In retaliation, President Johnson put an astronomical 25 percent tax on the import of light trucks, blocking the Citroën H Van’s chances to prosper in America.
Citroën H near-side sliding door and front-hinged driver doors. Photo by Charles01 CC BY-SA 3.0
Before production ceased in 1981, the van was popular in France, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Revival and restoration of the van is popular in Britain today, the company having had produced only a small number of right hand drive vans.
The Citroën’s biggest competitor was the famed Volkswagen Type 2, named the Transporter or the Kombi, but known colloquially as the V.W. Bus.
French beauty. Photo by Bart CC BY 2.0
Introduced two years after the Citroën, the Volkswagen remains in production to this day and is arguably the most iconic of vans.
Its import to America was also hindered by the Chicken Tax. Both boasting large, side-loading doors and front-wheel drive, the Citroën could claim superiority if only for its 1.9 litre motor, compared to the smaller 1.2 litres capacity of the Volkswagen. The one downside is the van’s top speed: a modest 60 miles per hour.
French classic vans Citroen HY are presented in the museum of vintage cars Classic Remise.
The Citroën H is underrated in its popularity. Aside from stopping tourists in Parisian streets, it has been featured in over 700 movies and TV shows.
Today the van is most likely to be found stationary, decorating a trendy cafe or being used as a stand to sell flowers from.
Recently there has been a surge in restoration of the van, with admirers refurbishing them to accommodate kitchens for trendy new food trucks.