The Citroen 2CV was not only a sign of French mass mobilization as an inexpensive family car. The panel van, introduced in 1951, has no less cult status – quite the opposite. If you want, you can get an electric new edition.
There are countless fans of Citroen and especially the charismatic 2CV around the world, but only a few are as crazy as Fabrizio Caselani. Caselani has made a name for itself over the past few decades by building plastic boat hulls. And since the step from boat to automobile body construction is only a small one, the curly-haired man from Lombardy has been producing the Berlingo family van in the style of the historic 2CV Fourgonnette in his own factory for some time now. The Fourgonnette is the panel van that is mostly painted in pale colors and is technically based on the 2CV.
For businesses and authorities, the Citroen 2CV Fourgonnette was a long-awaited blessing when it was presented in the spring of 1951, because many industries lacked an inexpensive means of transporting larger items in everyday life. The 3.60 meter short loadmaster with the two double doors at the rear came in at just the right time. Technically, the Fourgonnette was largely identical to the normal 2CV and had the same construction up to the B-pillar. But instead of the sharply sloping rear and the two rear doors, the small truck offers a box body in which even larger items can be stowed without much effort. The Fourgonette was not only popular with bakeries, painting businesses and farmers, but also with authorities, the police and the post office, who also quickly learned to appreciate the low purchase and maintenance costs.
The Fourgonnette payload was manageable at just 250 kilograms, but the less than 0.5 liter two-cylinder under the famously torsion-friendly hood produced between 13 and 24 hp, depending on the year of manufacture and expansion level. In later years, the versions with a longer wheelbase alone had the larger 0.6-liter engine and, depending on the height of the roof structure, could carry a load of up to 400 kilograms. In reality it was often many kilograms more, but this did not detract from the indestructible character of the French commercial vehicle. So it’s no surprise that the Citroen 2CV Fourgonnette was sold more than 1.2 million times until the 1980s, before it was replaced by the much more modern Dyane Acadiane in 1978. To date, out of a total of around five million Citroen 2CVs, one in four models has been a panel van.
Citroen fan Fabrizio Caselani has been paying homage to the beloved Fourgonnette in his own unique way for some time now. He is converting the current Citroen Berlingo into an unusual restomod vehicle in a small series of 200 vehicles. The plastic treatment makes the Berlingo with its two wheelbases a completely different car. The front, bumper and wheel arches have fiberglass modules and, last but not least, the clear glass headlights from the company’s brother Jeep Wrangler ensure the incomparable Fourgonnette face. The rickety workmanship of yesteryear has disappeared, as have the hammock seats at the front, there is plenty of space and, if desired, even an electric drive. No more thoughts about the rattling two-cylinders from the post-war period. “We are very proud that our bestselling Berlingo has been relaunched by Caselani, inspired by the legendary 2CV Fourgonnette, which has left its mark on both the history of Citroen and the automotive industry,” says Citroen design boss Pierre Leclercq, “in The design began in the studios of the coachbuilder Caselani and we then worked hand in hand.” However, a guarantee for the success of Duck and Duck Trucks from the 50s to 80s was the extremely simple construction and a bargain price. That’s also over, because the electric version with its 100 kW / 136 hp electric motor on the front axle costs almost 60,000 euros.
I’m a recent graduate of the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism. I started working as a news reporter for 24 Hours World about two years ago, and I’ve been writing articles ever since. My main focus is automotive news, but I’ve also written about politics, lifestyle, and entertainment.