Here’s one that I just had to look into. A 1964 Lancia Jolly van, which used the drivetrain of the Lancia Appia saloon, built from 1953 to 1963. Just over 3000 Jollys were built, so the chances of finding one in the UK are slim, to say the least.
Lancia is not a name we readily associate with commercial vehicles, but the company has a long history of trucks and buses, as well as military vehicles.
The Appia was a conventional saloon but had a few Lancia twists. Of note, are the sliding pillar independent front suspension and the V4 engine, mounted in-line and driving the rear wheels. The Appia was the last rear wheel drive Lancia in this class. The Jolly’s successor, the Super Jolly (who said the Japanese had a monopoly of strange Anglophone names?), was front wheel drive, based on the Flavia.
That V4 was just 1090cc, had 36bhp and the van could reach around 60mph, given time one suspects. The gearbox is recorded as being a five speed unit, and the dash has a graceful simplicity to it, with the dials set into elegantly folded metal.
This example was on UK Ebay recently, being sold as a part complete restoration project. The seller has a history pack showing a previous life as a Lancia service van. The UK registration can be confirmed as 1964, with left hand drive. Sales would have been a challenge, surely, with tariffs, left hand drive, novelty and a very wide range of local competition against it. Indeed, records suggest Lancia only brought two into the UK.
It spent many years as a camper, taking advantage of the high roof, after having originally been a mobile workshop for Lancia themselves.
So if you fancy something little different from a VW Type 2 and a route less well frequently taken than a Ford, BMC or Rootes van, then maybe this is one for you.
Until I find an Alfa Romeo van….