Few vans matched the Citroën 2CV Fourgonnette’s blend of abilities during its 30-year production run, and fewer still were so fondly admired by France’s hard working bakers, grocers, vineyards and plumbers who rarely saw their van as anything more than a tool of their trade.
Discontinued in 1981, boulangeries across France (and beyond) mourned the passing of the Fourgonnette. But now it’s to be reinvented for the 21st century. A new, 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 400kg of eggs across a ploughed field if the need arose and your hens laid in sufficient quantities.
The reimagined Fourgonnette is as likely to appeal to today’s army of street food vendors and mobile baristas as it is to bakers, plumbers and wine growers. It will be built under licence from Citroën, and adopts 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 it has listed a Relay (Jumper) -based “Type H”, modelled 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 Fourgonnette costs. However, it says that it leaves the donor vehicle untouched mechanically, while their 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 Fourgonnette: 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. What it hasn’t said is whether it will build right-hand drive models for buyers from the UK. Petition Caselani if you’d like that to change.