The Citroën H Van, Type H, H-Type or HY, was a delivery vehicle produced between 1947 and 1981. It was developed as a simple front wheel driven van after WWII. A total of 473,289 were produced in 34 years in factories in France and Belgium.
There is something fundamental in the design of the H Van that causes people to smile. Like other Citroëns of the era, the H Van was as innovative as it was weird-looking. This innovation made for a highly practical vehicle.
Over the years they have become icons and been featured in many films and television programs. See a full list here: Citroën H Van Film & TV Database
The distinctive corrugated body work was inspired by German Junkers (aircraft) of the 1930s. The ribs added strength without adding weight, and required only simple, low cost press tools. The flat body panels were braced on the inside by ‘top hat’ box sections, at right angles to the ribs.
The bodywork is notable, in part, for the introduction of the ‘Yoda’ pinless hinge. Formed from two curls of steel, this ingenious design was also used for fixing the bonnet, doors and bootlid of 2CVs and ‘A’-series vans.
The engine, gear box and many smaller parts were sourced from other Citroën models. The engine and gearbox are nearly identical as in the Traction Avant and later the DS, only mounted with the engine to front. The head lights and speedometer were identical to the 2CV for many years.
The H Van was offered in various lengths, heights and cargo configurations.
H Vans are turning up in all sorts of places these days taking on rejuvenated roles as a street vending vehicles in a variety of food truck and rolling shop variations. Here’s a gallery of photos that really illustrates its diversity and the creative ways people are using them in their businesses.
Click here to view the full gallery. And for a full screen slideshow click on the icon (upper right of screen).