We stopped and photographed the Citroën Type H pictured below on our way to cover the Historic Monte-Carlo Rally earlier this week. The H was in a remote area of the Ardèche department, one of the most rural places in France.
The Type H was introduced in 1948, the same year that Citroën launched the 2CV. It stood out from other commercial vans that were on the market at the time because it boasted unibody construction and front-wheel drive, two features borrowed from the successful Traction Avant. An instant hit, the H changed little over the course of its exceptionally long production run and it kept its suicide doors and its three-speed manual transmission until production ended in 1981.
Run-down Hs used to be a common sight in rural France but they have gradually been disappearing over the past decade or so. The example below was on private property so we couldn’t get any closer to it, unfortunately. The registration number was issued in 1972 – which is likely when the H was built – and the stickers on the windshield indicate that it was last on the road in 1997. We’re almost certain that the owner drove it until something major failed and simply parked it at the far end of his farm. A handful of parts including the rear suspension / hubs, the door handles and the lights on both ends have been pulled from it.
If you’re wondering: No, the fence isn’t electric – at least not anymore. We tried.