Time 4 A Drink

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2014

we set the bar high!

 

Its not just any old truck, but the most iconic French truck ever. The Citroen H Van’s distinctive appearance and corrugated panels exude everything that is the French approach to automotive solutions: technically innovative, eccentric yet practical, visually delightful (some may take exception), and with a timeless appeal.

I spotted this van in an on-line advert just over a year ago, having taking a liking to the style a few years earlier. 

It emerged from the Citroen Factory on the same day that 

Presidential Candidate Robert Kennedy was assinated in 1968 

so for obvious reasons I decided to call it “Bobby” A quote from a speech he made in 

Kansas University earlier in 68 is quite apt for my thoughts at that time :-


“Some people see things and say why? 

I Dream of things that never were and say, 

Why Not ?”



The Citroen’s distinctive corrugated galvanized steel panels are also highly practical, since they have a degree of rigidity that allowed a more minimal supporting structure. The 2CV prototypes also used these corrugated panels, but only the hood made into the production version. Citroen was inspired by the pioneering Junkers monoplane of the late twenties, which in turn was the basis for the Ford Tri-motor.  Also known as the Tin Goose.The H Van didn’t only borrow the corrugated panels, but the general styling as well, it seems. That won’t have been for the first time, though. like an airplane, the H Van was quite light, just a hair over 3,000 lbs. Given that the 1911 cc four put out some 50 hp, the light (empty) weight was helpful, if not necessary. The early versions had a three-speed transmission, and a top speed of 78 km/h (48 mph). Life was lived slower then, especially in France.

The H Van had a long life, like so many of Citroen’s vehicles. After some thirty four years, the end came in 1981. And there were a number of variants built during that time, including longer and taller versions. A special ambulance model had the DS’ hydro pneumatic suspension fitted to the rear, to make the ride extra soft on the way to the hospital.


In the seventies, the H-van was the hippie van/camper of choice. Not surprisingly, the H Van still has an enthusiastic cult following. And like absinthe, some folks are still enjoying its peculiar pleasures.

 

 Studies for the vehicle that would eventually become the Type H began in 1942 on the instructions of André Lefèbvre. The design brief was for a commercial vehicle which would employ the principal mechanical components of the Traction. The engine came from the 11 CV while the gearbox, suspension and the interior were derived from those fitted to the 15 CV. Unusually, the H had different wheelbases on each side. The superbly practical and aesthetically odd body was designed by Franchiset Having successfully launched the revolutionary FWD Traction Avant sedan, in 1942 Citroen developed what is probably the first mass-produced FWD van, naturally using as many components from the sedan. The main difference was that the engine-transmission unit was turned 180 degrees, to get the motor out front, and out of the way.

 

The benefits of FWD in a van are all-too obvious, a very low cargo floor, due to the Citroen’s suspension that puts the floor at or below hub height. Almost all French vans and light trucks have been FWD since the H Van introduced its joys to the market.


In 1969, a new model, the HX IN2 was launched with a fully laden weight of 3 100kg,

 

 increased to 3 200kg in 1969 when it was called HW IN2. Also in 1969, the vehicle was given a minor facelift with rectangular rear wheel arches, new front indicators, and, less visibly, the fitting of two instead of four shock absorbers at the front. In Holland models were fitted with front hinged doors (left).
In 1972, the HW was made available with hydropneumatic suspension at the rear - and fitted with an ambulance body.
Numerous minor improvements were made until the end of production in December 1981.








 





 

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20??

the story so far!

In March 2015, we were approached by the TV programme "Wheeler Dealers" one of the Discovery Channel's programmes, to use our Citroen HY Van as a "Pristine Vehicle" for use on its programme to be broadcast later in 2015 and then repeated for the next 10 years or so.  Not bad for this mature vehicle to become a star.  Keep looking out for us

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