Cohort Classic: Peugeot J7 Van – Precursor To My Promaster or My Promaster Van Build Post?

The next post scheduled this morning is a write-up of my Promaster van build, which has turned into my longest post ever, and likely any at CC ever. As a precursor, here’s a fine Peugeot J7 van that was found and posted at the Cohort by Nathan Williams. Like the Promaster, it too has FWD and a low rear load floor height. It was built between 1965-1980, and came with either Peugeot’s fine gasoline four as used in the 403 or the Idenor 1816cc diesel four.

And to make the connection even more explicitly, my Promaster might well be wearing a Peugeot grille and badge.

Like this, as in the Peugeot Boxer, one of several badge-engineered version of the Fiat Ducato. My son Ted actually ordered one from Ebay, but apparently it was too large to ship via mail, and the seller wasn’t willing to deal with the hassles of freight shipping. Oh well…

The Peugeot J7 was an evolution of the D3 and D4 vans, which were originally designed and built by Chenard-Walker, and was taken over by Peugeot in 1951, its major creditor, when C-W could no longer pay for the engines from Peugeot. This is how Peugeot, a rigid adherent to RWD until the 60s, first got into FWD vehicles. But then a van is ideal for that format. We covered the D4 here.

Here’s the J7 brochure, which clearly shows the engine ahead of the transaxle driving the front wheels, in the same way the groundbreaking Citroen H Van did. And the Renault Estafette. It was the French way, and one that came to increasingly dominate European van design, except for the highest weight capacity versions.

These older vans are all enjoying a resurgence in popularity thanks to the huge van life boom. There’s even a company in the UK that imports and updates them with more modern engines and such. very sweet little van.

But if I’m going to have a Peugeot van, it’s going to be a modern and big one, like mine. Just need to find a way to get a Boxer grille over here.

By the way, there’s not a direct lineage from Peugeot’s FWD vans to their Boxer or any of the Ducato-based vans.

Now get ready for the great big long tour of mine…