Here’s your chance to hit the desert in a twin-engined ’80s Citroën 2CV rally car
Americans looking to head south of the border for some racing may consider a VW Beetle as an ideal platform for building a desert-taming runabout. However, if you’re French, and south-of-the-border racing would take you beyond Spain and all the way to Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, then you could easily wind up building a Citroën 2CV. That’s what racer and fabricator Jack Hanon did in the 1980s.
Hanon’s plan to compete in the 1800-mile Rallye de l’Atlas in Morocco involved an homage to the twin-engine Citroën Sahara. His kooky racer began with twin Citroën Ami frames that were cut apart and welded together to mount a pair of 1.3-liter flat-four engines from the larger Citroën GSA. The twin air-cooled mills produce a total of 130 hp—plenty of grunt for the 1785-pound, fiberglass-bodied 2CV racer.
Relocating a front-wheel-drive drivetrain to power the rear wheels is a neat trick. It’s how we got the Pontiac Fiero, Toyota MR2, and Lotus Elise, just to name a few. Of course, adding a second powertrain adds some complexity, but the arrangement also means that, if one engine failed, the 2CV could rely on the other engine to chug through the desert and avoid being stranded. Citroën made the unusual drivetrain work in the Sahara and Hanon made it work to his advantage as well—the car served as his off-road racer into the 1990s.
We featured this Citroën last year, and it’s every bit as cool and unique now. The car’s restoration to its 1985 glory holding up well; the only thing that’s changed is its for-sale status. Want to own a share of international rallying history? Head over to Bonhams. The 2CV is currently located in Holland, but it’s proven it can go the distance if you need to traverse some difficult terrain to bring it to your garage.