The first car facing the spotlight here is the Citroen 2CV.
Perhaps your keen mind has noticed a striking similarity in shape to the legendary Volkswagen Beetle. The history books say the 2CV was under development as early at 1939. Perhaps socio-economic factors lead to some convergent evolution in the automotive industry, rather than outright intellectual plagiarism on the part of the French. I'll give the frogs the benefit of the doubt here.
The similarities with the Beetle went a little farther than the general shape, but not by much. While the 2CV also was powered by a air-cooled boxer engine, the French stuck theirs in the front of the car, and gave it only two cylinders. In case you didn't know, 2CV indicates that the engine develops a whopping two horsepower. (This was no 25 HP screamer, like the Germans had.) The engine actually made 4 HP in it's earliest form, but we've got to remember these are the same people that gave the world the metric system, so let's not get hung up numbers
Much like Citroen's groundbreaking Traction-Avant (a favorite of Nazi officers throughout Hollywood), the 2CV not only placed it's engine up front, it was also front wheel drive, a real novelty in cars until the late seventies.
Much like the Beetle and the Mini, the 2CV enjoyed a remarkably long run with only minor design changes. The car was produced in virtually the same form from 1948 to 1990.
One can argue over the merits of the car's rather hideous aesthetics, but its long life-span is a testament to an excellent design. The 2CV has been, and will remain an object of pride for many a Frenchman for many years into their snooty, obstructionist future.