I did make mention of this van some time ago and it has occasionally sneaked into frame in pictures I have posted so I thought I’d post up some better pics of it. A friend in France bought this 1982 Peugeot J9 and came over in it back in February. He left it here for me to register and sell on his behalf. Having made some use of it recently, I think it’s a brilliant vehicle… it’s much like a French version of the old Commer PB or Spacevan, only much better!
Shorter than something like a Ford Transit thanks to its flat nose, but with a massive amount of space inside, it’s a really practical vehicle which has a carrying capacity of some 1200kg. It’s powered by a 2.5 litre Indenor diesel via a four speed gearbox, which admittedly does limit it to about 60mph unless you want to go deaf….quiet, it isn’t. It’s got typically comfy French suspension and handles quite well for what it is.
It was owned by a campsite in the South of France so it’s lived in a dry climate and only ever saw use in the summer months. As a result it is really solid and hasn’t suffered the ravages of rust at all. It was originally a minibus but with the last two rows of seats removed it’s now an eight seater so it’s more akin to a people carrier than a van or minibus now.
I particularly love the sliding doors which are a great boon in narrow car park spaces! Unfortunately, unlike older vans with sliding doors, you can’t drive around with them open as they don’t latch back in the open position. Also the mirrors are mounted to the doors. With it being a minibus originally, it has windows all round which really helps with visibility when driving on the left, especially at junctions. There’s no power assistance on the steering so it can be a bit heavy to maneuver at low speed but it’s fine on the move. The ridiculously long gearstick provides a somewhat vague cog swapping experience making it all too easy to slip it into reverse instead of first when stopped at a junction! Like most old cars, it takes a little while to get used to its foibles but it all adds character, something which this thing has in spades.
I’m so taken with this van that I decided I wanted one for myself but with one important difference… I wanted the earlier J7 model which I believe came out in about 1965. And so after a bit of looking on Leboncoin, I found exactly what I was looking for… another minibus. So some time next month, hopefully I will be bringing this back to the UK!…