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Bijou the English 2 CV

2CV Index

Above original concept art for the Bijou

The conservative British public found the 2 CV far too outrageous and agricultural and thus the Slough factory launched the plastic bodied Bijou at the London Motor Show in October 1959. 

The picture above is of a prototype; production models featured a wider grill as shown in the picture on the right.

The pretty 2 door body weighed more than the standard 2 CV thereby rendering its acceleration even more glacial than that of the normal 2 CV although thanks to superior aerodynamics, its top speed was higher.

The body was made of polyester reinforced resin glass fibre designed by Peter Kirwan-Taylor who also designed the Lotus Elite. and the car used the two cylinder 425 cc 12 bhp engine from the 2CV.
A total of 207 were produced between 1959 and 1964, plus 2 prototypes.
The Motor magazine tested a Bijou in 1961 and measured a top speed of 44.7 mph (71.9 km/h) with 0-40 mph (64 km/h) in 41.7 seconds. Fuel consumption of 59.5 miles per imperial gallon (4.75 l/100 km; 49.5 mpg-US) was recorded.
The test car cost £695 including taxes which was considered expensive by contemporary testers.

The steering wheel and interior door handles were borrowed from the D series.

It has long been rumoured that the windscreen was the tailgate window from the Safari but this is incorrect.

Contemporary comparisons*

BIJOU

2CV

Top speed

50.3 mph

47.2 mph

Acceleration 0-40 mph

31.3 secs

27 secs

Standing quarter mile

31.6 secs

31.1 secs

Fuel consumption at constant 40 mph

62.3 mpg

54 mpg

Kerb weight

11.9 cwt

10.5 cwt

Wheelbase

7ft 7ins

7ft 7ins

Track

4ft 1in

4ft 1in

Width

5ft 1in

4ft 10ins

Length

12ft 11ins

12ft 4ins

Height

4ft 10ins

5ft 3ins

* Source not known but probably Autocar magazine since the performance figures are different from the Motor magazine figures quoted above
© 1997 and 2001 Julian Marsh - thanks to Stephen Cooper and Ken Smith