SEP 11, 2013

The History of Citroën: Part 2

In our last blog post we looked at the history of Citroën from the early days that led up to the design and production of the iconic Traction Avant model. In this post we’re going to take a look at the history and development of another iconic Citroën vehicle, the H Van.

The H Van’s predecessor was the Traction-powered Citroën TUB (Transport Utilitaire Bras) which was produced and sold between 1938 and 1947. In late 1947 the corrugated steel H Van joined the ranks of the Traction Avant, DS and 2CV to become one of the most enduring icons of post-Second World War provincial France.

The H Van is easily recognisable with its square lines, rippled bodywork and prominent “pig” snout. It could be seen in every marketplace, town centre, building site, farm yard and fire station in France for many years after its demise in 1981.

It was powered by the cast iron 1911cc Traction Avant petrol engine right up until the end of production, making it the longest running automotive component ever. Some versions of the H Van had smaller 1682cc petrol engines, while some had diesel engines from 1965 onwards. Most of the 500,000 H Vans produced had three speed gearboxes so high speeds and comfortable cruising were still a distant dream.

 The H Van’s iconic corrugated side panels were inspired by war-time Junkers bombers and provided great strength, making the H a very sturdy workhorse of a van. There were a variety of different body combinations available from the standard short wheelbase to long, extendable body variants used for mobile market stalls.

The H is still in use throughout France, however it is slowly dying out as more modern, commercial vehicles are produced and offer better driver comfort. There were very few changes to the design of the H throughout its 34 year run so it stands to reason that there may be some demand for more comfortable and modern vehicles these days.

Created on 11th September 2013
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