July 27, 1990. The last ever Citroën 2CV rolls off the factory line in Mangualde, Portugal after a production run of 42 years. The 2CV’s simple and distinctive appearance made it the butt of many jokes over the decades but the actual quality of the engineering has earned it many fans within the industry. The 2CV (for ‘deux chevaux’ or ‘two tax horsepower’) was made for the mass market and the intention was to create a car that farmers could drive across a ploughed field without breaking any eggs it was carrying. This specific brief gave rise to a sophisticated and soft suspension system, a lightweight engine that was easy to service and a canvas sunroof that could be opened to accommodate big or cumbersome loads. A successful export, it attracted colourful nicknames wherever it went: in the UK it is known as ‘Dolly’, ‘the Flying Dustbin’ or the ‘Tin Snail’, in Denmark it is called the ‘Student’s Jaguar’, while it is referred to as ‘The Duck’ in many countries including the Netherlands, Germany and Hungary. In total around 3.87 million 2CVs were manufactured over the years but production ended in 1990 as motorists opted for more modern motors.
Also on July 27: Arrest of Maximilien Robespierre during the French Revolution (1794); inaugural flight of the first jet airliner, the de Havilland Comet (1949); US congressmen begin impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon (1974).
Born on July 27: Giosuè Carducci (1835), Geoffrey de Havilland (1882), Jack Higgins (1929), Allan Border (1955).