Let’s first establish why this is my kind of camionette. Pininfarina design, pistachio gelato paint, French joie de vivre, a reputation for durability (strange, but true), and a four-cylinder under the hood that might even sip diesel. I could go on, easy, but I’ll stop before I work myself up into too much of a frenzy. There is simply nothing more I could want from a camionette (or “pick-up truck”, in case you can’t find a Babel Fish to stick in your ear), other than to own one rather than look at one, of course.
This ode to functional simplicity was found not far from the dusty black Citroën DS, just across the Tagus river that separates Almada from Lisbon, in fact. I stumbled across is just as I was leaving the Theives’ Market. The only thing that was stolen was my heart.
For some reason, this license plate doesn’t share with us the year of this truck’s birth. No matter, because we know it was built between 1960 and 1988, a twenty-eight year production run that further demonstrates the longevity of great French design. Producing a car for that long doesn’t really happen anymore. That would be like constructing a school that would last 300 years. Today, only the 12 year run of the New Beetle and the 10 year run of the S2000 even come close.
The 404 wasn’t just produced in a camionette though, there was also a sedan, a wagon, and a convertible. Now let’s say that we took that 404 sedan and a Citroën DS then mixed them together with a cheery tune and black and white cinematography on a snow-swept road that could easily be in Canada, but probably isn’t. Then what would we have? A Claude Lelouch film, of course.
[Pictures: Author, Video: YouTube]