This is a Poncin VP2000, it’s a rare 6×6 amphibious vehicle developed in France in the 1970s. For obvious reasons it was nicknamed the “Lunar Jeep” and it quickly found favor in regions with difficult terrain – particularly ski resorts.
The 1970s sci-fi styling of the Poncin led to its nickname and it established the company as a respected manufacturer of 6×6 amphibious vehicles, a number of other models would follow in the VP line including tracked full-cab snow vehicles and Jeep-like 4x4s.
Fast Facts – The Poncin VP2000
- The Poncin VP2000 was developed by Gilles Poncin after a 6×6 vehicle he had bought from America secondhand at auction turned out to be unusable. He created his own version with a slew of upgrades and released it in 1980.
- The VP2000 has a fiberglass tub-like body and three axles turning six wheels, steering is accomplished by braking the wheels on one side which turns the vehicle like a tank.
- The engine used in the VP2000 was sourced from the Citroën 2CV, a simple air-cooled flat-twin with a displacement of 602cc and 29 bhp.
- After the VP2000 Véhicules Poncin SA released the VP2025, VP2500, VP2600, 2800, VP3000, VP5000, and a series of 4×4 and 6×6 Jeep-like vehicles.
Véhicules Poncin SA
Véhicules Poncin SA was founded in 1974 after Gilles Poncin bought himself a 6×6 amphibious vehicle from the United States to drive around his property and have fun with his kids.
The vehicle was secondhand and it proved to be in poor condition, Poncin reverse engineered it and developed his own new-and-improved version using many locally-sourced French components.
Poncin would operate from 1974 until 1993 and their vehicles are now considered highly collectible by enthusiasts, with spare parts acquisition made somewhat easier by the use of many French parts, like the Citroën 2CV engine used in the original VP2000.
The Poncin VP2000
The Poncin VP2000 was the first production vehicle from Poncin, it was released in 1980 after years of development and a number of prototypes. The VP2000 is both a six-wheel drive and amphibious, making it capable of crossing almost any terrain.
Tracked versions of the VP2000 were made, they incorporated a rubber belt around the three wheels on each side similar to a tank, this gave the vehicle an increased footprint and made it usable on soft snow, deep mud, and other loose or challenging surfaces.
The fundamental design of the VP2000 used many pre-existing concepts, it has a watertight fiberglass tub-like body designed to double as a boat hull and three are three axles powering six wheels in total – three per side.
Turning is accomplished by driving one set of wheels forwards while the other set has a break applied, similar to the turning system used on a tank. This allows the VP2000, and other similar 6×6 vehicles, to turn 360º on the spot.
Power was provided by one of the toughest French engines ever designed, the air-cooled, flat-twin from the Citroën 2CV with 29 bhp and a displacement of 602cc. Though no powerful by any measure the 2CV engine was simple and lightweight, and with the appropriate gearing it was more than capable of moving the VP2000 along at a suitable pace.
The Poncin VP2000 would prove to be a great success for the fledgling company, it was soon followed by a slew of other similar vehicles including the VP2025, VP2500, VP2600, 2800, VP3000, VP5000, and a series of 4×4 and 6×6 Jeep-like vehicles.
The Poncin VP2000 Shown Here
The Poncin VP2000 you see here is an original survivor, it’s finished in army green and comes in complete condition – though it obviously needs recommissioning.
It’s listed with 57 hours on the clock and it’s due to roll across the auction block with Aguttes on the 23rd of October with a price guide of €18,500 – €22,500 or approximately $18,160 – $22,080 USD.
If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of Aguttes
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