?

Jonee Eisen
Jonee Eisen
9 days ago
Reply to  MiniDave

These were a new platform with a central tube chassis and different engine-gearbox arrangement. An anti-2CV 2CV.

Andrew Raffman
Andrew Raffman
9 days ago

From the video, it looks like it has an entirely different suspension from a 2cv.

Cyko9
Cyko9
9 days ago

It’s funny how with the updates, the finished car has a small ’80s quirkiness that still works.

Nycbjr
Nycbjr
9 days ago

I love that the fenders still have round headlight cut outs, they didn’t change the stamping, just grafted the plastic square headlights on! similar to the Jeep Grand Wagoneer of the 60’s-80s where they changed the grill but the stamping stayed the same

Olphaeus Megaletor
Olphaeus Megaletor
9 days ago

The biggest change from the 2CV that I see here is the conventional gearstick. I had a 2CV when I was a student in the 1990s and it had a gear lever that stuck out horizontally from the dashboard. To get it to change gear you had to push, pull, and turn the lever in ways that I don’t remember now.
That 2CV was so light that it once keeled over onto its side when my wife was going round a roundabout. Passersby helped her push it back upright onto its wheels, and off she went again. We learned that when we went to the supermarket (which meant navigating several roundabouts) we should always put the shopping bags on the floor of the car to keep the center of gravity low.
Also, the canvas roof once got ripped off by the slipstream of a moderately sized truck on a highway.
I’m not sure I would want to own another one. I’ve got staid in my old age.

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
9 days ago

Dang. Good that nobody was hurt! Guessing that the 2CV must’ve rolled up onto a curb and tipped over or went into a gutter & then rolled over or something was seriously messed up in the suspension system? While I have yet to drive a 2CV (it’s on my bucket list, ha) I’m given to understand that the 2CV is famously and extremely difficult to actually tip over (unless one does a rapid reverse J-turn):
https://youtu.be/fTE4Y_mDM50?si=pFN2TmGaiqsLET19 where they do succeed in tipping a 2CV but *only* by attempting the aforementioned reverse J-turn.
https://youtu.be/mcfVIicLidc?si=Qj-wXYIXrbk4XdNg where they put a 2CV Fourgonette through some remarkable and truly ludicrous maneuvers without tipping over at Goodwood.
https://youtube.com/shorts/Uct2jsNfYFI?si=hcN5dTRtp0kOLwwg where the presenter mentions that Citroën was so confident that they offered to give anyone who flipped a 2CV a new one for free and that he doesn’t know of any case of that ever happening.
Also guessing the canvas roof was already in tough shape when it got ripped off by the wind from the truck? I’m reminded of how when I was growing up convertibles were extremely common and how I knew people who would wait to replace their ragtops until they started getting ripped off at highway speeds or by the wind from passing trucks, lol. Yeah, the region where I grew up wasn’t exactly flush with cash. To save money people would order new ragtops from the Sears mail-order catalog. And I would see the occasional convertible driving around sans any canvas but with the convertible top frame still in place, rather an incongruous sight especially if it was something desirable such as an Oldsmobile 4-4-2.
Ha, yeah, can’t blame anyone for wanting uneventful transportation in their old age, lol. On one hand there’s something to be said for the adage that life is too short to drive boring cars and on the other hand it could be said that life is too short to be worrying about dealing with the vagaries of driving vintage cars…

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
9 days ago

The best (heh) part were the seats. Either spongy polyester or faux leather look perforated vinyl that made you sweat like a pig. Zero padding. Sitting three side by side in the back seat meant some poor kid had to sit in the middle and straddle the steel bar that made up the seat structure.

Toecutter
Toecutter
9 days ago

If I ever owned a 2CV or its later variants, I’d paint/decal it to look like a massive snail.

Then make it into an 11-second 1/4 mile or faster EV conversion with a tubbed out rear end and back tires at least as fat as a fat lady’s thighs(the latter part of this sentence is a Snow Crash reference, for those wondering).

I love weird, French cars.

Last edited 9 days ago by Toecutter
Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
9 days ago

As a previous owner of two 2CVs and one Dyane, I am pleased to see this 3CV design is about one third Dyane (integrated headlights and the hatchback) and two thirds 2CV (the rest…) 😀

Here 2CV (1948) and Dyane (1968) together in one shot:
https://www.hagerty.co.uk/articles/classic-car-reviews/french-bred-2cv-dyane-and-a-day-in-the-french-countryside/

Last edited 9 days ago by Jakob K's Garage
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
9 days ago

IIRC both the Deuche and the Eyane coexisted for decades, for some reason.

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

Just like with the (old) Mini and the Metro: The original outlived the replacement 😉

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
9 days ago

But did you leave a note on the windshield, Jason?

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
9 days ago

Black plastic and rubber. Are sure this isn’t the S&M model.

Leandro Pertusati
Leandro Pertusati
9 days ago

Those car were common back in the 80s, here in Argentina. They were a complete redesign of the 2cv, with a different chasis inspired in the old Lotus elan or europa. Industrias sal-lari bought the remains of citroen argentina when they left the country in the 70s and started to build the IES 3cv under licence. More interesting than the Súper América are the pick UP versión, called Gringo, and the Suv with all wheel drive, called Gringa.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
9 days ago

I’d be down to ride that red car. Throw some large chrome bucket headlights in there, ziptie an e30 kidney grill in between, and you got yourself a goin ta town rig. Everybody would smile & wave—and you’d be fairly safe as it’s high-visibility

Sid Bridge
Sid Bridge
9 days ago

Ford Pickup: You don’t look like you’re from around here.
IES 3CV: Oui.. I mean, Yes. I am typical American car.

ExAutoJourno
ExAutoJourno
9 days ago

Not quite an IKA Torino — one of my bucket-list cars to own — but cool nonetheless. If nothing else, it proves you can’t improve on 2CV Perfection. Unless you have a 2CV Sahara, that is.

Fun Fact: many years ago, I needed to find replacement tail light lenses for my ’53 Kaiser (which is another story). When I found a new-in-box pair, they came from Argentina. Kaiser production continued there for quite a few years after the U.S.operation shut down in 1955.

Last edited 9 days ago by ExAutoJourno
Ben
Ben
9 days ago
Reply to  ExAutoJourno

IKA Torino! I share the love for them. Still have the ’62 or ’63(?) Hot Rod Magazine that laid out the new OHC Willys motor that later went– in various forms– into those gorgeous cars.
Tornado FTW. And three sidedrafts. And a heck of a lot of power by the time they ended production.
Love them.

ExAutoJourno
ExAutoJourno
9 days ago
Reply to  Ben

IIRC, there were Torino ads featuring Fangio’s endorsement. And they were raced, too, apparently with some success.

Not bad for what was basically a Rambler American!

Argentine Utop
Argentine Utop
9 days ago
Reply to  ExAutoJourno

They were so successful when they debuted in Turismo de Carretera that they scored a 1-2-3 in their first race in 1967. They are still raced, in two guises: as a tube cage wrapped in modern stuff with only the roof resembing an original Torino, and as a completely new development imagined, designed and built by Argentine designers. I’m writing an article on that.

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
9 days ago

Sometimes, it feels like things are written just for me. Earlier this week a friend’s daughter went to Peru, and she is sending back pictures of all the French cars we don’t get here. In response I found your old article about the “southern most” junk yard in the world to send. she actually was disappointed that she’s in a different South American country now.

Clark B
Clark B
9 days ago

I was in Peru almost 10 years ago, back when I was in college. The amount of unfamiliar cars on the road was fascinating. Almost every taxi at the time was either an old Corolla wagon, or in smaller towns, tiny little Russian cars called Ticos. Handful of new Yarises in more popular/touristy areas. As an air-cooled VW guy, I was also thrilled to see so many Beetles on the roads. One morning I stepped out of our hostel to find the 6 of the 10 cars in the parking lot were Beetles. I spent a lot of time riding in my now-ex’s aunts car, a Kia Picanto. It was a perfectly acceptable, practical, form of transportation. Amusingly, I did see one street parked MKV GTI in Lima, the same car I owned at the time.

EricTheViking
EricTheViking
9 days ago
Reply to  Clark B

“…tiny little Russian cars called Ticos.”

Tico was produced by Daewoo in South Korea and exported to Perú where they were very popular as taxicabs (I hated them and refused to ride in one). So, they’re not Russian.

Clark B
Clark B
9 days ago
Reply to  EricTheViking

Someone probably told me that while I was there, and I never bothered to check to see if that’s where they actually came from, lol. I rode in several (just around the smaller towns in the sacred valley, mostly) and I loved seeing how their owners customized them.

Last edited 9 days ago by Clark B
Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
9 days ago

As a former 2CV owner (1979 rectangular headlight model) that looks all kinds of weird.

Is that a floor mounted shifter instead of the umbrella shifter? So weird.

Argentine Utop
Argentine Utop
9 days ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

The Super America variant included a 4 to the floor, eliminated the narrow flap below the windshield to enlarge the later, used electroinc ignition and replaced the old ladder frame chassis with a cental tube one, like a Lotus Europa.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
9 days ago
Reply to  Argentine Utop

I liked the windscreen slot, it gave you something to see through while you drove along waiting for 602cc of air cooled engine to demist the screen.

Argentine Utop
Argentine Utop
9 days ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

Tru dat.

Fjord
Fjord
9 days ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

Renault did the same with the R5 – early ones had a dash-mounted umbrella style but they quickly went to a floor shifter.

39
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x