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The Motorists' Guide
  • 5 Modern Retro Styled Vans

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    Steve Q

    Steve takes a look at a selection of retro inspired vans which are either still in production or have ceased production in the last few years

    It's obvious vans are designed to carry a variety and a lot of stuff efficiently, but a van also has another crucial yet often forgotten role. For business owners, vans are moving billboards for their businesses. It cannot be denied that most new vans look similar to one another making it hard to stand out. However, I've found a selection of vans that will certainly stand out from the crowd. 

    Piaggio Porter 

    The Piaggio Porter is a micro van which started out in life as the Bedford Rascal, Vauxhall Rascal and Suzuki Super Carry which are all in effect the same vehicle. All were fitted with a mid mounted 1.0 litre engine including the new Porter. The Porter has proved very popular in Italy and is ideal for narrow city streets and has proven to be a very successful design. The payload capacity between all models ranges from 560-1120kg, and it's available as a van, minibus, tipper, dropside or chassis cab. Piaggio have really catered for all. 

    Piaggio Porter | Guillaume Vachey | Flickr

    Brazilian Volkswagen T2 Transporter 

    It may come as a surprise to know that the infamous T2 Transporter was in production in Brazil untill 2015. This meant the T2 outlived it's next two successors the T25 and T4. It also ceased production the same year the T5 did in Europe, but the T5 is still being produced in Mexico by Dodge, but this is a side point. Just like the 1970s Transporter the Brazilian version looks almost identical. The key differences include a radiator grill in the front to accommodate for the 1.4 water-cooled petrol engine in the rear. The same engine which was in the Polo and Fox, therefore parts are readily available and it'll be fuel efficient. Also the roof line is slightly boxier and different front bumper. Believe it or not the Brazilian T2 is more common then you'd think thanks to various companies importing them. The payload is 780kg and mpg from the 1.4 petrol you can expect 30mpg. 

    File:Brazilian Kombi pair.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

    Mercedes Vario 

    Easily the largest van on this list, the Vario is the daddy of retro looking vans, weighing around 3500kg and Snap-On's van of choice and manufactured between 1996-2013. Those who know your Mercedes vans will know that the Vario looks very similar to a former Mercedes van, the TN Transporter, but one that's been on steroids. its actually the successor to the Mercedes T2 and has proven popular as minibuses for private and public use. It is also available in other body variants such as crewcab dropside, dropside, luton, tipper and van with cherry picker attachment to name but a few. Post 2000 models are fitted with a 4.2 litre turbo diesel engine which is available in various power outputs dependent on the body style and offered with a 5 speed manual or automatic gearbox with mpg figures of around 20mpg. as you'd expect with a van of this size the payload is impressive at 4.4 tons and a load volume of 17.4 cubic metres. Due to the vans versatility it has been popular with emergency services, postal services such as UPS  

    File:Mercedes Vario 818 (505801250).jpg - Wikimedia Commons

    Piaggio Ape

    The Ape is definitely the smallest van in this lineup and some would argue it's not a van at all. What cannot be denied is it's success in Italy where it is regularly seen traversing narrow city streets or winding it's way around remote villages. Fuel efficiency is guaranteed as the Ape is powered by a 50cc moped engine, but don't be fooled as it can cope with 675kg! The UK it has proven popular as mobile coffee outlets but its suitable for a variety of tasks. 

    File:Piaggio Ape Kasten.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

    Citroen H Van

    Technically this is a conversion kit which an be installed on a Peugeot  Boxer but totally transforms the appearance, for the better I say! Unlike other retro styled vans with this option you will have the benefit not the most up to date safety features, and the second largest retro inspired van after the Mercedes Vario on the market with a payload between 1,125kg to 1,570kg. The engines will up be bang up to date with emissions and fuel economy which is a further bonus. 

    Citroën gives van life some retro flavor with the Type H WildCamp ...


    I hope I've inspired you to consider a retro van for your business and to show a glimpse of the varied selection of retro vans that are out there. 


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