Citroën H Van

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Citroën H Van
Citroën Typ H 1981 grey vl TCE.jpg
Front 3/4 view showing spare wheel compartment: post 1969 model with rectangular rear wings and suicide doors
Overview
Manufacturer Citroën
Production 1947–1981
Assembly France: Paris
Spain: Vigo (Centro de Vigo)
Body and chassis
Class Light commercial vehicle
Body style 4-door panel van
Layout FF layout
Chronology
Predecessor Citroën TUB
Successor Citroën C25, Citroën C35
Near-side sliding door and front-hinged driver doors
Left side view: pre-1969 model with semi-circular rear wings and suicide doors
Citroën HY Long Wheel Base
Citroën HY Interior
Type H used as a cafe (2013)
Tailgate opens in three sections (2014)

The Citroën H Van, Type H, H-Type or HY is a panel van (light truck) produced by the French car maker Citroën between 1947 and 1981.[1] It was developed as a simple front wheel driven van after World War II. A total of 473,289 were produced in 34 years in factories in France and Belgium.

Design[edit]

Like the 1934 Citroën Traction Avant, the H had a unitary body with no separate frame, four-wheel independent suspension, and front-wheel drive. For a commercial van, this combination provided unique benefits - a flat floor very close to the ground, and 6 ft (180 cm) standing height, with a side loading door.[2]

The distinctive corrugated body work used throughout the period of production was inspired by German Junkers (Aircraft) starting from the First World War until the 1930s, the three engined Junkers Ju 52 being the last to use this construction.[3] Henry Ford also adopted this construction for the Ford Tri-Motor passenger aircraft. 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 welded floor was strong enough to support a horse.[2]

Marketing[edit]

Most H Vans were sold in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. At the Slough Trading Estate assembly facility (1926-1966), Citroën UK built a small number of right hand drive versions.[2] The German market was supplied by a key competitor, the Volkswagen Type 2.

As with the Volkswagen, the H Van could not be sold in the US as a commercial vehicle after 1964, due to the Chicken tax.[4]

Mechanical[edit]

The engine, gearbox and many smaller parts are shared with other Citroën models.[1] The engine and gearbox are nearly identical to those in the Traction Avant and later the DS, only mounted with the engine in front of the gearbox.[2] The headlights were identical to those of the 2CV, while speedometers were successively borrowed from the Traction Avant and the Ami 6.

The 1.9 liter motor offered more usable power than the 1.2 liter motor of its competitor, the 1950 Volkswagen Type 2.[2]

Styling changes[edit]

The basic design changed very little from 1947 to 1981.

Vehicles left the Citroën factory with only three body styles: the standard enclosed van, a pick-up version, and a stripped-down body which went to non-Citroën coach-builders and formed the basis for the cattle-truck and other variants. The basic version had an overall length of 4.26m, but vehicles were also available in a LWB version with an overall length of 5.24m.[5]

In September 1963 the earlier style rear window - a narrow vertical window with curved corners - was replaced with a square window the same height but wider, 45 cm on each side. The bonnet was modified to give two additional rectangular air intakes at the lower edges, one for a heater, the other a dummy for symmetry.

In early 1964, the split windscreen used since 1947 was replaced with a single windscreen, while in late 1964 the chevrons on the radiator grille, previously narrow aluminum strips similar to those on the Traction Avant, were replaced with the shorter, pointed style of chevrons as used on most Citroen vehicles in the last decades of the twentieth century.

In November 1969 the small parking lights were discontinued, the front indicators were recessed into the wings, and the shape of the rear wings was changed from semi-circular to rectangular.

Rear hinged 'Suicide' cab doors were used until the end of production in 1981, except on vehicles manufactured for the Dutch market where conventionally hinged doors were available from 1968.[6]

Names[edit]

Citroën's teams worked on 8 projects and only the last one was developed, giving it its name : "H". Most Type H vans were sold as model HY. Other models include H (early versions), HX (lesser load capacity), HP (flat-bed pick-up), HZ, and HW (greater load capacity). For a time they were also sold as model 1600. In France, this van is known as "Nez de Cochon" ("Pig Nose"). When used by the police, it was called "panier à salade" ("salad basket").

Media appearances[edit]

According to Internet Movie Cars Database, the Type H has made over 700 film/TV appearances, including the The Loved One and Irma la Douce from the US, Mega Mindy from Flanders, Les Babas Cool from France, and various films in the Danish Olsen Gang series.

Scale models and die-cast[edit]

Matchbox Models of Yesteryear No. YTF 1 (production unknown), ∼1:45 scale, 1947 Citroën Type ‘H’ Van. At least eight liveries including an ambulance, fire truck, and the six model "A Taste of France" series (Evian, Marcillat brie, Martell, Pommery mustard, Taittinger, and Yoplait).

Norev 1:43 and 1:87: Citroën Type HY[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "CITROËNS HISTORIE: JANUAR 1947 LANCERING AF CITROËN TYPE H". Citroen.dk (in Danish). Retrieved 10 August 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Citroen H Van History". Retrieved 10 August 2016. 
  3. ^ Gijsbert-Paul Berk, Andre Lefebvre and the Cars He Created at Voisin and Citroen , Veloce, Paris, 2009, ISBN 978-1845842444, p.95
  4. ^ Ikenson, Daniel (June 18, 2003). "Ending the 'Chicken War': The Case for Abolishing the 25 Percent Truck Tariff". The Cato Institute. 
  5. ^ Wouter Jansen et Fabien Sabatès , "H" Comme Citroën - Le Cube Utile, Editions Charles Massin, Paris, 1992, ISBN 2-7072-0194-4, p.70
  6. ^ Wouter Jansen et Fabien Sabatès , "H" Comme Citroën - Le Cube Utile, Editions Charles Massin, Paris, 1992, ISBN 2-7072-0194-4, p.154
  7. ^ "NOREV La Passion Automobile". norev.com. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by:
Citroën TUB
Succeeded by:
Citroën C25
Citroën C35