The Evolution of Luton Vans: From Concept to Modern Design

The Evolution of Luton Vans From Concept to Modern Design


If you are looking to hire a van for moving cargo for your home or office, you may be having to deal with a lot of different options. There are different designs in which transportation vans are available and they all have their own use.

Luton vans are also a specific type of van in this category. They have a particular shape, a particular design, and a particular purpose. In this post, we’re going to look at everything about these vans. We’re going to discuss the history and evolution of Luton vans along with their uses, advantages, and disadvantages.

What are Luton Vans?

Luton vans have a lot of different names. They may even not be called “Luton vans” in some places. The other monikers for this type of vehicle include:

  • Box truck
  • Cube van
  • Cube truck

And so on. Frankly enough, the other names convey the shape and purpose of these vans more effectively.

Luton vans are vans that come with a large storage space behind the driver’s cab. The storage space – which is in the form of a single cube or compartment – takes up the entire chassis of the van except for the driver’s cab in the front. The reason for the name “Luton” vans is because of the additional protruding storage space (which is called the Luton peak) that comes over the driver’s cab.

The benefit of the protruding part coming over the cab is that the weight is equally distributed over the entire chassis. Without it, the shape of the vehicle would be somewhat lopsided and imbalanced with the big cube at the back and the short cab in front. The design helps in making the van stable when it moves.

The important thing to keep in mind about these vans is that, apart from the driver’s cab, there is no other passenger seating. Depending on the size of the van, there can be three seats up front, with the two main big ones and a smaller one in the middle.

While other aspects of the design and working have been enhanced during the evolution of Luton vans, the main storage/seating proportion has remained largely unchanged.

What are Luton Vans Used for?

What are Luton Vans Used for?

Luton vans are primarily used for transportation purposes.

  • Home moving: These vans can be used for house moving. When someone is moving houses, there are often large belongings like furniture and other equipment that need to be shifted. For things like these, trucks and vans are used. Luton vans, in particular, can be great for such purposes since they have ample room in the back for storing all types of objects. The bigger the van in question is, the greater will be its carrying capacity.
  • The “Luton peak” design, i.e., the little part that comes over the front cab, adds more space to the back storage area. While there are other types of trucks and vans that movers can use, the Luton van can be especially handy considering the particular design.
  • Commercial moving purposes: Just as people move homes (and thus require moving vehicles), the same need can arise for businesses and offices. In the case of the latter, however, there is a greater number of large (and often fragile) items that need to be moved. This can involve office equipment, electronics, and the like.
  • Moving these types of items can be easy and efficient with Luton vans, once again due to their large back storage space.
  • However, as compared to residential moves, commercial moves can require larger vans with larger cargo spaces.
  • Commercial deliveries and distribution: The need to move offices and business premises doesn’t arise nearly as frequently as everyday commercial deliveries and distribution runs. Different types of vehicles can be suitable for this purpose, depending on the type of business and the products/goods that have to be delivered. Luton vans can be excellent for this since they can be bought in many different sizes (to suit the business) and they have such a cargo-carrying-friendly design.

What was the Initial Concept/History of Luton Vans?

What was the Initial Concept/History of Luton Vans?

Now, let’s take a look into the initial concept and history of these things. That way, we’ll be able to appreciate the evolution of Luton vans as well as their timeless utility.

The word “Luton” comes from the name of a town in Bedfordshire, England. The town was known by the name “Luton,” and it was this place that originated the specific type and design of van that we now know with the same name.

According to an online source called RT Self-Drive Hire, the purpose for which these vans were made was to carry and transport straw hats. The design that incorporated the Luton peak was especially useful for this. The protruding added space could be used for storing more hats but without causing an imbalance in the van itself since the hats were feather-light in weight.

While this was the primary purpose, the need and popularity of Luton vans grew during World War 2. During WW2, goods had to be transported for long distances – from factories and warehouses to military installments, etc. During the transport, the items – which at the time would have included things like food, weapons, ammunition, etc. – had to remain safe.

Luton vans were an idealistic solution to this. Thanks to their large storages and stable design, they could be used to carry large amounts of goods at a time without any compromise on their safety and security.

It was from this type of origin that the evolution of Luton vans brought them to the shape and form in which we know them now.

Evolution of Luton Vans into the Modern Design

Now, let’s talk about how these vans have changed throughout the years. We will talk about some of the main things that have been upgraded from the time they were invented to the time when we’re writing this post (and you’re reading it).

  • Size: Back in the day when these vans were newly made, there was not as much technology or material engineering available as we have now. Bringing an increase in the size of the chassis and maintaining the stable design was not easy. Nowadays, however, by doing things like using light materials for manufacturing, etc., these vans can be made with an increased size and a consequent increased storage space.
  • Smart features and technologies: Another evolution that these vans have gone through is the inclusion of smart features and technologies. There are different features that new vehicles come with – such as infotainment units, charging ports, GPS navigation, and the like.
  • Safety features: This is yet another aspect of van evolution that you can see in Luton vans. As compared to the ones back in the day, the newer models come equipped with safety features such as airbags, parking sensors, ABS, and so on.

What are the main Benefits and Drawbacks of Luton Vans?

What are the main Benefits and Drawbacks of Luton Vans?

We have looked at what these vans are, what they are used for, and how they originated. Now we’re going to list some of their main benefits and drawbacks. It’s going to be more or less a sum up of the things that we’ve already discussed.


  • Luton vans come with a lot of storage space. The majority of the chassis is taken up by the storage unit with only the cab up front. For moving purposes, the more storage the vehicle has, the better.
  • In Luton vans, the special “Luton peak” makes things even more awesome in terms of storage. Instead of the space on top of the driver’s cab getting wasted, it’s utilized for more storage in the form of a protruding section.
  • The design of the Luton vans, owing to their particular shape, is safe and stable.


  • While the design is safe and secure, Luton vans do come with the downside of being large and having all the concomitant cons. For example, maneuvering a Luton van in tight spaces is not easy. It may even be impossible in places where smaller vehicles may be able to easily do it.
  • Using a Luton van requires special permits/licensing. If you use smaller trucks (such as the ones that come with the back tonneau), this problem does not arise.


That brings this post to an end.

Luton vans are special types of vans that are typically used for moving cargo and transportation. The distinguishing feature of these vans is their shape – which incorporates an additional, hooked, storage compartment hanging over the driver’s cab.

There are different purposes for which these vans can be used. We discussed those in the post above. They can be great for residential deliveries, commercial deliveries, and the like.

Like other motor vehicles, Luton vans have an interesting history behind them. As we discussed above, they first rose in popularity during WW2 as a transportation vehicle. Of course, through the years, there has been Luton van conversion and evolution that has led them to the design in which we now know them.

While there are many benefits and perks to these vans, they also come with some drawbacks and downsides. Knowing these drawbacks can help you understand the proper way to use the vans and get the most out of them. That is why we mentioned those above right before the conclusion.

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