Although the eight-torsion bar suspension was axed, the production 2CV’s suspension was just as capable, if not more so. The super-long travel and ultra soft springing remained, but was now accomplished by two sets of coils springs mounted in cylinders horizontally alongside the platform chassis, and connected to the individually-suspended front and rear wheels via bellcranks and pull rods. That alone would have made a very advanced system.
But there’s more: the cylinders in which the coils travel is not fixed, but have springs of their own, which allows them to move, thereby creating the first (I believe) active suspension. When the front wheel hits a bump it compresses its spring, but also moves the cylinder forward some, which in turn pre-loads the rear spring. This tends to both keep the 2CV level, despite its ridiculously soft springs, and is effective in controlling front-aft pitching.The suspension is not interconnected side-to-side, which does mean the 2CV tends to really lean in corners. And it’s ridiculously easy to rock back and forth sideways, as we used to delight in doing as kids whenever we saw one parked on the street. We just couldn’t believe how soft it was, and how wildly we could rock one.
Amazingly as it may seem, 2CVs do not tip readily, despite their wild angles in hard cornering. Thanks to a super-low center of gravity, and none of the abrupt transitions that rear-engined and swing-axled cars like the VW and Corvair exhibited, the front-wheel drive 2CV just hangs in there, and its wheels hang down there, as if glued to the pavement. The fact that the 2CV helped pioneer Michelin’s new steel-belted tires only added to its grip. Like so many exotic things French, one has to experience a 2CV to appreciate it properly. It’s an acquired taste, for most.