When James Bond arrives in Spain on the tail of Cuban hitman Hector Gonzales in For Your Eyes Only, he sees him killed in front of him, shot with an arrow. Making his escape from the scene he runs into the assassin, Melina Havelock, who turns out to be the daughter of Sir Timothy Havelock, a marine biologist working for the British who had been murdered by Gonzales, triggering Bond’s investigation.
When Bond’s own car, a Lotus Esprit, is destroyed when one of Gonzales’ heavies attempts to break into it the pair are forced to escape in Melina’s car instead, a yellow Citroën 2CV. A car chase through along the dusty roads and olive groves of Spain – in reality shot in Greece – then ensues as two Peugeot 504s pursue them.
The Citroën 2CV was a French car made by the car company Citroën between 1948 and 1990. Designed to provide economic options similar to those found with Volkswagen’s Beetle, the Citroën 2CV soon became a popular choice among drivers in Europe. At one point, it had a waiting list that was 3yrs long.
Despite its unassuming appearance, the Citroën 2CV featured an engine that was innovative and advanced for its time. The car was designed with a two horsepower engine, which made it suited for light loads and coupled with its high ground clearance, adjustable suspension and fairly uncomplicated engine, the Citroën 2CV won much praise for its pragmatic design.
The cars used on screen were modified with a more powerful engine from the Citroën GS to boost its horsepower and on screen speed.
Following the success of the movie, Citroën marked the occasion by selling limited editions of 007 2CVs—cars similar to the one used in the movie with the 007 number painted over the familiar yellow coat and fake bullet holes to boot.
Production for the Citroën 2CV was finally halted in 1990 after a run of 42 years. It is estimated that close to 3.9 million cars were produced within this period. The Citroën 2CV is a legend. Many of these cars still exist and ply the roads today. And thanks to its memorable debut in the Bond movie, there is little doubt that the world will always have nothing but cherished memories for this daintiest of cars.
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