The old joke about the Citroen 2CV, which was in production between 1948 and 1990, was that the "tin snail" could do 0 to 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) in one day.
The French ugly duckling has exterior-mounted headlights, a raised rear end and leans alarmingly on curves, making it an unlikely race car. But this month, Snetterton, an English racetrack accustomed to hosting the elite of British motorsports, welcomed a collection of one of Europe's most iconic vehicles for the annual 24-hour Citroen 2CV race, which included 27 teams of two to four drivers.
"They're faster than they look; they feel like F1 cars when you're inside them, so yeah, it's great fun," said John Paul Wilkinson, one of the drivers who competed at the circuit in the eastern county of Norfolk.
The winning team managed to complete 708 laps of the 1.95-mile circuit.
The model name 2CV stands for "deux chevaux-vapeur" — or "2 horsepower" — a reference to its taxable rate based on cylinder dimensions rather than the actual engine power. The smallest 2CV engines packed 9 hp as measured in most modern cars.
The car was conceived as an inexpensive vehicle that would tempt French farmers away from using a horse and cart.