A hugely rare 1965 Citroën 2CV Sahara is set to be one of the star lots at Classic Car Auctions’ upcoming sale on 1-2 April.
The remarkable 2CV Sahara was first registered in Nigeria in December 1965 and belonged to an Englishman working in the country as an anthropologist. He chose the car as a more friendly yet equally capable alternative to a Land-Rover, which he felt would mark him out as a Government inspector.
His time in Nigeria was curtailed by the civil war of 1967, prompting an epic 1000-mile journey back to the UK via the Sahara Desert in which he battled sandstorms, challenging terrain and even a broken hydraulic pipe. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the original owner returned to the country two years later, crossing the Sahara for a second time.
The car was sold in the 1970s, but was rediscovered by its first owner during a return visit to Nigeria, where he found the car barely used and practically abandoned. He then had it flown back to the UK for repairs and eventually sold it on, leading to its full restoration in 2012.
Just 694 twin-engined Saharas were ever built, primarily for use in French colonies in Africa, where there was much demand for lightweight and affordable four-wheel-drive vehicles. Though externally very similar to a standard 2CV, the Sahara featured two 425cc engines, two fuel tanks and two gearboxes, with one engine driving the front wheels and the other driving the rears. Both engines were operated by a single clutch, gear lever and accelerator, providing four-wheel-drive capability to the tin snail.
“There are believed to be fewer than 100 examples left of these unusual 2CVs, maybe 30 of which are in running condition, making this a truly rare vehicle,” said Classic Car Auctions’ Nigel Gough. “Not only is it a rare 2CV, but also has a unique and fascinating story, one that will certainly appeal to collectors. With such limited numbers these models are now internationally sought after, and have achieved some seriously high prices at auction. This one will definitely get people talking.”
Recent examples have sold for $142,500 (2012) and $192,500 (2016) suggesting plenty of potential interest. It is estimated at £60,000-65,000, and will be sold with its original front engine, replacement crankshaft and crankcase halves, as well as the original documentation from its time in Nigeria and several photographs taken during its Saharan expeditions.
The 2CV Sahara isn't the only small car to be given the twin engine treatment. Click here to read our full road test of the bonkers Mini 'Twini'