Who likes honesty? Nobody? Too bad! So, tomorrow morning really early I’m heading out to Los Angeles for our big LA Auto Show Extravaganza. All this past week and weekend we’ve been scrambling to get things done, and I’ve had to make a bunch of big wall art and there’s still so much more to do. And I really should do another post. But I’m kind of exhausted, which may be why my addled mind dragged up a strange memory of an oddly morose French animated film, and the peculiarly mutated Citroën 2CVs driven by the bad guys (méchants, as the French would say, or at least as my computer thinks the French would say). I looked it up, and the movie I barely remembered was called The Triplets of Bellville, from 20 years ago! Holy crap. Anyway, I found the Citroëns, and I think they’re weird enough to talk about, a bit.
The movie is actually animated in a really lovely way, full of odd exaggerations of scale and proportion, but wildly detailed. IMCDB of course has the full list, but you can see some examples here, like Fiat 500s and Renault 4CVs and Citroën H-vans and BMW 502s and tons more.
But, like I said, the cars that stuck in my head were the Citroën 2CVs driven by the gangsters, all identical and all very strangely distorted. Here’s the big car chase scene with them, where they don’t really fare too well at all:
See those things! They’re bonkers! Look:
Simply choosing a 2CV for the bad-guy car is an unexpected choice, as they’re almost always associated with friendliness and humbleness and being somewhat comical – the idea of a sinister, imposing Deux Chaveaux is a hard thing to wrap your head around. And that could be why the car is so mutated, with that impossibly long hood, stretched from behind the front fenders to the A-pillar of the cabin.
Now, this sort of hood implies a huge engine; if the regular 2CV had two opposed cylinders, this thing must be a flat-20, at least, right? This should be a 20CV! But then when you think about a 2CV’s engine, you may recall that it’s mounted ahead of the front axle, which it drives. If you were to extend it and keep the front-drive layout, it would have to extend in front of the front axle, not behind it. I mean, if you want to see what a 2CV drivetrain normally looks like, I can certainly show you:
See what I mean? So what kind of engine is going on under that long hood? Thankfully, the movie shows us exactly what is going on:
Nothing. Or, rather, almost nothing. These Gangster 2CVs have the same flat-twin engine way up front, and then just incredibly long steering columns and gearshift shafts to fill all that space.
It does appear that the battery is still close to the firewall, though,
This makes me love these absurd cars even more, because it reveals that it’s all for show, a bit of theater, a scam, and these 2CVs are just as slow as normal ones. Well, probably slower, because of the extra weight, and definitely more cumbersome to maneuver, as that chase showed. There’s zero good reason for them to be like that, except for the look, which certainly is striking.
I wonder if they can use any of that space for extra luggage?
They’re early 2CVs, too, with ripple-bonnets and all-canvas trunk lids. The Latin “IN VINO VERITAS” license plate (it means, you know, drunk people tell the truth) must have some significance I can’t recall, too.
Damn. This is the Frenchest French thing I’ve ever Frenched on here.