New Citroën Fourgonette van is retro design done right
Few vans matched the Citroën 2CV Fourgonette’s blend of abilities during its 30-year production run, and fewer still were so fondly admired by France’s hard-working bakers, grocers, vintners, and plumbers who rarely saw their van as anything more than a tool of their trade.
Boulangeries across France (and beyond) mourned the passing of the Fourgonette, discontinued in 1981. Now, it’s being reinvented for the 21st century. A new, Citroën Berlingo-based van has been released by a coachbuilder—but it has taken an Italian company, Carrosserie Caselani, to bring France’s classic workhorse back in spirit.
Back at the start of the ’50s, using the 2CV’s unburstable flat-twin engine and longitudinally sprung suspension for a commercial vehicle certainly had its merits; loaded up, variants could take up to 250 or 400 kg (550 or 880 pounds) of eggs across a plowed field if the need arose. Assuming, that is, your hens laid in sufficient quantities.
The reimagined Fourgonette is as likely to appeal to modern Europe’s army of street food vendors and mobile baristas as it is to bakers, plumbers, and wine growers. It will be built under license from Citroën, adopting the ripple bonnet, hooded headlights, and corrugated side panels of its 1951 namesake. It’s the third such model in the Caselani range; since 2020 the company has listed a Relay (Jumper) -based “Type H”, modeled on the iconic “H van” (HY), and the Dispatch-based (Jumpy) “Type HG”, spun from the “G van” intended as a small cousin to the HY, but never produced.
Caselani has not revealed now much the conversion from Berlingo to Fourgonette costs. However, it says that it leaves the donor vehicle untouched mechanically, while nosecones and panels (designed by Caselani’s David Obendorefer) are added at the coachbuilder’s works in northern Italy. It’s unclear for the moment, as with its Type H and Type HG, if Caselani will offer a range of body styles for the Fourgonette: the HG, for example, is available as a panel van, minibus, crew cab van, camper van, and food truck (even the battery-power e-Dispatch – e-Jumpy – can be converted).
Caselani says buyers can place an order for the latest model through a number of Citroën dealerships it has appointed as agents, across Europe.