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The arrival of an ice cream van was once as much a part of a summer evening as a schedule of television programmes that you would generally avoid.
Decent weather is final upon us (at least it was when I wrote those words!) and, as the cinema adverts used to claim back in the 1960s, now is the time for ice cream. Highly decorated and still a part of the motoring landscape, the ice cream van is a very welcome sight at the end of a long summer’s day so here are six classic examples.
In France the Estafette genuinely merits the term ‘iconic’; from mobile shops and ice-cream vans to mini-buses and as transport for the telephone service. The Renault could also be seen delivering bread, acting as a support vehicle at the Tour de France, and, as with Simon’s 1963 example, as a police van.
‘A lot don’t know what it is. Or have never heard of an A105 Vanden Plas and are shocked. But everyone loves them - young and old’.
In the 1950s, no line of traffic would have been complete without an example of the E83W range en route to delivering coal, laundry, milk or, in summer, ice cream cornets. Their rate of progress could never be described as ‘rapid’ – there appears to be no instance of an E83W getaway vehicle in a British B-film – but they were almost guaranteed to reach their destination.
In 1954 Ford unveiled its latest van – one that was ‘Sparkling with Good Points’. The nation’s fleet buyers and shop owners were promised that the Thames 300E would be ‘a credit to your business’, Not to mention that with such a fine vehicle, ‘driving ceases to be work and becomes a pleasure’
Mark is the proud owner of the Austin Maestro VDP we recently featured, and he has also acquired a 216 Strata Grey Metallic Vanden Plas EFi. It was first registered on the 1st August 1988 and now goes by the name “Hyacinth”.
There are certain sights and sounds that can immediately recapture the past – Nigel Planer singing Hole in My Shoe, the opening to The Comic Strip Presents... – and the sight of a well-preserved Marina or Ital Van. It would not be a typical month in 1980s suburbia without seeing a BT Morris attending to yet another malfunctioning telephone box.