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2CV

Citroen 2CV and scarecrow [Alamy image ref: AGBHJN]

The slightly frantic sound of a Citroen 2CV accelerating leaves you with enough time to grab a camera, change a lens maybe, check the settings, focus and frame, then fire off a series of shots before the subject disappears from view… such is the pace of the French voiture affectionally known to Brits as the “Tin Snail”.

The design brief for the “deux chevaux” (literally ‘two horse power’) was basically for a cheap mode of motorised transport that would have robust enough for a typical peasant farmer to drive to market with his wife and a pig in the back and a basket of eggs on the front seat… the kicker being that as he would probably drive across a ploughed field to get there, the basket of eggs had to survive the journey without breaking! Which they would have done… when you get a puncture with a 2CV, the suspension is so soft and saggy you can jack the side of the car two feet off the ground but the flat tire will still be touching the tarmac.

This red and green 2CV was carrying a scarecrow to a wedding… no need to ask the gender, but it seems to be a French tradition to depict the bride-to-be in this manner – perhaps an unkind warning to the groom after the previous evening’s stag-night celebrations and commiserations. But is presented a jolly scene passing under my hotel window decked out in sunflowers, straw and the scary figure propped up on the back seat… all that was missing was a pink pig!

From memory it was shot at around 20mm with my 14~24mm f/2.8 Nikkor wide-angle zoom at 1/60th and f/5.6… and sold soon afterward to a consumer magazine in Germany with a 10,000 print run.

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