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Your New Food Truck? 1973 Citroen HY Van

When it comes to vintage trucks and vans, it’s hard to deny their appeal strictly from a character standpoint. There’s something about a rig that’s been used for mundane tasks and assignments that survives to live a nice retirement as an oddity welcomed at any Cars & Coffee meet you choose. The trouble is, rigs like this 1973 Citroen HY van here on eBay, are not exactly a blast to drive – so you really have to enjoy the experience of local driving in a ponderous storage pod on wheels.

I like to think I have some experience with this phenomenon, owning the 1981 Toyota HiAce that’s been profiled on these pages. A 4-speed column shift responsible for stirring a 60 b.h.p. diesel down the road makes driving a real commitment, but it is enjoyable once you get going – provided you’re not going far. Unlike my Toyota, this Citroen costs a fair chunk of change with an asking price of $35,900, so you’re really going to have to want it for that kind of scratch.

These have been popping up with some regularity as importation becomes a less onerous affair and vehicle importers are more than willing to help import oddballs that the home country has no use for. This Citroen would be ideal for a business enterprise reliant on a vehicle for advertising, like a food truck gig or some sort of mobile entertainment business. Even then, you have to hope the proprietor has a stomach for staying in the slow lane and avoiding high-speed merges.

All the negatives of driving a rolling brick aside, the Citroen appears quite tidy inside and the passenger compartment looks borderline cozy. The seller notes the suicide doors function as intended as the paneling is all straight with the doors and hood within spec for factory alignment. The interior really is a blank canvas for whatever business would be well-suited to a truck like this, provided long-distance commuting isn’t a requirement.


  1. Evan Allen

    The one from Lupin the Third? Sold.

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  2. nojuan

    You see more and more of these poping up because they are now available in China with electric power train (golf cart) and even have kitchens already installed for half this price brand new!

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  3. mark

    Asking $35,900? An under powered brick with wheels.

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  4. JBP

    Such a tin can Olsen Banden was stealing, and drove from Copenhagen, to Jylland ( the west coast in Denmark)
    But it ended in a crusher, course of a bad cyl head.
    The movie is named Olsen Banden i Jylland. From the 70’s.
    Try see it, they are funny, and a giga hit in Europe.
    These are not more underpowered, than a vw bus. Just EU standart. And cheap in fuel

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  5. Tirefriar

    5 lug hubs, must be their HD version

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    Remove that last “0” from the price tag…sold.

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  7. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Love to see that with a modern drive train under it. It has a lot of character and would make a statement no other vehicle of the era could IMO.
    Big price associated with it but if you have the coin it could be fun.

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  8. BR

    Did the writer even read the ad? It’s a four cylinder gas engine with a three speed column shift. But I digress, maybe it’s a diesel with spark plug wires and a distributor.
    And for only $5k more you can buy one in pristine condition, Take one zero off the price tag and just maybe ………….

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  9. MikeH

    If you really want one, here is one in France, advertised as being in concours condition, for about $22,000. It won’t take $13,000 to ship it over.


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  10. Will Owen

    That is not a reasonable price for these, especially since it’s pretty much the most basic model. The short wheelbase and basic interior is okay by me, and if I were seriously in the market I might try to dicker, but there are other ways to land a good one. The Netherlands is I think still a Happy Hunting Grounds for working-class Citroens in general, and SoCal (or California in general) a good place to have one. Unlike the classic sedans, the H-vans are short on fancy engineering, and while FWD their engines are in front of the axle and thus pretty easy to get to. I recall a friend having one of these, who said that the FWD drive-shafts from the DS cars were stronger, and a simple replacement, which might be nice to know …

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  11. Charlie Member

    Friends brought one to the US from The Netherlands in the 80,s to use as an RV. Drug customs dog found scraps of pot under the floor and Customs impounded it. Some lawyering later they paid a fine of about $180 for “undeclared agricultural products” and drove it all over the country on secondary roads.

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  12. Dominique

    Good luck to this dreamer seller! Granted these are cool….BUT….coolness has its limits Dollar wise…..1/3rd would be just ok.

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  13. Kenneth Carney

    Mike and Edd did one on Wheeler Dealers a few years back. Theirs was powered by a Ford Transit V-6 backed by a 4-speed. If not that, the EV thing Wouldn’t be so bad either. You do have enough roof to slap some solar panels on it to increase your range. Were it priced right, I’m sure I could find a use for it.

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    I think one of the longer Hy vans would make for a better food truck.

    Here’s a site in the UK that had oodles of Hy vans for sale: http://citroenhvan.eu

    And here’s a site for a company that specializes in turning Hy vans into food trucks: https://vintagefoodtrucks.com

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  15. Tricky

    and here is what you can do with one…


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  16. ChipsBe

    I have one of these, have converted it to a catering vehicle w/out too much changes made to the interior. It has no cooking or heating capabilities, is simply for fun. It is slow and difficult to take anywhere, the steering is heavy and has sluggish power-plant. The “mis-quote” over it being a diesel and 4-speed ( I think ) refers to the Toyota vehicle the writer was comparing the HY to. The price seems a reach, but who knows.

    Like 0

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