Cohort Outtakes: Ice Cream Trucks, Tall and Long


Stanislav Alexeyev shot a couple of vintage vans reincarnated as ice cream trucks in London. The first one, a Morris Commercial J-Type, looks like it might fall over in a gale. It’s short, narrow, but has a mighty tall roof. The J-Type was built between 1949 and 1961, was rated at 10 cwt (1/2 ton), and was initially powered by a 1476 cc side valve four, working though a three speed transmission. After 1957, it got the 1489 cc B-Series ohv four, and a four speed gear box. Sporty! The ones used by the Post Office had rubber front and rear fenders. Practical too!


The other one he shot is different in just about every way possible. It’s French (Citroen H Van), had FWD, independent suspension all-round, and is of course longer, lower and wider. Especially longer. This is a…long wheelbase version, one I’ve never seen before. Lots of ice cream hiding in this truck.

The H Van, which we’ve covered in depth here, was a rather revolutionary design when it arrived in 1947, unlike the profoundly traditional Morris. The H Van used the FWD drive train from the Citroen Traction Avant, but flipped front-to-rear, thus hanging the engine out front, Audi-style. Along with trailing arms for the rear wheels made for a remarkably low floor, so it really doesn’t need a high roof. I don’t think I’m taking much risk in predicting that these two vans have very different handling characteristics. But the real question is which one has better ice cream.