World Record for Dismantling and Reassembling a 2CV

Concert for Quartet or Steel Band

Chalons, Champagne region




Saturday, June 8, 2002



It is 4 p.m. exactly. A blue 2CV, license number 5935 VG 94, stops in the Croix Dampierre shopping centre in Chalons, in the Champagne region of France. As soon as it stops, four madmen leap out of the 2CV and begin the frantic disassembly of the car.

In fact, they are trying to beat the world's record for dismantling and reassembling a 2CV. The four team members are certainly some of the best in the

world when it comes to 2CVs: E. Bonnan, against whom no gearbox can stand up; C. Komaniecki who has already rebuilt more than 300 2CV engines; and on the chassis and body side, the kings of the crossed thread and the frozen bolt, a perfect blend of force and finesse, J. F. Gartin and A. Houy (aka Popoff).

In the middle of the shopping centre, a huge stopwatch clicks off the seconds. Tension is mounting. The previous record for dismantling is 48m36s. The rules state that the chassis, running gear, crankshaft, camshaft, and three gears from the transmission must be removed.




Forty five minutes: only the suspension cans still need to be removed. Many spectators, believing they are seeing a new record, cheer on our four strapping young men. Sadly, the four nuts holding the suspension cans to the chassis are hopelessly seized by rust.

Only two minutes left, the suspense is at its peak. Despite J.F.'s muscles (he looks like Mr. Clean), Eric Bonnan's big hammer (which flies off into the crowd), and Popoff's cold chisel cutting into the very metal of those nuts, the stopwatch reads 51m07s by the time those blasted suspension cans fall to the ground. The crowd applauds, but the team is very disappointed.

Their only remaining hope is to make up the 2m31s during the reassembly, planned for June 15, at the same location.


On June 15, everything is ready for the attempt to beat the record for reassembly: the parts from the gearbox and engine have been cleaned and carefully laid out on the workbench.

At 4 p.m. exactly, the stopwatch is started. The previous record is 1h28m44s. Things look good. In less than 30 minutes, Eric Bonnan has completed the gearbox, matched only a few minutes later by

Christian Komaniecki with the engine.

The critical moment: the engine and gearbox are mated together, and the wiring harness is in place, but will it start? If not, all hope of beating the record will be lost


On the first crank of the starter motor, there is a puff of smoke, and to a huge round of applause from the audience, the motor bursts into life.

From that moment, everybody can feel that the record is going to fall. And indeed, after 1h15m40s, the 2CV with its four passengers abord moves forward a metre under its own power, as the rules require.

So, to anyone else out there who would like to try to beat the new record, be aware that you will have to disassemble and reassemble your 2Cv in less than 2h06m47s.

H. Lenguin

Special thanks to: the merchants of the Croix Dampierre shopping centre, the Deuche Dyane Motor Club, Citroen PWA, Depan 2000 company, and the 2Cv Club of Sucy/St. Maur.

translated by Bob McLeod of the Ottawa Citroen Club (Canada)