Do you want tree-mendous ride? Wooden Citroen 2CV sells for record $225,000

Carpenter Michel Robillard crafted the iconic vehicle's wings out of walnut and its chassis from pear and apple tree wood


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A handbuilt wooden 2CV Citroen Car. — AFP file
A handbuilt wooden 2CV Citroen Car. — AFP file

Published: Mon 5 Jun 2023, 1:43 PM

Last updated: Mon 5 Jun 2023, 1:46 PM

A Citroen 2CV made of wood, thought to be the only one of its kind, has sold for 210,000 euros ($225,000) at auction in France, setting a new price record for the iconic vehicle.

The car, in full working order and registered in France, beat expectations when it went under the hammer in the central town of Tours on Sunday.

The body of the 2CV was hand-crafted out of wood with the same famous curves as the post-war French classic.

It was snapped up by Paris-based collector Jean-Paul Favand, who owns a museum of vintage fairground attractions.

"I'm having difficulty talking after this bet," Favand told AFP by telephone afterwards.

The auction house had issued a guide price of 150,000-200,000 euros, saying it was "much more than a car -- it's a work of art".

Auctioneer Aymeric Rouillac declared the sale a record as he brought down the hammer.

The previous high for a 2CV was set in 2016, when an extremely rare 1961 2CV Sahara in almost mint condition was sold for 172,800 euros by Paris-based auction house Artcurial.

Carpenter Michel Robillard crafted the wooden 2CV's wings out of walnut and its chassis from pear and apple tree wood.

He used a single block of cherry wood for the bonnet, shaped with just chisels and sandpaper.

Robillard told AFP he spent five years and approximately 5,000 hours creating the car, beginning in 2011.

"It's like my daughter," he said as he polished the vehicle before the auction. "I had three boys and this was my little daughter."

The 2CV — which stands for "deux chevaux", meaning "two horsepower" — was launched in 1948 as Citroen's answer to the Volkswagen Beetle.

Robillard's model is equipped with an original engine from Citroen's later 3CV model, giving it the extra power needed to propel the naturally heavier wooden structure.

He said he had another "crazy project" in mind for the next few years.

He intends to make a wooden version of another French classic -- the Citroen DS, which in 2025 will celebrate 70 years of existence.

A woodworker since the age of 14, Robillard began making miniature wooden replicas of the world's famous automobiles in the 1990s.

He has won several prizes for his intricate work, including for a Harley Davidson motorcycle and its sidecar, which took more than 500 hours to complete.

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