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The top 10 ice cream van facts

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June 26, 2013
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I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream…

It’s the sound of the summer, the chimes of an ice cream van sounding out across the streets heralding the arrival of a host of frozen treats.

Specialist ice cream van insurance broker Adrian Flux discovers 10 amazing facts about ice cream vans – from K9s that enjoy a K99 to a floating ice cream van, the biggest 99 in the world to a symphony of chiming vans – and finds out the best way to keep your assets frozen with the best value insurance deals for ice cream van drivers.

10 Ice Cream Van Facts:

  1. There are an estimated 5,000 ice cream vans operating in the UK – in the 1990s there were around 20,000 vans, but new EU rules about emission limits, the cost of trade licences and the increased price of food have forced many vans off the roads.
  2. “Greensleeves” is thought to be the most commonly used ice cream van chime – the first musical ice cream van was created when a Californian seller bolted an amplified music box to his truck in 1929 and played a Polish folk song called The Farm Pump. Other popular tunes are Pop Goes The Weasel and The Entertainer.
  3. In 2010, as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, composer Dan Jones designed a symphony played by the chimes of a fleet of ice cream vans. The piece, Suburban Counterpoint (Music For Seven Ice Cream Vans) toured the suburbs of Norwich playing the piece in relay.
  4. At the Aphrodisiac Ice Cream Truck in Hollywood, the van has its own pole for dancing, customers are served by models and the most popular product is an ‘ice cream body shot’ eaten off one of the staff.
  5. An amphibious ice-cream van was built in 2011 to mark National Ice Cream Week – the van had a top speed of five knots, played Rod Stewart’s We Are Sailing and sailed down the Thames before setting off on a UK tour.
  6. Competitive ice cream selling has sparked turf wars in Glasgow: in 1984, gangs fought over who controlled which patches and after a row between two rival gangs, six members of the Doyle family, who ran the Marchetti ice cream company, were murdered.
  7. The chef who introduced bacon and egg ice cream to the world, Heston Blumenthal, created the largest ever 99 for his programme Heston’s Fantastical Food. It involved a tonne of ice cream in a three metre cone topped by a five metre flake.
  8. Flavoured ices were first sold from horse-drawn carts in the 19th century. It was a difficult and laborious matter involving wax-sealed moulds, saltpetre, rocksalt and ice. Victorian writer Henry Mayhew thought the enthusiasm for ice cream would soon melt away, declaring it “a novel and aristocratic luxury”.
  9. An ice cream van for dogs was designed for the Boomerang Pets Party in London in 2010. Playing the Scooby Doo theme tune, the K99 van served two flavours: gammon and chicken sorbet and canine cookie crunch, a mix of dog biscuits and ice cream.
  10. Entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne’s business empire began with the purchase of a £450 ice cream van which became part of a fleet. He eventually sold the business for £28,000.

* Adrian Flux offers competitively priced insurance policies for all makes and models of ice cream van. Ideal for sole traders or company vehicles, Adrian Flux ice cream van insurance is tailored to suit your particular needs. For more information call 0800 0890203 or visit

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