No benches involved here, just individual buckets. The Matra-Simca Bagheera and its successor Murena flew the manufacturer’s van seat layout flag. You could take one more person than in a Lotus, although there was bound to be less leeway. What changed the situation was the McLaren F1, which put the driver in pole position. No one copied it, and only McLaren returned to the theme with the over a million pound Speedtail.
They were dummy or real military vehicles sold to the public. They of course included the original Land Rover, the Mini Moke, designed to be flat packed and parachuted into combat, and the Rolls-Royce-powered Austin Champ. Also discover the Mercedes-Benz Unimog, Steyr-Puch Haflinger, Volkswagen Trekker (alias Thing), Volkswagen Iltis, Suzuki LJ80 very Jeep and Citroën Méhari by the sea. These are certainly not crosses.
It’s a long-standing tax-evading trick: to offer a van-size car without side windows or rear seats so that it can be used as a business tool. At the time, it was the purchase tax that was avoided by some quite chic bodybuilder brands, like Lea-Francis, so that it could become a station wagon or a shooting brake for the hunting set and peach. In modern times, this was something for those suppliers of handcrafted sustainable egg cups who can afford the short-lived Land Rover Discovery Commercial or Mini Clubvan. More recently, Suzuki used it to get around the CO2 problem with the Jimny LCV.