If you’re a French florist, you might think you’ve got plenty of choices when it comes to small vans. And you’d largely be right, at least until it comes time to deliver the weekly shipment of extra-tall Birds of Paradise to the reclusive heiress in the chateau on the outskirts of town. Then you’d only have one choice. You’d need to take the Renault Kangoo Be Bop.
Based on the short-wheelbase version of Renault’s second-generation Kangoo small van, the Kangoo Be Bop’s killer feature is its roof. Like GMC’s Envoy XUV and the Studebaker Wagonaire before it, the Kangoo’s roof is designed to roll forward from over the load area in the rear, meaning you’ve got plenty of space for tall loads like flowers and, erm, long loaves of bread significant to national identity.
Clear commercial flexibility aside, Renault intended for the Kangoo Be Bop to be more of a lifestyle vehicle, its roof meant for open-top cruising more than accommodating bulky pieces of cargo. It came in a number of two-tone paint schemes and had a charming set of proportions owing to its short wheelbase and squat little wheels.
Of course, the Be Bop wouldn’t be the first attempt by a French automaker to turn their smaller van into something intended for leisure by chopping off part of the roof. Citroën’s 1996 Berlingo Coupe de Plage concept car turned their small van into a beach car, complete with room for chaises in the back.
Citroën never had it in them to turn their Berlingo over to the public (to be fair, PSA has an issue when it comes to making good on their concept cars). Renault, though, did offer the Kangoo Be Bop for sale for a few years starting in 2008.
Here’s one for sale in Japan. You’ll just have to wait till 2036 to bring it stateside.