The History of the Step Van and
curbside delivery vans.
Early History of the term Van: The word
van is a shortened version of the word caravan, which originally meant
in the olden days a covered vehicle. The first generation of American
vans were the 1960s compact vans, which were patterned in size after the
Volkswagen Bus. Basically named a "Step Van because a delivery man could
step-up into one via low van steps built under the doors, while standing
up-right. He could also stand up in one from the drivers seat and in the
Therefore the North American STEP VAN was
named this way because of the ease with which one can step in and out of
it. Now wonder it became the standard truck type Widely used by delivery
services, courier companies and the parcel division of the US Postal
Service and Canada Post. They are often seen driven with the door open,
especially in big cities. Step vans have more obviously boxy shapes and
higher rooftops than other vans, and they are rarely employed for
carrying passengers. Many are converted as food service mobile kitchens
and frozen or softserve Ice Cream Trucks with a service window where the
vendor can stand up.
We have multiple listings for used
Chevy V6 powered aluminum body Step Vans for sale.
Other Types of Vans: The standard, or
full size, vans appeared with Ford's innovation of moving the engine
forward under a short hood and using pickup truck components and
taillights. The engine cockpit housing is often called a dog house. Over
time, they evolved longer noses and sleeker shapes and a lot more head
room in the storage or cargo areas.
Perfect for Thriftshop pickups and Newspaper or
Click on Route truck images to
The Corvair-based entry even aped the
rear-mounted, air-cooled engine design. The Ford Falcon had a flat nose,
with the engine mounted between and behind the front seats. The Dodge
A100 had a similar layout and could accommodate a V-8. Chevrolet also
switched to this layout. The early Ford, Dodge and Corvair vans were
also produced as pickup trucks.
In urban areas of the United States full-size vans have been used as
commuter vans since 1971, when Dodge introduced a van that could
transport up to 15 passengers. Many mobile businesses use a van to carry
almost their entire business to various places where they work. For
instance, there are those who come to homes or places of business to
perform services or to install or repair appliances.
Historic 1952 Mercedes Benz Panel delivery Van in Museum display
The 1960's VW Mini Bus Hippie
conversion vans started the van craze. Conversions for personal
motor homes became very popular, drawing the interest of recreational
vehicle manufacturers. Based upon that,
van chassis were developed in the early 1970s to accommodate demand for
conversions which were heavier and wider than the standard production
vans completed by the major auto and truck manufacturers (i.e.
Chevrolet-GM, Dodge, and Ford). As they began working on bigger models
of their popular light-duty van products, they developed cutaway van
chassis solely for use by second stage manufacturers.
Before the vans of th e60's and 70's came the ultra collectable Divco
Motors Delivey Vans .Divco stands for Detroit Industrial Vehicles
Company. Founded in 1926, Divco was well-known for its pioneering
delivery vehicles, especially the original milk delivery trucks. From
1926 until 1986, Divco produced multi-stop delivery trucks unlike any
others. Only the VW Beetle stayed in production with the same basic
model for a longer period of time.
Divco was a brand name of delivery trucks in the
United States. Divco is an acronym which stands for Detroit
Industrial Vehicles Company. Founded in 1926, Divco was well-known for
its pioneering delivery vehicles, especially the home delivery milk
trucks. From 1926 until 1986, Divco produced multi-stop delivery trucks
unlike any others. Only the VW Beetle stayed in production with the same
basic model for a longer period of time. Divco trucks have become
popular collectible vehicles today.
In 1957, Divco merged with the Wayne Works based in Richmond, Indiana to
form Divco-Wayne. During the Divco-Wayne era, some Divco trucks were
modified with seats and windows from the Wayne Works to produce a Divco
Dividend Bus. But very few of these units were built between 1959 and
1961. The truck manufacturing of Divco-Wayne continued to be through the
Divco portion. Divco was spun-off from the company in 1968, and
production ended in 1986. (Wayne became an Indian Head company, and
continued manufacturing buses until bankruptcy and liquidation in 1992).
Many delivery Step vans use a cutaway van
chassis. These are used by second stage manufacturers like Union City
Body and Utilimaster for a wide range of completed step van styled motor
vehicles. Especially popular in the United States, they are usually
based upon incomplete vans made by manufacturers such as Chrysler
Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors which are generally
equipped with heavier components than most of their complete products.
To these incomplete vehicles, a second stage manufacturer adds specific
equipment and completes the vehicle. Common applications of this type of
vehicle design and manufacturing includes small trucks, Delivery trucks,
Ice Cream Step Vans, small school buses, recreational vehicles,and
A sedan delivery (Car derived van in
British English, commonly called a delivery in US) is a two-door station
wagon with solid panels in place of the rear side windows. They were
almost always ordered from the factory with few or no options and
spartan trim. They were used in the same way a delivery van is used
today, by businesses ranging from plumbers to bakeries, and are now
popular in hot rod circles.
With the growing sales of the Volkswagen Microvan, they faded from the
scene. Chevrolet dropped the body type in 1960 while Ford moved it to
the Ford Falcon line-up until 1965. Pontiac produced them through 1953
in the U.S. and 1958 in Canada. Plymouth produced them for a short while
until 1937. Manufacturers attempted a comeback with sedan delivery
versions of the Chevrolet Vega and Ford Pinto wagons in the 1970s.The
first General Motors van was the Chevrolet Corvair-based Greenbrier van,
introduced for 1961, which used a flat-6 opposed rear engine with air
cooling, inspired by the Volkswagen bus.
A panel van (or panelvan) is a form of delivery van, and in some national
usages it is distinct from a purpose-designed van, in that it is based on
a family car chassis. Elsewhere in the world it applies to any solid
(rigid-bodied, non-articulated) van, smaller than a lorry or truck
(although the latter is also a vague definition), without any rear side
windows — in this usage the term is fairly interchangeable with simply
"panel van". Indeed, in this latter case it tends to imply a vehicle
larger than one based on a passenger car.
Utilimaster Corporation produces
customized Parcel Delivery Vans (PDVs), walk-in vans (also known as step
vans), and truck bodies. It was founded in 1973 in Wakarusa, Indiana.
by Holiday Rambler and then Harley-Davidson, it was bought by senior
management along with an investment group led by Kirkland Messina for
$65 million in 1996. Union City Body Company, a former competitor
from Union City, Indiana, was bought by Utilimaster Corp. for an
undisclosed amount on November 16, 2005. Utilimaster's customers include
FedEx, United States Postal Service, UPS, Canada Post, Purolator,
Airborne, Budget, Penske, Ryder TRS, Frito-Lay, Keebler, Krispy Kreme,
IBC, Canadian Linen and Uniform Service, Cintas, AmeriPride, Verizon,
Apria Health Care, and Home Depot. These Utilimaster Step Vans with
Chevrolet V6 or V8 diesel engines are the workhorses of todays'
Step Van INdustry.
Walk-in trucks or delivery vans (Also
known as step vans), are the primary product of Utilimaster Corporation.
They are received as bare chassis with the entire truck built from raw
material. Cabs in these trucks have 1 or 2 doors that are sedan or
sliding types. The sliding doors are often capable of being locked in
the open position for low-speed driving during deliveries. Most are
built now with Aluminum parts to save weight and eliminate rusting.
The cabs also allow full access to the cargo of the trucks in most
configurations. Some trucks also have side access doors while nearly all
allow outside cargo entry from roll-up or hinged doors. These trucks are
the most customizable and can be modified to incredibly diverse
possibilities including air conditioning, oxygen tanks, laundry racks,
hinged shelving, lift-gates, airtight construction, windows, extra
Truck body Step Vans: The final
truck type that is produced by Utilimaster. These are also finished cabs
that are larger vehicles that simply have a box attached to the back
before painting. These tend to be large diesel trucks used by Budget and
Old Dominion that are capable of hauling more or larger products than
the other trucks produced. Access to the cargo area in these trucks is
always possible through a rear door and sometimes through a side-access
door if available. However, there is rarely, if ever, access available
through the cab to the cargo area. These boxes are also generally
produced with wood flooring and wood slats on the interior walls.
Multi-Stop trucks(also known as Walk-In Delivery Vans) are a type of
light-duty and medium-duty
truck created for local deliveries to residences and businesses. They
are almost always forward-control vehicles, designed to be driven either
sitting down or standing up, and often provide easy access between the
driver and goods, hence the name "Walk-In Delivery" van. They are larger
in height than full-size vans such as the Ford Econoline, Dodge
A-Series/B-Series/Ram Vans, and Chevrolet P10 -20 or P30 Series vans,
but can have wheelbases that are shorter than these models or longer.
Though commonly referred to as "bread trucks" and "bakery trucks,"
trucks like these are used for delivering may other goods and services.
May have also referred to them as "Step-Vans".
Partially due to their size, they've also been used as large ambulances.
Subsequently, fire departments have also used them for this purpose, as
well as for utility vehicles, radio command centers, canteens, and other
secondary work. Police S.W.A.T. teams and other special units have used
them as well. The opening theme from the 1975-76 police action series
S.W.A.T. was noted for containing such a step van.
Buy a CK Corp used step van for your own mobile business idea.
The famous UPS Walk-in Delivery Vans
Postal workers also use them in larger deliveries. Parcel companies such
as United Parcel Service and Federal Express have used them for decades.
Since 1966, Grumman-Olson has made UPS trucks designed excusively for
that company. Ice cream distributors such as Mister Softee and others
have found these types of trucks to be far more suitable than
cowl-and-chassis-based pickup trucks. Many have been converted into
"Jitney" buses. Some are converted into motor homes either by
manufacturers or private citizens who buy used models.
Chevrolet Step-Van and it's dopple ganger GMC Value Van, were successors
to the shared "Dubl-Duti" delivery vans. They had classifcations as
light as 1/2 ton trucks, and as heavy as 2 ton trucks. They've also
offered stripped-chassis versions which can be used for made-to-order
bodies. Motor Homes built around Step-Vans & Value Vans became the basis
for the GMC Motor Home, which was built between 1973 and 1978.
An ice cream van (British) or ice
cream truck (American) is a commercial vehicle which serves as a
travelling retail outlet for ice cream, usually during the summer. Ice
cream vans are often seen parked at public events, or near parks,
beaches, or other areas where people congregate. Ice cream vans often
travel near where children play — outside schools, in residential areas,
or in other locations. They usually stop briefly before moving on to the
Ice cream vans are often brightly decorated and carry images of ice
cream, or some other adornment, such as cartoon characters. They may
have painted-on notices, which can serve a commercial purpose ("Stop me
and buy one!") or a more serious one ("Watch that child!" - serving as a
warning to passing motorists that children may run out into the road at
the sight of the van, or appear without warning from behind it). Along
the sides, a large sliding window acts as a serving hatch, and this is
often covered with small pictures of the available products, with their
associated prices. A distinctive feature of ice cream vans is their
melodic chimes, and often these take the form of a famous and
recognizable tune, usually "The Entertainer", or, in the United Kingdom,
"Greensleeves" and Swedish Rhapsody.
Click on images for
Novelty ice cream trucks...
Professionally built ice cream trucks that sell prepackaged product
(Novelty Trucks) use commercial cold plate freezers that plug in
overnight and when unplugged
maintain the cold for at least 12 hours. Music systems are commonly
digital devices that have no tape or other moving parts. Each "Music
Box" has as few as 1 or as many tunes as one can have programmed onto
the chip. The opening on the side that drivers serve from is commonly
referred to as a serving window and will usually have a serving counter.
Awnings can be attached to trucks over the serving window. Safety
equipment usually comes in the form of an electric or vacuum swing out
sign which may resemble a stop sign or a triangular shape, as well as
vinyl lettering or decals that advise others to use caution. In some
locations, ice cream van operators have diversified to fill gaps in the
market for soft drinks, using their capacity for refrigerated storage to
sell chilled cans and bottles. We have completely converted used Ice
Cream Trucks with or without cold plate freezers for immediate sale.
Click here for some current listings of
Ice Cream Step Vans for sale
Food Trucks or Mobile Kitchen Vans
Buy a Step Van and convert it into a Food Van
|An early version of the food truck was
military field kitchen - for example the US Army's mobile
canteen. Another predecessor in the United States was the
old West's chuckwagon.Taco trucks are mobile kitchens that
primarily serve Mexican food. They are characteristic of
cities in the United States with large Latino populations,
mainly the southwest and especially southern California.
Foods and beverages often served from carts include
Roach Coaches deliver Hot dogs,
sausages,Tacos, burritos and other Mexican-style foodand
hand held Halal food, such as lamb or chicken over rice, or
in a gyro Ice cream and other frozen treats Coffee, bagels,
donuts, egg sandwiches (e.g. bacon, egg, and cheese) and
other breakfast items
Early vans used relatively primitive
techniques: their refrigeration was ensured by large blocks of dry ice
so the motor was always turned off when the van was stopped for sales.
The chimes were operated by a hand driven crank or a take-off from the
motor, so they were not heard as often.A food truck or mobile kitchen is
a mobile venue that sells food. Some, including ice cream trucks, sell
mostly frozen or prepackaged food; others are more like
Food trucks make frequent appearances at carnivals, construction sites,
and other temporary venues
where large numbers of people gather. They can also be found at or near
college campuses, office complexes, auto repair shops, movie sets and
military bases, and often boast loyal followings. In the United Kingdom,
these are known as snack vans and can be found on nearly all major trunk
roads at the side of the road selling their food. Many people prefer to
stop at one of these Burger vans when travelling due to the cheap price,
rather than stop at a motorway service station where prices can be
extremely high. In Canada, they are known as 'chip wagons'. In the US,
they may whimsically be called 'roach coaches'.
A catering food truck enables a vendor to
sell a larger volume than a cart and to reach a larger market. The
service is similar; the truck carries a stock of prepared foods that
customers can buy. Ice cream vans are a familiar example of a catering
truck in Canada, the United States and United Kingdom. A mobile kitchen
is a modified van with a built-in grill, deep fryer, or other cooking
equipment. It offers more flexibility in the menu since the vendor can
prepare food to order as well as fresh foods in advance. A vendor can
choose to park the van in one place, as with a cart, or to broaden the
business's reach by driving the van to several customer locations.
Examples of mobile kitchens include taco trucks on the west coast of the
United States, especially Southern California, and fish and chips vans
in the United Kingdom.
Click on images for
A concession trailer has preparation
equipment like a mobile kitchen, but it cannot move on its own. As such
it is suited for events lasting several days, such as funfairs.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to wake up in the
morning knowing that everyday you were working for yourself in a
profitable delivery route business that is recession proof? We'll now's
the right time for you to consider owning an affordable mobile business
by buying a reliable Step Van from CK Corporation of Centerline MI.
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hesitate to contact us should you have comments, questions or
suggestions about the material offered on this website.