Overall condition: Restorable
Number of owners: 1 (UK information – EU information unknown)
History: Incredibly limited – some import paperwork present
MOT: Exempt – last MOT expired May 2022
By the 70s, Citroen decided it was time to replace the 2CV van and bring in something a little more modern. Looking to the Dyane, Citroen created the Acadiane van; which unlike the 2CV popular worldwide in its various guises, was only ever produced as a LHD vehicle.
Motoring brochures of the time show the Acadiane being used by everyone from bakers to painters through to farmers. The Acadiane was named as such due to heritage; Citroen had previously used the prefix AK for their range of light commercials and this new van was simply a play on the term.
Unlike the 2CV which sold in the millions, the Acadiane has a shorter life span and production figures – it was made from 1977 until 1987 and across all variants sold just over 250,000. Perhaps one of the reasons the Acadiane van didn’t sell more is because Citroen had bagged big contracts to supply 2CV vans to government agencies and big companies and continued making them in the first few years of Acadiane production; taking some of the obvious market share from their new product.
Although the front end might immediately favour the Dyane, this isn’t simply a rejigged Dyane. The van as you see here today has heavier duty suspension, a slightly altered chassis and a rear brake limiter whose action is dependent on load.
It’s also a little niftier than the Dyane in that the Dyane’s windows are the slide back type whereas on the Acadiane, you get wind down windows.
The Acadiane was available as a two seater commercial or as a Mixte with sliding rear windows and a removable rear bench seat. In fact, the Acadiane was a history maker for Citroen: the optional rear seats first seen in the Acadiane are now optional in commercial Citroens like the Berlingo. The Mixte version also had the passenger sun visor (which is present in this vehicle) and the roof was corrugated.
Performance wise, the plucky Acadiane driver can expect to cruise comfortably and economically at around 55mph. What it lacks in speed, it makes up for in savings at the petrol station and an Acadiane fully loaded can get over 40mpg when driven on longer journeys. The box is a four forward speed and reverse manual box, with top gear (4th) often referred to as overdrive.
The Acadiane was replaced in the late 80s by the Visa-based C15 van, but still draws more smiles from Citroen fanatics and proud French citizens than many other old motors. It’s fun, it’s different and best of all in these times of record petrol prices; it’s economical on fuel!
This lesser-spotted little Acadiane has, like many Citroen commercials, been used as a business vehicle and has been wrapped in matte black vinyl at some stage (there is no paperwork to identify when this job was undertaken). The vinyls had carried the business logo and the ghosting of these is visible on some panels of the vehicle.
There is some wear to the vinyl wrap and signs of ageing including some light bubbling around the seams by the front headlights, some loss of the vinyl wrap in places including peeling around the fuel cap and a few light scrapes in a few places. The rear numberplate light also needs reaffixing to the car.
However, the underside of the car looks to be in fine condition and there are no noted areas requiring work; the upside of the vehicle living in sunnier climes before being imported into the UK.
The panels gaps are all uniform and correct and the doors shut well with no causes for concern. The bodywork under the wrap visually appears ‘smooth’ and aside from the aforementioned areas of light bubbling, there is nothing which immediately presents as alarming.
The tyres are all dated 2010-2014 and all show signs of age and would benefit from being replaced. The spare tyre although barely used, shows signs of light cracking. The wheels are good, but would benefit from refurbishment; especially OSF which is dented and missing a centre cap.
Whilst this attractive little van requires a little fettling elsewhere, the mechanical elements of the vehicle sell it immeasurably; because it is a sweet-sounding engine which suggests the low mileage to be accurate.
The engine bay very much reflects the ‘work horse’ nature of the vehicle, but pleasingly, money has been well spent and all the hoses appear to be in good condition and inspecting the engine bay whilst the engine was running revealed no untoward noises or leaks.
The exhaust doesn’t appear smoky whilst idling or whilst driving and there are no leaks under the car to report. Oil checked was clear and the level was normal.
The exhaust is affixed firmly and securely with no attention needed and no perishable items like the rubbers and windscreen wipers need changing; in fact many of them looked to have been changed in the last few years.
Although there is the cosmetically noted light bubbling noted on the exterior as mentioned above, there are no causes for concern on the underside of the vehicle.
The interior is where this lovely van would benefit most from some small investment. The drivers seat needs to be completely reupholstered or replaced. At present with the centre lower piece collapsed, support is required underneath to drive the vehicle. The passenger seat is weathered but perfectly usable. As Citroen fanatics will tell you, parts are plentiful for Citroens of this era and a prospective buyer will find it easy to find some secondhand seats to furnish the vehicle.
The dash, made from plastic, shows signs of age but all the gauges are present and working. The vehicle is fantastic in that no modifications or amendments have been made to the dash meaning the next owner can truly put their own stamp on the vehicle. The only noted fault on the vehicle with dash controls is that the wipers are not currently working. The interior light is fixed in with tape, but worked on test.
Whilst the outside is wrapped, the interior paintwork is still white as per factory spec and there were no leaks around the screens or windows when caught in a heavy downpour.
To the rear of the van, the vehicle has been left largely as per factory spec with a painted floor. The insertion of a stainless-steel fixed table into the back of the van has been undertaken by the current owner for commercial use, although this could be removed. As is usual with commercials of this age, the floor to the rear has paint loss, some minor dents and surface rust; a symptom of fair wear and tear in a high traffic/stress area.
Overall, the vehicle appears to have undergone no previous restoration work and presents a fantastic opportunity to acquire a vehicle well-known on the continent for being economic and fuss-free for business or pleasure.
With the Acadiane being a van, the vehicle is open to a myriad of different end uses from camper van conversion to pop up catering for events; the world is your oyster with this fantastic commercial.
Unlike the 2CV which is well spotted in the UK, having never sold in the UK market, the Acadiane is a rare vehicle and will help prospective buyers stand out from the crowd whether you’re attending a car show or simply travelling from A to B.
Despite their rarity on this side of the water, they are still well-loved in France and sharing many parts with the Dyane, they are easy to keep on the road and Acadiane parts are easy to source in France and other mainland Europe destinations should the necessary part not be available in the UK.
Coupled with individuality and the plentiful parts supply is a thriving club scene; the Citroen Car Club (open to all Citroens, not just cars) has a great support network and a plethora of fun and engaging events throughout the year.
Buying this Acadiane isn’t just buying an old French van, it’s buying into potential, a brilliant community and a fun and enjoyable restoration project which can be tailored to suit every lifestyle and end goal.
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