(first posted 6/22/2016. Sadly, I never did get around to posting all of the hundreds of cars I shot at the Lane Motor Museum, where we had a CC-Meetup that year. The lane is my favorite museum yet, since their very eclectic taste coincides with mine)
I haven’t figured out yet how to share the hundreds of cars we saw at the Lane Motor Museum. But at this late hour, I’m just going to share one random car. But it’s a pretty rare one, as only 694 Saharas were ever built and only 27 are known to exist. What makes them so special? In order to turn the 2CV into a genuine Sahara-dominator, Citroen fitted a second complete drive train in the rear. This was back in 1961, when a 2CV engine had 425 cc and 12 hp. So doubling that makes for a combined 850cc and 24 hp! And if one engine were to crap out (not likely, given its rep for being highly durable), there was always a spare on hand. As well as a spare tire on the hood, since its former resting place is now occupied by the rear engine.
There’s a number of 2CVs at Lane, but seeing that spare on the hood from some distance caught my eye. And as I got closer, the hood ornament did too. Except to be really representative, it needs four horses (2CV = 2 taxable horsepower, based on displacement, for tax purposes).
Yes, the Sahara was well named, and one of the advantages of its double drive train was that there was no need for any sort of central differential, since each engine and transmission worked essentially independently. If the front one starts losing traction and encounters wheel slip, the rear one is still chugging away. The controls operated both engines and transmissions simultaneously, or just one.
The regular 2 CV’s umbrella-handle dashboard shifter had to be ditched for a floor-mounted one that was coupled to both transmissions. Not surprisingly, performance with only one of the engines was modest, with a top speed of 65 km/h (40 mph). But with both of the little 425 cc boxers at work, the Sahara’s top speed was raised to a blistering 65 mph. And was unstoppable.
I didn’t get a chance to shoot the rear engine, but I have this shot from the web in my files.
The gas tank had to be relocated too, which explains why there are fillers in each front door. presumably there’s two tanks under the front seats. One for each engine?
Wow. 24HP! My John Deere garden tractor has 20HP! 🙂
Pretty cool ! .
The 2CV – AZ was a weird , fun and fine little car if a total death trap .
I had a ’59 and loved it .
Centrifugal clutch meant clutchless up shifts .
No fan belts to break as the generator armature mounted directly to the crankshaft .
Windshield wipers ran off the speedometer making them variable speed plus they had a knob you could hand turn in light mist .
No fuel gauge to break , just a long fibre dip stick with Liters stamped into one side and Kilometers on the other .
I’d think most here would consider it a penalty box but I loved it .
In the 80s, Citroen UK used to advertise the 2CV in a humorous way, boasting about what it didn’t have – radiator, radio, etc. The idea being that there was less to go wrong.
An idea that actually would appeal to many British people – I know my parents have always avoided technology like the plague. My mum reacted with horror when forced to drive a car with electric windows.
Those same adverts were used in the 1950’s AZ versions .
Part of what endeared me to the car .
My poor ex Wife hated the thing ~ I’d hold the door for her to get in , then shake and bob the car on it’s incredibly soft suspension whilst she screamed in terror……
I don’t miss her at all , no sense of humour .
Mums reaction was typical as the power windows,of the time ,were known to pack up half way down on a rainy day. Some european cars had a mini hand crank you could insert into the regulator.
The Afrika Korp’s counterpart was the VW Kommandeurwagen, though it was 4×2 like the Kübelwagen it was based upon. A lot of speed in desert driving is probably unwise anyway, except over dry lake beds & the like.
Neither would impress most American off-road fans, regardless of capability, for they don’t look the part.
Different spelling so maybe they’re two different vehicles? The Type 87 Kommandeurswagen was four-wheel-drive, and looked more like a Type 1, vs. the Type 82 Kübelwagen.
Cool American Jeep Vs German Kübelwagen face-off vid:
That linkage for throttles and transmissions would be fascinating to examine. Old timers talk about how hard it was to keep two (or three) carbs in sync, and they are sitting right there next to each other in a rigid position. Add several feet in distance and some flex/torque in the body structure and you must have some kind of nightmare linkage.
Good to know that doubling of power and torque was still within the limit of those three lug wheels. 🙂
If I properly recall the info from 1972 when I drove a 2CV, there was no distributor. The spark plugs fired on every stroke whether it was producing power or not.
The 2CVs were wonderfully idiosyncratic. This one is doubly so.
Probably similar to the BMW Boxer motorcycle engine, two 6v coils in series, one set of points firing every revolution. “Wasted” spark every other time.
That hood ornament caught my eye as well on my visit to the Lane Museum. It’s an amazing place and a must see. They were testing one of the French propeller drive cars (apparently a journalist wanted to know the wind speed generated and Jeff Lane obliged him) inside the museum on the day of my visit. I thought everything on the walls was going to get ripped down, but they got their wind speed reading and shut it down just in time!
Wow this one is something of a Holy Grail for any self-respecting Citroen enthusiast. I’ve only seen one in the metal, and that was at least 40 years ago in my grandparents’ small town in the South of France. Obviously a daily driver from a village somewhere up in the mountains. It carried straw, tools and whatnot in the back seat. It probably rusted away long ago. They were always very rare but I had no idea survivors were so few and far between.
Pretty cool setup. If you were fording deep water, appears you could shut off the front engine to keep it from flooding and just have the wave protected rear engine get you through, like you could in the air cooled Beetle.
And to save gas, just run one when not going through difficult terrain. Not only do you have a spare engine and transmission, if one failed and the second engine began to have problems, lots of spare parts from the first engine could keep you going when a parts store was hundreds of miles away!
Interesting about the timing…
After my dear father passed away several days ago, I was tasked with sorting through Papa’s business and personal effects. One task was checking the invoices and documentations for his three cars (one daily drive and two as pet projects).
His 1986 Citroën 2CV Charleston was one of his pet projects. After a front and end collision, Papa spent several weeks taking Die Ente apart to replace the damaged chassis and repair the body damage. He drove it once in a while but stopped due to his health and age.
However, Die Ente had been in the storage for so many months, and its TÜV inspection was due last May. German law allowed three-month grace period to have the vehicles inspected and certified as roadworthy by TÜV and other centres.
I decided to take Die Ente out of the storage last Sunday for a leisure drive as to ensure it’s ready for the next TÜV inspection. What astounded me and my brother was that the motor started the first time we turned the key and ran. Of course, a billowing smoke from its exhaust pipe briefly camouflaged the car.
My brother had never driven Die Ente so I showed him how to operate the gear selector and turn signal stalk (it doesn’t cancel by itself). Not to mention how to open the doors from inside and flap the front side windows up. I completely forgot to check the tyres for adequate pressure, which provided exhiliating driving experience on the curves and turns. More tipsy than ever…
His turn to drive: he would never forget the experience ever. I had to point out when to shift and where to slide or twist the umbrella handle gear selector. And to press the brake harder than he normally would. And to remind him to cancel the turn signals.
We persuaded Mama to keep Die Ente and chipped in for the insurance, registration, storage, and other fees. Even though Die Ente is more handful to drive than other cars, we have special fondness for this particular car.
What a great family heirloom
Thanks! I thought the same, too.
A beautiful, heartwarming story.
Your web photo of a Sahara’s rear engine is not a genuine Saraha but a home made special or at best a reshell but with a poorly cut cross panel and modern rear lights – even though the engine is an authentic 425. But the principles are the same.
Rlplaut is correct – the points are driven straight off the camshaft – a right pain to get to because they are behind the fan.
Always good to see a Saraha though – there are a couple that come to Citroen/2CVGB meetings in England on a reasonably regular basis
That’s what it looked like to me. Thanks for clarifying.
Th’re nice but became extremely expensive:
June 12 a restored one (altough the seats have a very seventies color) for $70.000.
and yes, two tanks, hmmm, nice for the next burning man?
Fascinating — a conceptually simple (just add a second drivetrain) but probably highly complicated in execution (as jpcavanaugh raised, synchronizing the throttle and shift mechanisms for the two drivetrains cannot be simple) way to create a 4×4.
A Zundapp Janus 4×4 with twin drivetrains and steering at both ends, and CVTs allowing equally fast driving in reverse, would be even better, but I would bet against anyone being crazy enough to attempt such a thing.
Yet another one I never knew of. I wonder if there is any other instance of a factory producing a twin-engined variant of such a car? Citroen, who else would try it…
There was a twin engined Mini based Moke as well. Just a prototype though.
The Mercedes-Benz A38 AMG is twin-engined. Just four of them were built.
Have a look here: http://www.elchfans.de/aklasse_w168/a38_amg.php?st=1
This might not meet your criteria…
Volkswagen had built two twin-engined Scirocco II in the early 1980s for evaluation.
Nice. What’s really amazing is the light weight of the 2nd Scirocco, 2557 lbs with 2 engine and transmissions with a stock appearing body.
Stock weight is around 2050 so I guess that’s about right for a 2nd powertrain, didn’t realize until I checked how lightweight the MK2 Scirocco really was.
A unique engineering solution to a rugged environmental problem. And having a spare engine on hand and always available is practical.
Two engines with its own drivetrain and a common throttle/transmission. I wonder how reliable this setup is. Was there any maintenance issues? I’ll bet it would be humorous to see one engine/drivetrain inadvertently running in forward while the other in reverse.
A shot of the rear engine:
If I ever go to the US, this museum will be a must-see.
Other than at a car show a few years ago, I have not seen one of these in the wild (one engine or two) in forever.
Saw a white one about 5 years ago. Was right here in the neighborhood too. Had a faded, foil, triple “A” sticker in the left, rear window.
I’ve always wanted a ride in one of these.
I remember reading an article about a twin engine CRX (1st gen). Pretty sure it was in Car and Driver.
Yes, I recall that and I do think it was C and D. Amazing what you can do with other peoples time and money, though it looked like a fun project and was a good read.
But back on topic, this looks like an incredible little device. Thoroughly impractical for an everyday driver, even compared to another 2CV, but as an alternative to say the original Jeep, the little one with a 4 banger, it might just work. Or if you lived by lots of dirt roads that could be challenging. I can’t say I’m lusting for one, but I like it, it’s cool, way cool!
There was at least one Twin 425 Olds Toronado built, can you imagine the torque from that thing? perhaps the monster V8s at each end canceled out the torque-steer, lol. However that was never a big problem on Toros anyway, as I can attest having owned 3 of the 1st Gen Toros.
Or you could have this ute version with a 20mm cannon in the back…