Market Finds: Market Finds: So You Want a Vintage Van?

Market Finds: So You Want a Vintage Van?

By Petrolicious Productions
April 8, 2015

Vans aren’t often the most exciting vehicles to drive, but they are, without a doubt, the most versatile. Because of this, owner’s groups around the world have been formed to appreciate their model of choice. The Volkswagen Type-2 Microbus clubs usually go camping. Citroën HY owners meet to compare how their vans differ from one another.

And those with GMC conversion vans compare the quality of both the airbrushed murals and the shag carpet fitted to their machines.

If you’ve ever wanted to own a vintage van, we’ve found plenty of interesting choices.

Catering trucks / Citroën HY

The Citroën HY is one of the more under-appreciated models from the double-chevron marque, owing to its unsightly Junkers-like ribbed metal sides and its Darth Vader-like face. Between 1947 and 1981, Citroën churned out nearly 500,000 of them. Problem, at least for those of us in North America: over here, there are only a handful to choose from.

They can be imported into both the U.S. and Canada, and a quick search across Europe on shows two dozen on offer, from about €4,000 to more than €40,000.

We’re focusing, however, on a few recent eBay listings that a friend passed along, saying to simply search for “Citroën” on eBay and looking at the results. From what appears to be the same seller in France, here are a number of interesting body styles—and a number of different price points.

HY listings:

Sources (Top left to bottom right):1,2,3,4,5,6,7



That slab-sided Citroën may look exotic, however, it’s anything but. Alfa Romeo, Renault, and a few other European marques have a long history of building interesting commercial vans.

Here are some interesting examples we’ve been able to find:

Alfa Romeo Romeo at

Alfa Romeo F12—a ratty example at

Renault Estafette at

British—and almost fully faired-in—Commer vans at

Chevrolet Corsair Greenbriar cans at

Airbrushed Vans:

“Vanning” may have started before Hot Rod Magazine editor Terry Cook opened the first National Truck-In in 1973 by saying, “For those of you who are participating, please be cool. No arguments, no drugs, no thievery and no cutting brodies (doing doughnuts) in the dirt.”

You may chuckle at some of the whimsical designs and often luxuriously-appointed interiors that were hallmarks of the Vanning craze, but the fact remains that vans are relatively inexpensive to acquire or build, they’re simple to fix, and there are a number of clubs to join and events to attend each year.

Amazingly, customizing vans has even spread to Japan, where they typically modify theirs for more performance or, in the case of this example, simply preserve an already-completed design.

“Vanning” listings:

Where else? The classifieds.

If you prefer your van with a side of sake, here as listings from the Japanese classifieds site, Dodge, Chevrolet, GMC, and Ford.

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9 months ago

Seems like a mobihome genre Fun Games. The exterior design is very impressive.

Anders Holmberg
Anders Holmberg
9 years ago

Maybe the coolest of them all, the Tempo Matador.

Andre L  Hulstaert
Andre L Hulstaert
9 years ago

Indeed the commercial vehicles can be fascinating and I have a number of pictures of them in my files. I am building a a page exclusively dedicated to them
Enjoy, but please keep in mind: this is a work in progress and I will ad to this page on a regular basis, so, please come back often

Robert Crofton
Robert Crofton
9 years ago

Dodge Route Vans – very rare to find. Has anyone seen one in the UK?

Sebastian Motsch
Sebastian Motsch
9 years ago

I love vans. My early childhood memories include all the fantastic French vans from our holiday travels. No matter which one – they all had what today’s vehicles miss: their own and very individual character. My sister and me always used to call the Renault Estafette the “sad car” and that made my parents lough every time. Now, thirty years later I still love all of them and even photoshop one once in a while…

Thomas maine
Thomas maine
9 years ago

found this PEUGEOT J7 Pompiers the other day. Scroll down to the 3rd listing, it’s the orange one:
Mr. Sassen normally restores / sells Citroen DS and he is kind of well known in Germany (DS-Pope?)
Would like to buy a DS from him and import it to the States. Need to save up some more money 🙁

Francois Bozonnet
Francois Bozonnet
9 years ago

do you know the famous “estafette” by Renault…a french legend used by the police, our “gendarmerie” or the firemen. also used by worker and merchant….

we also have the Peugeot J7 and J9 from the 80’s…

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