Some cars are more than cars—they're an expression of personal values and aesthetics. Take the French "Deux-Chevaux" (2 CV) for instance. 2 CV means that the car falls into the fiscal category of "two horsepower" vehicles, the lowest on the French tax scale. For almost half a century, the 2 CV was a car for the thrifty: whether parish priest, student, social worker, farmer, nun or the Postal Administration. "Deux-Chevaux" were cheap to buy, cheap to fuel and cheap to maintain.
The last 2CV that went off the production line in 1990 wasn't much different from the original 1949 model: it featured a slightly more powerful engine, a larger choice of colours, a four-speed clutch, and that was about it. 2CVs never really made it outside of Europe. Because of safety regulations, they were banned from the US—although one of them appears in the cult movie "American Graffiti." Quite surprisingly, however, a couple of hundred of them were exported to Japan.
Ten years ago, to celebrate the birth of his daughter, Atsumi designed a new black and blue colour pattern for his beloved 2CV.
Of course, when Atsumi moved to France in order to work at ITER, the 2CV went with him —a rare and maybe unique case of a 2CV travelling back from Japan to its birthplace. "Now I drive it everyday to work. I love everything about it and I will never sell it!"
In Japan, Atsumi would drive back and forth twice a week between Tokyo and Kyoto—an average of 2,000 km per week.