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Topical advertising: Car-based vans (part two)

Car-based vans have been incredibly popular in Europe and abroad since the end of World War II. Generally cheaper to buy, register and insure than larger commercial vehicles, these city-friendly vans and pickup trucks have been widely used as delivery vehicles, work mules and passenger haulers over the past couple of decades. Almost every automaker has offered one at one point or another in its life.

The car-based van segment in the United States is much smaller for a multitude of reasons but companies like Chevrolet and Ford tried their hand at selling small commercial vehicles during the oil crisis of the 1970s. Ford had the market almost to itself with the Transit Connect, but newcomers like the Chevrolet City Express and the Fiat Doblo-based Ram ProMaster City are out to get a slice of the market.

As a follow-up to a similar article we published last May, we’ve compiled a collection of the some of the more interesting vans that have competed in the crowded segment over the past couple of decades. Which one would you rather use as a work vehicle?

Citroën Acadiane pickup

Citroen Ami 8 service wagon

Dacia 1304 pickup

DAF 33 van

Fiat Fiorino (mk1)

Ford Escort Sundowner

Goggomobil TL-250 Transporter

Mercedes-Benz 220D pickup (body by Binz)

Peugeot 204 service wagon

Renault 4 F6

Talbot VF2

Volkswagen Type 147

Wartburg 353 Trans

12 thoughts on “Topical advertising: Car-based vans (part two)

    • I’ve seen pictures of the Australian ‘Utes but I admittedly don’t know a whole lot about them – I’d like to make it over to Australia one day just to do some car-spotting, the cars they got over there (Holdens, Australian Fords, etc) fascinate me because I’ve never seen them before.

      • I don’t know if they build one (and then they updated the front of the car as new models were introduced over the years), or if the build three (from three different model years). But they were only used for transporting the rally cars of the manufacturer team, and they were very rare – I have seen only the one in the museum…

      • Ok, I read some more, and there were apparently two Wartburg Rallye-Trans built (from two different model year) during the GDR, and they were both updated when a new model came out.

        After the end of the GDR, two enthusiasts build a replica – it took them half a year. As the Wartburg is FWD and has a frame, the conversion should not be that difficult for anybody seasoned in making such works, e.g. for tow trucks. You should find a suitable French car an make a car transporter! Maybe a 2CV? Or has the Renault 4 a frame?

    • I’ve seen one VW Type 147 in real life – they are extremely rare, even here in Germany. Over 6.000 were produced from 1964 to 1974. Here in Germany, the 147 is called “Fridolin”.

      The one I’ve seen was in a light blue, and looked stunning – however, it looked a bit like some sort of novelty car, made as a advertisment stunt or something. It was made for the German postal service, and was an early predecessor of the parcel vans – for this, it has sliding doors and the parcels are accessible from the driver compartment. And it was developed from “leftovers” from other VW models.

      • I thought the Fridolin was developed for the Swiss post, at least the one exhibited on the VW stand in Techno Classica Essen bore Swiss post logos

      • The type 147 was developed for the German postal service, and the Swiss bought it with some slight modifications – e.g. mirrors at the fender, not the door, so the driver can drive with open door 🙂 But both are called Fridolin AFAIK.

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