Citroen HY Coffee Van (1966?):


This started as a desire to build a retro coffee van for my other half. I quickly realised that no matter what you did to the original running gear on an HY van, it would not pull a loaded up coffee vehicle at any more than 40mph. I visited various specialists who had done Audi A4 diesel engine conversions and also Ford Zetec petrol engines. The conversions were ludicrously expensive, waiting times were long and the results were an improved powertrain but not significantly enough for me. They still have the stupidly expensive HY brakes, suspension, chassis, no air con and ALL are LHD. Also, even the extended (SAPA) models which I purchased were not long enough.


I did some serious research and measured a number of modern vans to see if any modern chassis would work. I found that a certain 3.5t diesel van could be made to work so I purchased one of those to give it a go. It took a lot of time and effort – rear chassis needed shortening, front needed extending, engine needed moving forwards, new mounts making etc. A new floor was needed for the cab to clear the modern engine (2.3 diesel with automatic transmission, air conditioning). I t also needed a height change in the rear to work on top of the new chassis. Because of the conversion and the rust repairs, very little remained of the original HY van. To make things even more interesting, I decided to design and manufacture a large side slide out and also a rear slide out. When you are inside this van and the slides are out, the floor space is huge. It can easily accommodate 4 people working inside unlike 1 or 2 in a normal HY. The van will cruise at 70-80mph running on a completely transplanted chassis, axles, engine, transmission, ABS brakes etc etc. It is also able to enter appropriate low emission zones due to its modern engine. This is a big issue for older vehicles.