Saturday 25 Oct 2014
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Van Register

Pete AbbottContact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
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Like the Méhari, A-Series Vans were never commercialised in Great Britain, with the exception of the Ami/Super Service (not many of those around!), and the Slough-built AZUs (even fewer!) – all were imports.

The Van Register was set up in the mid-‘80s to provide support for, and encourage mutual self-help between owners. At the same time, it would gather information and knowledge about the Vans.

The project has been successful; we have a fairly comprehensive database of most of the Vans in the UK (and elsewhere), a fund of knowledge on model history, detail, and development, and a small archive – most questions can be answered! There is, of course, a crossover with some of the other Registers – pre-1970 and Ami to be precise – which only helps to strengthen the resources we have.

In past years, the Register saw an active social side, mostly in the form of the Gathering Of The Vans, an annual event which ran from the late ‘80s until the early 2000s, where Vanatics could get together, talk Vans, have a ride out together, go in the pub, talk nonsense, and so on… It seems to have died out – must do something about that…

AK350 van at the Classic Car Show, NEC

The Citroën 2CV Vans

The Vans fall into three distinct groups: 2CV based, Acadiane, and Ami and Ami Super Service.

The 2CV Van was launched in 1950 as the AU. In 1954 the engine was uprated from 375cc. to 425cc. , and the model renamed AZU. This model was to remain in production until 1972, with many detail changes over the years, and was the last A-Series to keep ‘old-style’ mechanicals, with 425 engine and chassis-mounted pedal gear.

In ’72 the AZU 250 saw the coachwork changed from small-ripple to large ripple, and the  435cc. engine, first seen in the Dyane 4 in ’68 and the 2CV4 in ’70, fitted. With a few mechanical changes, it became the AZU 250 GA (Grandes Administrations) in 1975, and production ceased in 1978.

The AK 350 appeared in 1963, with a lengthened cargo bay, a chassis and suspension based on the Ami 6, and the 602cc. M4 engine. In July ’66 it gained the distinction of being the first A-Series to be fitted with 12 volt electrics and alternator charging. And a fusebox! It gained the ‘modern’ M28 602 engine in ’68, being renamed AKB. Production finished in 1970, when the model was superseded by…

…The AKS 400 – essentially the same chassis and mechanicals as AKB, it had a higher cargo bay roof. Along with 250 Vans, it ended production in 1978.

The Acadiane, launched in 1978, was based on the Dyane front coachwork, with a cargo bay of similar dimensions to the 400, and some attempt at streamlining. The lengthened chassis gave an extended wheelbase, and extra room for-and-aft in the cab. All production, which ceased in 1987, took place at the Vigo plant in Spain.

The Ami 6, 8, and Super Service Vans occupy the same timeline as their parent models. They were closely car-derived, being essentially the Estate model without rear passenger doors, the rear wings suitably extended forwards, and usually without any side glass in the cargo bay, although this was available as an option.

The Weekend and Mixte variants, built either in Belgium, or for the Belgian market, feature a rear seat, additional glass in the back, and a higher level of trim.

Other versions of A-Series Vans have been built in different locations around the world, for instance, the Dak, an Acadiane-like vehicle built by Citmos, in Slovenia.

 

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