Oldtimer project

Address: 9400 Sopron,
Zsilip utca 13.


Just like every kid, I too imagined myself behind the wheel of a supersports car or a convertible, cruising on the beach, when I was younger. However, as soon as I started making my own money, I couldn’t picture myself in anything other than a van.

As a graphic designer I have been decorating commercial vans for over two decades, and all this time I have been driving a panel van myself. Hence the idea: why not restore a vintage van and use it for my everyday commute. Wouldn’t that be stylish?

I have a soft spot for convenience. The same goes for cars. I have always liked old objects, but I’ve never been an old-timer freak. A perfectly restored Jaguar E-type is nothing but an object to me. Not so a wagon, or a van! Something you don’t feel sorry for when the bucket of paint you’re transporting falls over or the bag of potatoes rips open. You are not constantly thinking, oh my, what’s gonna happen to that beautiful trim. What’s more, these little trucks are not only a way of convenient transport, but also represent a mobile display for your commercial message.

It’s not by accident that the panel van was one of the first body styles in the history of motoring.

At the beginning of the 2000’s (not quite sure which year exactly) I bumped into the picture of an old postal van. I haven’t seen one of these since my childhood. This feeling has gotten hold of me – the kind of rush of emotions you feel when you rediscover a taste or a smell from you childhood. Of course, I didn’t know the brand or the model back then, but it didn’t take me long to find out it was an IFA Framo. I remember being a kid watching the postman getting out of one of these – I even remember the noise the Framo made. Further research revealed there was not one of them left in Hungary. I’m quite sure I could have found one in Germany, but back then, this whole old-timer business seemed so far out of reach.

I have spent years trying to get over this itch to drive a vintage van, but, as you’ve probably guessed by now, I failed. Together with my eldest son, Bence, we roamed the internet for old vans. On one of these occasions, again by accident, we bumped into a Peugeot 203 Fourgonette. I have never seen or even heard of this van before, but, what can I say, it was love at first sight…

Wide fenders, backwards opening “suicide doors”, indicator levers, and that classic round shape I’d been looking for… The essence of all the features defining the vehicle design of the 50’s. From that moment on I knew what exactly I was after! It is a well-known fact that due to the rough use vans hardly ever make it to veteran age. So what followed was a long and tedious searching process. It turned out there was not a single 203 Fourgonette in Hungary – at times of the cold war very few French cars came through to Central-Eastern Europe. As we searched the sites of vintage car clubs in Slovakia, Austria, and other countries, it became apparent that there is no Fourgonette in any of the surrounding regions, either. Even though magazines reported from time to time of abandoned veteran cars being found in barns, such discoveries were very rare. That’s why it was nothing short of a miracle when we came across an exemplar in South Germany, make 1956, still running, and considering its age in excellent condition. It had been imported into Germany from France in 1986, but wasn’t roadworthy and ended up sitting tucked away from sunlight in a locked shed just like sleeping beauty.

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