An extremely rare Citroën 2CV made of wood is set to be sold at auction next month.
It is the labour of love of French carpenter Michel Robillard.
From its hubcaps to its doors and its bumpers to its bodywork, wood is everywhere on this car, already one of France’s most iconic vehicles.
It is hoped the car will fetch up to €200,000 and break the world record for the sale price of a 2CV, which stands at €176,000.
Mr Robillard, 74, started his remarkable project in 2011. It first took six months to design drawings of the car, a reproduction of a 1955 model.
The rest of the time was spent crafting the car for which four different wood types were used, walnut tree for the wings and pear, apple and cherry wood trees for the body. All in all, it took 5,000 hours of patient work.
The wings were completed using more than 60 pieces of tailored wood and the exterior was finished using an electronic plane and a heavy dose of elbow grease.
However, when Mr Robillard started driving it in 2017, he fixed a 3CV engine.
The car has since toured museums and car fairs and was long featured in La Belle Lochoise, a museum dedicated to twenty of his creations in Sennevières (Indre-et-Loire), central France.
He told French radio station France Bleu that the decision to sell was made after his wife died four months ago.
“The day of the auction will be even harder. It is a part of my life,” he said.
The car will be auctioned on June 4 at the Château d’Artigny in Montbazon (Indre-et-Loire) by Rouillac auction company.
Aymeric Rouillac, chief auctioneer and director of the auction company, told The Connexion: “He is an extraordinary man but with a great modesty, a modesty of the greats. He does not only share the face of Leonard de Vinci!”
He said the auction starting price was extremely hard to estimate given the uniqueness of the car.
“It has the potential to break the record,” he added.
But regardless, Robillard is already looking ahead. He now wants to build another of Citroën’s iconic models. This time it will be the DS21 Cabriolet in a tribute to the DS’ 70th anniversary in 2025, according to French regional newspaper L’Union.
French cultural icon
With more than five million made, the 2CV - nicknamed la deux chevaux, a reference to its two horsepower - is among France’s most popular cars. It is loved by French people for its simplicity and robustness.
A timeless classic, Citroën stopped production in 1990 after 41 years of service. But that does not mean its aura has faded, the car is a regular cultural reference, featuring on postage stamps and in movies, songs and video games.
It is often named among France’s most characteristic items along with the baguette, the Eiffel Tower and the beret.