PSA began its looooong pre-reveal tease a couple of months ahead of next week’s official unveiling of its new EPM2 light van and utilitarian MPV range, consisting of the all-new Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Rifter and Opel/Vauxhall Combo.
Along with the Renault Kangoo, Fiat Doblo and Volkswagen Caddy panel van models, the previous two generations of PSA’s Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner light commercial vehicle (LCV) twins had a profound impact on the traditional passenger car-derived LCV panel van models that used to roll the roost, pre-Berlingo et al.
From the family saloon-based Ford Model T, Morris Oxford, Austin Seven, Morris Minor, Austin A35, Mini, Vauxhall Viva HA, Hillman Imp, Ford Escort, Morris Marina, Austin Maestro, Vauxhall Astra and countless other panel vans, regular car-derived LCVs have formed a common part of our street scene for decades.
In the UK in the 1950s and 60s, a variety of kits existed – some offered semi-officially by the vehicle manufacturers themselves via their dealer networks – to convert a saloon-based panel van model into a small, basic family estate car, with the option of rear seats, a roof vent, and occasionally rear side windows, to avoid having to pay the higher rate of passenger car taxation. These kits were especially popular for BMC’s Mini and Austin A35 vans, as well as the commercial versions of the Ford Anglia, Commer/Hillman Husky and Bedford/Vauxhall Viva HA.