By Agence France-Presse
A wooden replica of Citroen’s iconic “2CV”, crafted by a French cabinetmaker using a mix of lumbers including apple, pear and cherry, is ready to hit the road.
Pensioner Michel Robillard took six years to complete his most ambitious creation to date: a fully operational version of the car dubbed the “Umbrella on Wheels”, built completely by hand and almost entirely out of wood.
The undulating hood was carved out of a single block, and its requisite 22 ridges were honed with a wood chisel and sandpaper, the man who brought the once ubiquitous car to life in wooden form told AFP.
The 2CV — which stands for “deux chevaux”, meaning “two horsepower” — was launched in 1948 as Citroen’s answer to the Volkswagen Beetle.
Robillard keeps his smooth, shiny creation in his workshop in central France, along with 15 detailed mock-ups for the project.
The vehicle is equipped with an original engine from Citroen’s later 3CV model, giving it the extra power needed to propel the naturally heavier wooden structure.
The car’s wooden frame is protected from the heat of the engine with a layer of insulation.
Besides the engine, the vehicle’s metal frame, wheels and headlights are the only parts the bearded Frenchman did not make himself.
“The hubcaps are made out of wood, just like the car’s seats, which come with comfortable pillows,” he said.
The vehicle has yet to pass its technical inspection, but it has already caught the attention of prospective buyers. Robillard is not selling, however, viewing the creation as something that will “remain after I’m gone.”
Robillard dreams of putting the car on display in an art gallery, or seeing it featured in a big-budget TV advert or film.
A woodworker since the age of 14, Robillard began making miniature wooden replicas of the world’s famous automobiles in the 1990s.
He has won several prizes for his intricate work, including for a Harley Davidson motorcycle and its sidecar, which took more than 500 hours to complete.
“It takes a whole day just to make a wheel out of walnut-tree wood. I’m always looking for a challenge!”