When the love for a car manufacturer runs so deep, hobbies spontaneously become jobs, the most interesting little companies arise. Edward van Zanten’s Peugeauto is one of those. The gems of France’s eldest surviving car manufacturer are being cherished and kept on the road with passion and endurance. Running a beautiful place like that just cries for a suitable van. Edward’s Peugeot D4a is absolutely the best choice for his company.
The Peugeot D4a is one of France’s little wonders of transport from the periode just after the Second World War. Just before and mostly during this black period in history several French makes were developing the van of the future. Citroëns TUB only lived a very short pre-war life, the post-war H-van knew a succes that made up for all the losses easily. Less known with the wider public was the Chenard&Walcker CPV. Like the TUB, a simple empty box, sporting all mechanicals in between the front wheels. Thus the French created very roomy vans with extraordinary compact outside measurements. Ditching the space consuming drivetrain and the heavy chassis’, loading height was lowered considerably, what really made the difference with every small van up to date.
Peugeot never really pioneered in modern techniques. The overly decent family company from Sochaux was always known for their reliable, more conservative automobiles. Peugeot being in the front line of practical, front wheel driven light vans proved to be a matter of smart book keeping, rather than being technically forward. In 1946 the Chenard&Walcker CPV was put on the market with a very weak little two stroke two cilinder engine behind its grille. Very soon it got replaced by the Peugeot 202’s 1200cc four cilinder engine they bought in Sochaux. Buying is one thing, paying for it something completely different. When Chenard&Walcker’s debts sky rocketed, Peugeot being the largest creditor was there to take over the bankrupt company. In 1950 the CPV became the Peugeot D3, later D3a, D4a and D4b in the end. The main development being the increase of engine power according to what Peugeot had on offer in their saloon car range. In 1965 the D4b was replaced with the J7, which survived in many versions until the nineties.
Edwards is a 1956 D4a. Peugeot extended its model range with the larger 403, sporting a 1500cc engine. In the D4a this engine delivered 45 bhp and was nice and torquey in the lower revs, making it more than able to hoist around any possible load that would fit into the back with remarkable ease. Edwards example has the optional sliding door and of course the bonnet strangely stuck to the front of the van, distinguishing the Peugeots from the early Chenard&Walckers.Peugeauto’s van has a long career behind its wheels, although some kind of engine damage long time ago might have saved it from being attacked by rust all to seriously. OK, the sliding door and tailgate did suffer, but Edward doesn’t make a big point about it. It’s important for this van to show its past. It didn’t come this far without getting scarred after all. As a showcase for his business, this well lived little do-it-all is the only logical choice. We couldn’t agree more.
Marc GF Zaan