A Citroen 2CV made of wood, understood to be the only one of its kind, has sold for 210,000 euros ($340,000 in Australian dollars) at auction in France — a new price record for the iconic vehicle.
It took cabinetmaker Michel Robillard over 5,000 hours over five years to build a wooden copy of a vintage Citroen 2CV.
“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 was first produced by the French carmaker in 1948. It is now revered as a classic European vehicle, and while production of the popular four-seater ended in 1990, it remains a favourite with collectors.
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.
For his labour of love, Robillard, 74, used wood from fruit trees to build the one-of-a-kind car.
The main body is apple and pear, the front and back are walnut, and the doors and trunk base are cherry wood.
Amazingly Robillard’s wooden car works. Its engine borrowed from another Citroen model, can hit 80 kilometres per hour.
As a collector’s item and unregistered vehicle, however, it’s banned from public thoroughfares and can only be driven on private roads.
It’s the first time a functioning wooden car has come up for auction
It had a presale estimated value of between $160,000 and $214,000, but the bidding soon drove on by that figure, breaking the previous record for a 2CV sale of $184,000 — and that one was a normal, metal car.
“So much more than a car; it’s a work of art,” announced the auctioneer when Robillard’s 2CV went under the gavel.
“I’m having difficulty talking after this bet,” buyer Jean-Paul Favand said after the auction.
The previous record for a 2CV was 172,000 euros, he said.
The 2CV’s name originally comes from the French word for horsepower. It was a “deux chevaux,” as it had two “tax horsepower,” referencing a system of taxation previously used to assess vehicles registered in France.
As for Robillard, he has another “crazy project” in the works: Building a wooden DS21 Cabriolet coupé Chapron in just 27 months.
He intends to make a wooden version of another French classic — the Citroen DS, which in 2025 will celebrate 70 years of existence.