We've all seen Citroen H vans turned into mobile coffee bars and the like - but now the manufacturer is celebrating the van's 70th anniversary by partnering with French sportswear brand Le Coq Sportif for a customised version of the classic hauler in a red, white, and blue livery.
The special H van will be on display along with a matching version of the modern Dispatch at this year's Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham.
Citroen has worked with Le Coq Sportif to make both vans into mobile bicycle workshops. Inside, the Type H features light shades of wood and places on the wall for hanging tools. The seats feature chocolate-coloured leather. In contrast, the Dispatch features a more modern aesthetic with black woodwork and white leather.
If you miss the vans in Birmingham, there’s still an opportunity to check out these bike carriers. Le Coq Sportif will be showing them at cycling events and its stores in the future.
With production running from 1947 to 1981, the Type H became a common sight on French roads. The front-wheel-drive layout also made them a precursor to light vans today.
Citroen recently paid tribute to the Type H’s 70th anniversary by highlighting a limited run of 70 body kits that give the latest Dispatch van the look of this classic commercial vehicle (see them together, below). The parts perfectly capture the Type H’s blunt grille and corrugated side panels, while still being somewhat modern.
The conversion kits look amazing, and Citroen could probably find buyers for a lot more than 70 of them by offering this retro-inspired Dispatch straight from the factory. Plenty of companies would probably like to haul their goods in a model that looks so charming and that so many people have nostalgia for.
Gallery: Citroen Type H And New Dispatch
CITROËN AND LE COQ SPORTIF: CREATIVE TEAMWORK FOR THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE TYPE H
When the Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham opens its doors on 25 April, the results of a wonderful collaboration between Citroën and another bold and creative French brand, Le Coq Sportif, will be on display. To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Type H van, the two brands teamed up to customise an authentic Type H and a New Dispatch van in the colours of Le Coq Sportif – a natural thing to do for two French brands that put the emphasis on creating high-quality, modern, and technically advanced products. The two brands were eager to celebrate the iconic Type H and to link it to its worthy successor, the New Citroën Dispatch, a van recognised for its styling, comfort, and practicality. Both vehicles are designed as mobile bicycle workshops and will be present at events in which Le Coq Sportif participates throughout the year.
01 - NATURAL COLLABORATION BETWEEN TWO ICONIC FRENCH BRANDS
Citroën has chosen the CV Show in Birmingham for the World Premiere of two show cars, one based on the Type H and the other on the New Dispatch – two vans which feature as part of 70 years of history and illustrate Citroën’s prominence in the LCV segment. These two distinctive concept vehicles are the outcome of extensive customisation on both the interior and exterior in the colours of the Le Coq Sportif brand. They represent a design approach to mobile bicycle workshops that combines elegance and functionality:
the Type H; evoking authenticity and nostalgia, with warm materials
the New Dispatch; projecting a sleek, modern spirit with its simplicity and white colour
The two show cars play on the contrast between white and colourful blocks of blue and red. Blue, white, and red – illustrating a delightful encounter between two iconic French brands dedicated to employing a workforce with the know-how, based on creativity and innovation, to offer high-quality, modern, and distinctive products. Their collaboration is supported by shared values and is also a reference to the Type H’s presence in the publicity fleet of Le Coq Sportif.
Five years ago, Le Coq Sportif returned to the roads of France in the biggest cycling event, driving in a Citroën H van. The iconic vehicle, promotes a sense of friendliness and sociability, which is an important aspect of the cycling world, and influences Le Coq Sportif’s participation in certain events. Le Coq Sportif strives to be seen as a “popular” brand in regards to being in touch with people and their everyday lifestyles, and thus enabling them to engage in sports in a stylish yet casual way with high-quality, comfortable, and distinctively designed products.
Citroën has always been interested in people’s relationship with their car. The Brand’s vehicles always reflect their times and are designed for people who make cars an integral part of their life. For Citroën, it is important to be a popular brand positioned at the heart of the market – a brand with broad appeal that stands out owing to its unique identity, modernity, styling, and the practicality and comfort offered by its products. This philosophy is shared by Le Coq Sportif in the realm of sports.
02 - TWO MOBILE WORKSHOPS FLYING THE FRENCH COLOURS
The Type H and New Dispatch have been converted into mobile bicycle maintenance workshops. They can also be transformed into workshops for clothing at cycling events demonstrating the functionality of these two vans. The Citroën Design Centre and the Le Coq Sportif styling office have combined their creative energy and expertise to develop the two vans, which display Le Coq Sportif’s colours along with the brand’s name and logo on each side.
The same approach has been taken in the design of the two show cars’ exteriors. All the body parts, including the wheels and roof racks for transporting two bicycles (on New Dispatch only) are painted a luminous white. The white is livened up by blue and red rectangles scattered across the entire body like coloured blocks – a playful, “arty”, Mondrian-inspired colour scheme that gives a fresh and energetic look to the two show cars. The combination of blue, white, and red also symbolises the pairing of two French brands that share the same emphasis on creative know-how and French elegance.
This association is signed by a “Citroën X Le Coq Sportif” logo at door level on the New Dispatch and at the front end on the Type H. Similarly, a 70th anniversary logo appears on the New Dispatch doors and the windscreen of the Type H.
The two show cars have a different spirit inside:
The Type H focuses on authenticity and nostalgia. It has a warm and simple feel about it that is cheerful and comfortable, with light-coloured woodwork made of different types of wood, which lines the workshop and the wall where tools are hung. The seats in the cabin are upholstered in natural, chocolate-coloured leather, enhancing the interior and playing on the theme of natural materials.
New Dispatch strikes a modern and refined note. Its black woodwork contrasts with white leather seats accented with red, white, and blue topstitching.
These two models are shown in a video filmed at the CREPS velodrome in Bourges and Raymon Poulidor velodrome close to Limoges and at Le Coq Sportif factory at Romilly-Sur-Seine. This iconic site and birthplace of Le Coq Sportif more than 130 years ago, which the brand decided to move back to in 2010, displays French architectural audacity and know-how and displays these show cars in an exceptional atmosphere. View the video here: https://youtu.be/8o-IO0Oqczk
Following their world premiere on the Citroën stand at the Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham, these two vans will be on display at Le Coq Sportif communications events. These enjoyable and original events, whether connected with cycling, the inauguration of points of sale, or the delivery of Le Coq Sportif corners, will be relayed on social media.
Type H – key facts
Launch year: 1947
Number manufactured: 473,289
Number of doors: 4
Number of seats: 2
Innovation: the first front-wheel-drive, mass-produced van
Engine: 1911cm3, 52hp at 4000rpm, 101km/h max
New Dispatch – key facts
An architecture adapted to every need with up to 1,400kg payload and the ability to pull a braked trailer weighing up to 2,500kg
Available in three lengths, including the original, compact, and practical XS version, which is only 4.60m long
Height of just 1.90m, allowing car park access
Best-in-class fuel consumption thanks to its new platform (adapted by the EMP2) and various BlueHDi engines
Exceptional modularity for the segment with Moduwork
Hands-free sliding side doors
Outstanding comfort on the road
Technologies that make life easier (Top Rear Vision, colour head-up display, Citroën Connect Nav)
Safety-enhancing technologies (Adaptive Cruise Control, Speed Limit Recognition and Recommendation, Driver Attention Alert, and Active Safety Brake)
Many body conversion options to meet needs in all trades, e.g. the 4WD conversion designed and produced by Automobiles Dangel