Fabrizio Caselani is a crazy Citroen fan. The owner of the coachbuilder Caselani made his money with the production of plastic boat bodies. In his heart, however, the curly head from Lombardy not only loves slender hulls that divide the water on the Mediterranean and northern Italian lakes, but also the car brand Citroen - probably more than any Frenchman. He was particularly taken with the Fourgonnette delivery van – produced between 1951 and 1987 on the basis of the legendary and fickle Citroen 2CV duck. And precisely the delivery classic for bricklayers, bakers, painters, farmers and law enforcement agencies is now being breathed new life by Caselani in a small series of 200 vehicles.
Based on the current Citroen Berlingo (either 4.40 or 4.75 meters long), a new Fourgonnette can be created in two weeks and a wad of banknotes – even electric if desired. The new Fourgonnette no longer has anything in common with the small truck on wheels of the past, along with rickety doors and thin tires in cutting-off wheel format. It looks like the legitimate successor to the 2CV panel van, with its unrecognizable fiberglass front grille, bumper and wheel arches and plastic side panels - but drives like a regular e-Berlingo, while the louvered structure and clear-glass headlights of the previous Jeep Stretch the Wrangler into the wind. At the rear there is a small vertical window that is rounded at the top and bottom - as much a homage to the 2CV as the chrome applications. There are also ten original pastel shades from the 1960s and 1970s when it comes to color selection.
Admittedly, the sight of the Franco-Italo morph will make the stomachs of many purists and some classical music fans churn, while croque monsieur and cafe au lait remain untouched on the bistro table as the Caselani-Berlingo rushes by, but a few traders with French blood might be right have great joy in the Restomod of a different kind - also because the project is being carried out with the "Oui" of the Stellantis Group and thus the placet of the Citroen brand owners, who once again lent a benevolent hand to the final design. "We are very proud that our best-selling Berlingo has been relaunched by Caselani, inspired by the legendary 2CV Fourgonnette that has left its mark on both Citroen history and the automotive industry," says Citroen Design Director Pierre Leclercq, "in The design started in the workshops of the coachbuilder Caselani and we then worked hand in hand. Our own designers have kept a close eye on the work to ensure that the original 2CV Fourgonnette is not interpreted too literally, but that the result truly carries Citroen DNA.”
The rattling two-cylinder of the 2CV is forgotten and most of the only 200 customers should probably opt for the 100 kW / 136 hp / 260 Nm strong electric version, which costs a stately 58,310 euros. The driving performance and electric range of around 250 kilometers are unchanged compared to the normal model thanks to the 50 kWh battery pack. This is the end of the road even at a narrow 135 km/h. If you want your own e-Berlingo to shine in the Fourgonnette design, you have to pay 16,800 euros for the conversion alone, bring your own base vehicle to Lombardy, spend a two-week holiday here at best and then take it home with you in the new 2CV guise .
What the Fourgonnette lacks is not only the rattling sound of the cylinder duet, but also the spartan equipment of the early Franco loading master. Inside, however, the new edition is completely unchanged apart from the optional wooden loading area - a pity, because a few details from the past decades would have done it well both as a passenger car and as a commercial vehicle variant. The displays behind the steering wheel and in the middle of the dashboard shine as you know them without any retro charm. The same applies to panels and seats. Incidentally, the idea of the retro Berlingo is not entirely new. In 2017, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Type H (500,000 units sold between 1948 and 1981), Fabrizio Caselani developed a body kit based on the Citroen Jumper.