Heritage Ice Cream Vans: Colicci Commer Bantam

Having been spoilt by Alfonso’s Rocket in the June Newsletter you’d think it would be nigh on impossible to follow up the heritage section this month. Well thankfully, that is not the case!

Take a look at this stunning Commer Bantam, built for Colicci in London. Featuring the latest holdover system and a fully working soft ice cream setup, this vintage ice cream van is as good as any we have ever produced.

As with many Whitby Morrison heritage restorations, the Commer arrived to us as a flatbed delivery truck. A new hardwood timber frame was constructed and finished with aluminium panelling, before being painted. The interior was kitted out in a custom Formica style to compliment the age of the vehicle and its branding.

On departure from the Whitby Morrison factory, it went straight into action at the Chelsea Flower Show and can now be found working in the Royal parks in London.


Raymond ‘Flo’ Morris celebrates 25 years

The Whitby Morrison Team produce some of the finest ice cream vans in the world; the dedication, hard work and undoubted skills are one of the key reasons behind the success of every Whitby van.

Many of the Whitby Morrison team join the company at a young age, make huge strides forward and then lead the company from strength to strength. A number of people have reached the 25-year milestone in recent times, and Paint Shop Team Leader Raymond Morris is the latest to join that elite group.

Ray ‘Flo’ Morris joined Whitby Morrison in 1992 and has likely painted over 2000 ice cream vans during his career – some of the quirkier and intricate designs you can see here.

We’d like to thank Flo for his hard work and commitment to Whitby Morrison, and for producing some of the best paint finishes you are ever likely to see. He’s not bad for coming up with new ideas too! Cheers Flo!

Historic Mobiling: Tartaglia’s of Gloucester

Following on from the Perruzza family last month, we’ve received some fantastic photos over the past month showing the great Mobiling histories within Ice Cream Families. Please continue to send them in and we’ll feature them where we can.

This month we continue with the theme by sharing a selection of images courtesy of Mike Allan of Tartaglia’s of Gloucester. Many of you will have met with Mike over the years, a true gentleman capable of making some of the finest ice cream. He has a great Mobiling setup too.

Amongst the images supplied by Mike is one showing the very first Morrison built Bedford CF with a direct drive system. You can also see what an excellent fleet he operated in the mid-80s with that impressive line-up of vans. The single image of the Ford Transit is the very first Whitby-built Ice Cream Van for Tartaglia’s – and we’re very proud to say, the first of many.

The final image shows how Mike has kept with tradition but modernised at the same time with one of his Millennium Ford Transits.

Many of you will be able to relate to these images and have affinity in one way or another. This industry is unique; there may be several thousand vans out there, but we all tend to know and can relate to one another.

Historic images from the Perruzza family

The Perruzza family from the Lake District are popular and well known throughout Mobiling circles. On a recent visit to the Whitby Morrison factory they took the opportunity to share some fantastic photos showing the family’s Mobiling heritage.

The main photo shows the Terribile family of Preston, relatives of the Perruzza’s and owners of one of the first motorised Ice Cream Vans in the 1920s.

Also pictured are Tony Perruzza’s grandfather Joseph with his horse and cart, and his grandmother Teresa, also with horse and cart. The van image is that of one belonging to Dominic Perruzza in the 1950s.

It’s a real privilege to be able to see these images and share them with you. It just shows the depths of family heritage within the ice cream industry.

If you and your families have similar images, we’d love to have the opportunity to share them in forthcoming newsletters.

A tribute to Bedford

The 2016 Whitby Event presented us with the opportunity to present something a little different than normal. In recent years we’ve enjoyed sharing the industry icons with you; the Rocket, the J Type and the Batman Mini to name just a few.

And whilst they remain timeless and will always hold a place in Mobiler’s hearts, we thought it time for a change. Every Mobiler has a Bedford Ice Cream Van memory, whether having driven them, bought from them or heard the stories of them; they are looked back upon with a fondness.

At this years’ event, it allowed us to display Bedfords from the early 1960s CAs, through the early CFs of the 1970s right up to the CF2s of the 1980s – something for everyone.

The display also demonstrated the variety in coachbuilding and bodywork styling with examples from Cummins, Morrison and Whitby; all with little features that have influenced today’s modern designs.

They were one of the first successful and easy to manoeuvre street trading vehicles and will forever remain an icon of the Mobiling world.

Cummins Bedford CF – what a lovely pair

These two stunning Cummins Bedford CF Ice Cream Vans have been restored on behalf of two long standing friends and customers of Whitby Morrison.

Each vehicle was stripped right back to basics with extensive chassis work to ensure everything is as good as it has ever been.

Both have been fully kitted out with new refrigeration and counterwork to the interior – and of course stunning new paint work and graphics to the outside!

Both vans have even had the original direct drive system overhauled and recommissioned so that it works just like the good old days of the 1970s!

There are some lovely Bedford CFs around, but we think you’ll struggle to beat this pair of beauties!

Vintage Austin A55 Ice Cream Van

Regular readers of the Whitby Morrison Newsletter often talk to me about the diversity of the vans featured in the Heritage Collection feature. Its always nice to find something a little different, and this month is really special for just that reason.

Pictured here is an Austin A55 with newly panelled bodywork, striking aluminium mouldings with blue insert, a brand new 2 lid refrigeration system and a rather stunning pink and old English white paint job.

It’s a shame we don’t have a photo to show just what condition this van was in originally – it had worked hard, and by that we mean incredibly hard! Everything was stripped back to the bare bones, and either repaired or replaced with a newly made equivalent.

The Austin A55 came under the Austin Cambridge banner which included the A40, A50 and A60 too. It was an affordable yet stylish looking vehicle popularised by its versatility.

Examples included the popular coupe, the pickup utility model and even a van equivalent.

And whilst there aren’t too many known A55 ice cream vans, this one proves just how good they looked!

Commer Ambulance awaits action

The vintage Mobiling market continues to grow with opportunities popping up all over the country, whether it opens up a new location or allows a job to be taken where a new one wouldn’t be suitable.

Here at Whitby Morrison we take great pride in the restoration and conversion of heritage ice cream vans and, as any regular visitor will tell you, we have a continual number of jobs in production at any one time.

We also don’t like to miss an opportunity too! And when the chance to purchase this stunning 1965 Commer came up, it had to be seriously considered.

Built as a civilian support ambulance for the Cold War era, the Commer had just 9000 miles on the clock and just a single owner FROM NEW. With just a spec of surface rust, and everything original it couldn’t be ignored.

After careful negotiations the Commer was purchased – and this included the military equipment in the rear including field stretchers, gas masks, first aid kits, a Geiger-counter (for measuring radiation) and even two 1940s resuscitation devices. Great stuff indeed.

There are no immediate plans to convert this vehicle into an ice cream van, but we know its there and what a great job it’d do as one! For now it’ll remain a mobile museum.

Walls FG Rocket launched

Here at Whitby Morrison we are passionate about vintage ice cream vans and preserving the heritage of our great industry. This regular feature of the newsletter shows what an important part of our business it is.

We try to cover all projects that are undertaken – we’re proud of them all. But every now and then, one comes through that is above and beyond exceptional – and this month is one of those occasions.

This unbelievable Leyland FG Cummins Rocket is newly converted and completed in vintage Walls livery to compliment the Bedford CA featured in February.

This is probably one of, if not, the best vehicle that we have ever produced. With a brand new hardwood framework, aluminium bodywork panelling, a super silent generator, Carpigiani Rapida II and Whitby Morrison holdover refrigeration system, this Rocket is geared up for everything and anything – it drives perfectly too!

Ask any mobile what the best ice cream van ever made is and a high percentage will say the Rocket. The Rocket is one of the most iconic ice cream vans ever produced and influenced the development of the Amalfi which was launched in 2013.

Very few working examples remain in existence today but this has been built to last and will be working at events around the UK throughout this forthcoming season.

Delving into the Commercial Motor magazine archive

When it comes to heritage, Mobiler Paul Field is one of the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable members of the industry.

Paul and I were recently discussing manufacturers of Ice Cream Vans from years gone by and in particular MTS Ltd of Feltham. He pointed me in the direction of the new archive offered by Commercial Motor magazine.

The search facility allows you to look back as far as 1905 for articles covering all manner of subjects. Just typing in ice cream brings up over 400 articles itself!

For info, here is the text from the article that Paul directed me to where it talks about an order for 100 Commers and 25 Trojan Ice Cream Vans;
A THREE-FIGURE contract for ice.1-1. cream vans is among new orders placed with vehicle manufacturers. Mylos (Caterers), Ltd., 251 Chiswick High Road, London, W.4, have contracted tobuy 100 ice-cream vans from M.T.S., Ltd., Browells Lane, Feltham, Middx.

To be based on Commer 11-ton chassis, they are stated to be the first in this country to be fitted with Italian Carpigiani instant ice cream-making equipment, for which Mr. Whippy (Soft Freeze), Ltd., 61 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa, are the sole agents in this country.

The vans will have interior lining in Warerite. Mylos may have a further 250 vans of this type made for use in Spain.

A fleet of Trojan 25-cwt. ice-cream sales vehicles is being supplied to Messrs. G. W. Beeston and Son, Chelmsford, by the Romford Motor Co., Ltd.

With the colder months now upon us, there’s some great reading here http://archive.commercialmotor.com