The Citroën H Van is an automotive design icon. It’s sort of like the equal and opposite reaction to a design like the Lamborghini Miura; where the Miura is a lithe, elegant, obviously beautiful-looking car, the H van is like a corrugated garden shed on wheels. All utility, no style, and, as a result, is somehow full of style. Now, for its 70th birthday, there’s a way to make a modern Citroën van look like one.
I know there’s a lot of people who can’t abide this sort of automotive Mitsuokaization, but I’ll happily admit I’m sort of a sucker for this sort of over-the-top retro modification. There’s just something fun about it, especially when the donor vehicle is a pretty mundane utility van like the Citroën Jumper.
The kit was designed by Fabrizio Caselani and David Obendorfer, and appears to be a set of about 30 body panels and trim parts that bolt right on to the modern, smooth van, and turn it into a retro H-type-like van that’s ribbed for everyone’s pleasure.
Considering how different the modern platform is, I think the result is remarkably good. The original H vans were made from, incredibly, 1948-1981, but this kit could easily pass for that 40-year facelift an alternate-universe Citroën may have decided to try in 1988.
The original H van was a real Frankenstein of the Citroën parts bin, using the engine from the Traction Avant, lights and other bits from the 2CV, and the bodywork from the sheds at the Citroën factory where they kept the lawnmowers, I assume. The basic design was so functional and rational that it still has appeal today.
Sadly, FC Automobili, the company making the kits, doesn’t seem to think that the appeal will be all that widespread, since only 70 kits will be made, and all will be hand-installed in their facility in Italy.
It’s worth noting that the Citroën Jumper is also sold as the Fiat Ducato, which is also sold right here in America as the Ram ProMaster. That means, in theory, some Dodge dealers could get these kits and fit them to ProMasters, right?
If FCA wanted to take an exciting risk, they could try and beat Volkswagen to the coveted and presumably vast oddball-retro/modern minivan market and make a bunch of these to sell as minivans. The demographic that includes me and, I bet, fives and fives of other people would be very excited.
I’m sure one of us has money for a new van, right?