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Hated by Top Gear star Jeremy Clarkson - but Norfolk loves a Citroen 2CV

PUBLISHED: 08:00 16 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:30 16 August 2018

Pete Sparrow in the Team Lion 97 car which he and team-mates David O’Keefe and Alec Graham will be hoping to take their fifth victory in a row in the 2CV 24 Hour race this weekend at Snetterton Picture: Martin Harrold/Team Lion

Pete Sparrow in the Team Lion 97 car which he and team-mates David O’Keefe and Alec Graham will be hoping to take their fifth victory in a row in the 2CV 24 Hour race this weekend at Snetterton Picture: Martin Harrold/Team Lion

Archant

It celebrates its 70th birthday this year, it’s big in Madagascar, has appeared in numerous Hollywood classics - and Jeremy Clarkson got his gig on Top Gear because of it.

It's in there somewhere Picture: ArchantIt's in there somewhere Picture: Archant

Whatever Jezzer thinks, most of us love the Citroen 2CV - the deux chevaux.

The 2CV has become a collector’s item, with its own fan club and is often the car of choice for adventurers ready to set out on lengthy pan-continental charity road trips and the like. And Madagascar? It’s the car of choice for the island’s taxi drivers.

Originally designed to persuade French farmers to upgrade from the horse and cart, more than 3.8m 2CVs were sold between 1948 and 1988.

Clarkson, the man who loves to put his toe down and feel the breeze blowing through his hair, said of the car: “I hate the 2CV. I absolutely loathe it. I got a job on the original Top Gear as a result of a screen test I did on the 2CV, but all I did was rant and rave for 20 minutes about how awful it was, and I could have gone on for a fortnight.”

2CV Endurance racing at Snetterton 
Picture: Archant2CV Endurance racing at Snetterton Picture: Archant

And people race them as well: the car that, in its road form, does 0-60 in half a day.

Enthusiasts will gather in Norfolk this weekend, with Snetterton hosting the latest 2CV day night event, with a couple of dozen 2CVs entered ready to thrash their 602cc engines around the venue. The action starts at 10.50am on Saturday with the main event flagged off at 5pm.

In north Norfolk, North Walsham High School is hosting the 2CVGB National Meeting, the annual get-together for owners of road-going 2CVs – it starts on Thursday and runs for four days.

2CV Endurance racing at Snetterton 
Picture: Archant2CV Endurance racing at Snetterton Picture: Archant

2CV racing in numbers:

– 3 or 4 drivers per car.

– 2 hours between refuelling.

– 20 litres of fuel go in at each pit stop.

2CV Endurance racing at Snetterton 
Picture: Archant2CV Endurance racing at Snetterton Picture: Archant

– 602cc engines.

– 45 bhp.

– 80mph top speed.

– 24 hours.

2CV Endurance racing at Snetterton 
Picture: Archant2CV Endurance racing at Snetterton Picture: Archant

– 10 minute engine changes.

2CV Endurance racing at Snetterton 
Picture: Archant2CV Endurance racing at Snetterton Picture: Archant

The BBC Top Gear team 2CV car during the 24 hour race at Snetterton in 2003 Picture: Denise BradleyThe BBC Top Gear team 2CV car during the 24 hour race at Snetterton in 2003 Picture: Denise Bradley

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