SEEN in the streets of Phnom Penh recently was this battered example of a Citroen 2CV, most likely, from Vietnam.
Conceived as the French answer to the tuk tuk, Citroen started manufacturing the cars after World War II in 1948, and they remained in production in France until 1990, with 3.8 million eventually made to carry farmers and their produce or livestock to market. A simple engine, removable seats and roof made the car versatile enough to carry almost anything over rough roads.
The original 325cc engine was replaced by a 602cc engine in 1970, powering generations of hippies through Afghanistan and southeast Asia on the route between Europe and Australia.
Nowadays, only a few collectors worldwide maintain these 2CVs, which are vulnerable to rust, although their two-cylinder engines seem to power on forever, being air-cooled and simple to fix.