Loches, France – A wooden replica of Citroen's iconic 2CV, built by a French cabinetmaker using a variety of timbers 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 full-sized working replica of the car dubbed the "Umbrella on Wheels", built completely by hand and almost entirely out of wood.
The curved bonnet was carved out of a single block, and its louvres were honed with a wood chisel and sandpaper.
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 has an original engine from Citroen's later 3CV model, giving it the extra power needed to propel the naturally heavier wooden structure.
The wooden body is protected from the heat of the engine by a layer of insulation.
Besides the engine, the vehicle's metal chassis, 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.
'I'm always looking for a challenge!'
The vehicle has yet to pass roadworthy 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 would like to put the car on display in an art gallery, or see 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 most famous cars in the 1990s.
He has won several prizes for his intricate work, including a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and sidecar that took more than 500 hours to complete.
"It takes a whole day just to make a wheel out of walnut-tree wood," he said.