Finally got to send Martyn the photographs I took at this years 70th Anniversary meeting at Thouars in western France.
Felt a bit miffed when I found out the northern anniversary meeting was at the same time we were at our place in the Charente, I knew it was a long haul I didn't fancy driving having just done the 740 mile journey a few days earlier to department 16!
Anyway luckily i got some wifi at Leclerc whilst shopping and via our clubs website found the western event mentioned.
I don't know how I managed to talk her indoors to a 4 hour round trip on a blisteringly hot day but she came along for the ride and said she thoroughly enjoyed it!
The setting was perfect outside of the old Chateau orangerie high above the river Thouet.
We counted approximately 26 H vans, there were 2 Citroen SM's that have the Maserati V6 engines installed. The two vehicles that really stood out were the concept van and the wooden 2CV!
Noticed one British registered Pompiers fire truck but never managed to see or chat to the owner. (That belongs to David Ross. Martyn)
Underneath the orangerie in the stone vaulted ceiling cellars was a display of vintage photographs and a massive model collection of new and old vehicles. I had been hoping to see lots of trade stalls but not to be, the only two there mainly had spares for anything but H vans.
Bought the T shirt and the cup!
Wonder if I'll be around for the 100th celebrations?
Tube it don't lose it.
Tube it don't lose it.
June 5th 2017
I've had one registration this month and some interesting pictures from Jeff Winterman. Also some updated pictures from Peter Mitchell.
The registration is from Martin Thomas who has a 1973 Hy 1.9 petrol engine blue and white van, its past history is that it used to be a French Outdoor Broadcast Vehicle. Martin says "This is my HY in its current state. I've old pictures of it before I owned it and before the restoration started but I thought I'd share a true representation of it. It's been like this for about 6 months now."
Well thats all for now folks and hope to see you in Princethorpe. Keep sending your articles in. Tube it don't lose it.
8th May 2017
A lovely looking van and unusual to see one in the postal colours. The second registration is from Daras Rich who says :-
I have just bought a 1965 LWB HY72. Although it’s been in the UK since the early 1990s, it’s still on French plates: 355MV54. I bought it from (Ex 2CVGB Chairman) John Blakely but I’m not sure whether or not it’s on the register. I’ve got it mot’d and will be getting it UK registered shortly.
I have no history from its time in France but it seems to be an ex fire department ambulance. From looking at similar spec vans on the internet, I believe it’s probably a Filca France conversion, (judging by the half-frosted windows, type of rear doors, etc). I’ve attached some photos of my van.
Many thanks Daras, I will be doing an article later on in the year about Filca France conversions.
Simon Saint dropped me a line saying :- I thought it was about time that I made contact. You might have read snippets about Henry the H over the last two years but, to my shame, in all that time he has not been on the road. However I have been doing a bit of necessary body repair prior to taking him for an MOT and that has involved crawling around underneath. This activity reminded me of something that I already knew, that the many 50mm diameter 'access' holes in the box section chassis have mostly lost their blanking plugs. At least I assume that they are meant to have blanking plugs because a few still do. I have been checking some suppliers' parts lists on line and have made a couple of phone calls but so far I have drawn a blank. So my first question is whether you know of any supplier of these parts. It seems to me that it would be a good idea to close up these holes to stop the road rubbish and moisture getting in.
It would be a great idea to blank up the holes, as chassis box section can be very hard to come by and repair. Hopefully Citroworld has helped you out and it would be great to see it back on the road.
Continuing with the H Van changes through out the years we are at 1951, in Jan. A new flexible oil gauge with a rubber seal peplaces the rigid gauge. Feb. The steering wheel is made of molded plastic instead of ebonite. June the gearbox receives a positive locking of 2nd and 3rd gear controlled by the clutch pedal. Sept. A new type of lock system on the rear lower doors is intruduced. The starter motor changes the brushes from a postive to a negative. In Nov. a bodybuilder ironicaly called The Bastard changed a fleet Modalux Cafe H Vans with an enlarged grille an enveloping bumper and headlights that look like something from a science fiction movie.
Well thats all for now folks, keep sending stuff in.
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April 3rd 2017
I wonder whether you have H meetings like we have in Switzerland with our H van interest group ("IG HY").
I will send a copy of the list of our meetings to you, as soon as it is finalised. We had our annual discussion about when and where recently.
It starts off with Easter weekend near Colmar, Alsace, and ends the last September weekend in Ticino, where it is still warm at that time.
My own van is not a HY, it is a HIN because of the Diesel engine. It is the yellow CW-HY 52 on the picture of the meeting near Berne on the long Ascension weekend.
I had 2CVs for 35 years, but in the moment I only own the HY. I am looking for a 2CV, but haven't found one. Of course there are offers, but either they are very well, then they are quite expensive, or they are in bad condition, then they have to be cheap (and quite often they aren't even then).
I've had an email from John Sobey who says :-
Lets hope for a good turnout.
Birth of the HZ its trade name is Pick-up 850kg its technical characteristics are identical to those of the H except for the useful load reduced to 850.
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5th Feb 2017
As you are all aware this year is the 70th anniversary of the H Van, so each month I'll be adding a piece about the changes of the H Van thoughout the years. So we'll start at the beginning. In June 1947 the H Van was launched, CEO Pierre Boulanger drafts the specifications: a unibody, front-wheel drive adopting lots of features from the four-cylinder Traction Avant with strong rear suspension. The main aim is to carry over as many parts as possible from the existing brand model. The picture shows the launch of the Citroen H.
Distinctive features of the early H are, flat foot steps, chrome insert around the windscreen rubber also the front bumper had the Citroen logo on it.
Our latest registration is from Roger Hoskins who says :-
The website is up and running and I've received a great response, it still needs to attract people to use it and get involved in the Forum, time will tell. Our latest
addition to the register is from Paul Walters who wrote :-
Bonjour a tous,
Tim James has reminded me that next year is the 70th birthday of the H Van, and not surprising its being celebrated in France.
The H Van website has now changed, its now www.hvan.hvan.co.uk please take a look and send me your membership number to receive your login details. If you have any idea's that you would like to see on the website then please drop me a line. If you haven't registered your van yet please fill in the registration form. On a lighter note, I've had a email from Matt, he says :-
Keep sending me articles in Tube it don't lose it.
We have a couple of new Registrations this month, the first is from John Owen who
has a 1955 H his history details are as such :- The Vin Plate has 'H' only. The story go,s,
First owned, by The Bridges & Roads Department, Next, A fighter pilot, and then an
English Couple, then brought to England by a chap, in Purley Surrey.Now under restoration.
I'm still waiting for some pictures from John so we can all have a look.
The next registration is from Martin Overington he's not sure what year the van is
but it was imported in 1970 Here's a couple of pics.
Registers Weekend turned out to be a scorcher, the turnout was great they where lined up from top to
bottem in the field. Everything bar H vans. 3 turned up Charles Vacy- Ash and Richard and Melanie Sadler and Me and Caroline.
Seeing as we were the only ones that put the van in the line up for the vote...... WE WON best in show...
A win's a win I'll take that anytime. I had some great chats with people about there van that they didn't bring.
So I know they are out there somewhere. Here's a few pics of Registers Day. 2016
18 July 2016
Last Saturday (28th May) we were invited to an art exhibition in memory of Jon Winter. Sadly he
passed away in April, and his paintings where being sold off, all proceeds would go to Ataxia UK. He was
a resident of Pytchley the village we live in, also an owner of a Citroen Light 15, and a member of the T.O.C.
So we decided to turn up in our H Van and our 2cv. Also Bernie Shaw a member of the Traction Owners Club
came along in his 1925 Citroen cloverleaf. We had a great chat about Citroen's and our vehicles. I
bought a lovely painting by Jon, of a light 15 set in Paris.
Johan Balslev joined the registration and sent me pictures of his van he writes:-
Hy tout les monde,
Stu Whitell has registered his rare 1955 H , he tells me :- Not much known about it I'm afraid. The last owner brought it over to the UK 2 years ago but has not done anything with it. Bought it as a non runner and have cranked the engine over by hand and it's free moving. Can move it easily by pushing and the handbrake even seems responsive. Will be cleaning the petrol tank, fuel line and carb first then having a go at firing it up.
It's great to hear that people like Stu are not daunted in taking on a project like this, I'm sure he will have great fun with his H, keep in touch and let us know how its going. If you need any advice then please don't hesitate to ask.
If you have carried out any restoration work on your van or modifications to improve your van and you want to share your experiences then please send them in and I'll add them to the site.
Tube it don't lose it
This month they've been a few new registrations, the first is from Tom Vickers from Colchester who has a 1977 HY Tom says :-I have attached a few pictures, still in the process of trying to get it running before we strip it down too much further. I am restoring it with the help of a friend asa catering van for my own business idea. I have no information on the van other than that it was built in February 1977, it came with no paperwork or history..... and I am head over heels with it (obsessed is another word that springs to mind). The shopping list gets longer and longer, and its going to be a struggle, I was hoping it was going to be more labour than parts, but with things like the window runners setting me back £100 each, there is a lot of 'unconsidered' costs to...... consider!
H VAN STOLEN
I've had an email from Jay Jones who writes:-
HY Tout le monde,
We've had a couple of new registrations, the first is from Olle Westman who lives in Sweden, he writes :-
Jag vet inte om detta är chassinumret som fanns på den från början, detta nummer stansades in på hjälpramen vid importen till Sverige.
Årsmodellen är en knepig historia. Såvitt jag vet såldes den ny 1982. Vid importen så sägs det att den inte skulle gå att registrera på grund av svenska bestämmelser (avgas eller något sånt). Så den har fått årsmodell 1974 i registreringshandlingarna, vilket är gynnsamt då jag avser att modernisera den något vad det gäller motor och växellåda
Den har varit HY-grå men kommer att lackeras i en annan färg när den är färdigrenoverad.
Jag har arbetat med den sedan hösten 2013 och har som plan att provköra den sommaren 2016. Hoppas jag. . .
Tyvärr så har jag inte så många bilder hur den såg ut när jag köpte den, men jag skickar två som är tagna innan jag strippade den.
Thanks to the wonders of google translate I think he says this :- I do not know if this is the chassis number that was on it from the beginning, this number was punched into the subframe at import into Sweden.
Model year is a tricky history. As far as I know it was sold new in 1982. When imported, so it is said that it would not go to register because of the Swedish law (exhaust or something like that). So it has got model year 1974 registration documents, which is favorable then I intend to modernize it slightly in terms of engine and gearbox
It has been the HY-gray but will be painted in a different color when completed renovated.
I have worked with it since autumn 2013 and has been designed to test drive the summer of 2016. I hope. . .
Unfortunately, I have not so many images how it looked when I bought it, but I'll send you two shot before I stripped it.
The second registration is from Richard Burch who's white :-
These were taken at the CX Rally at Little Horwood the day after I had imported the vehicle in 2013. I live in Winslow 2 miles down the road from Little Horwood, so the timing was perfect.
Since then I have registered and MOTed it, and carried out a few modifications including windows to each side immediately behind the cab, a pair of rear seats, and front seat belts.
I have since realised that although the body was made in 1972, a pre ’63 engine is fitted. It’s working well, but I would be very keen to upgrade it at some stage.
I've had a new registration from Stuart and Annabel Gentry, here's their story:-
We found Flo start of last December at a great wee find in Holmbridge - Graham Morton Garages, Citroen specialists. We had gone over thinking we wanted another Citroen HY van that was slightly out of our budget. Stuart had warned me that all Graham had in was a horsebox at the moment. Graham had just been over to get it from France from a French family who had it from the beginning & still used it as a horsebox up until Graham purchased it off them the month before. Stuart said it probably would'nt do us as our family Coffee Van on IOM.
But as soon as we both walked in we both went Wow - she's the one. Graham showed us around a few other Citroen HY vans he had in & some shells with no engines. But we knew we wanted the horsebox as it fitted the strict mobile catering unit guidelines on the IOM.
So we gave Graham an idea of our vision - he suggested a few ideas of his own after doing many of these. Then he started work on Flo. We went over about 4 times to check in on her & decide on how the hatch would be cut in her side and how the back 'horse' style trailer bit would be cut and open. Graham had so many helpful ideas & would always get a few other Citroen HY catering vans in for us to properly decide.
Flo was lined with aluminium sheets to fill in the horse box gaps. Had all her electrics & lights done by Graham Morton & his team. We picked her spray colour - it had to be cream for the coffee & cream aspect. And her name was always going to be Flo because it was my mums & Grans middle name. It was their little nest egg & Grans passion for baking each week, when I was small, gave me the starting chance & skills to get where I am now.
Flo is the first of her kind on IOM and she definitely has that wow factor at all the events here.
It definitely has been a labour of love as it took 3 months to get her through the Manx Government MOT as it is all computers & high tech equipment they use. So obviously they were picking every little thing up with her being 1968 & not techy at all. Never mind all the levers & KM speed dial & all the words in French. And she still grumbles when it is cold, damp & very wet. But we love her none the same, grumbles & splutters, the lot. She's one of the family & we are now known as Family Flo.
find us on facebook as Flo The Coffee Van
Many thanks for that Stuart and Annabel, you can really feel the passion. If anyone else has a similar story please send them in.
Hy tout les monde
The spotters have been out again, Mike Daly spotted this J reg short wheel base one at Blenheim Palace, if this is yours please send me your details so I can add it to the register.
Same goes for this Green long wheel base, spotted by Mike in Edinburgh.
Winter draws on, so I hope your getting your van ready for the cold period. Looking forward to next year John Sobey is organising an H Van meet. Here are the detail:-
Its the "HY Days and Holidays Camp". Location Tudor Caravan Park, Slimbridge Gloucestershire GL2 7BP. From the north
take the A38 south from M5 J13. and turn right at the roundabout s/p Slimbridge. From the south take the A38 north
from M5 J14 and left at roundabout to Slimbridge. Site is on left before the canal bridge. Pub with food at the entrance.
The campsite is on www.tudorcaravanpark.com We will be on the Rally field with our big party tent. No hookups but modern heated toilets and showers. Close to the Sharpness Canal and Slimbridge Willdfowl Trust. Cycle hire and boat trips hopefully. £14 p.unit p.night. Welcome to all
H Vanners and friends.
- Written by Martyn Brown