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DIVCO step-van.
DIVCO step-van.
Maiers Kew-Bee Bread Truck by Boyertown Body Works. 1929 Chevrolet chassis.
Maiers Kew-Bee Bread Truck by Boyertown Body Works. 1929 Chevrolet chassis.

Multi-stop trucks (also known as walk-in delivery or step vans) are a type of light-duty and medium-duty truck created for local deliveries to residences and businesses. They are 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 taller than full-size vans, such as the Ford Econoline, Dodge A-Series/B-Series/Ram Vans, and Chevrolet G-Series vans, but can have wheelbases that are shorter than these models or longer.

Uses

Though commonly referred to as "bread trucks" and "bakery trucks," trucks like these are used for delivering many other goods and services. Many have also referred to them as “step-vans” despite the fact that this was a name only used by Chevrolet (see below).

Another common group of users include electric power companies, both with and without cherry picker scoops. The ones with such devices tend to be half-cab vans. Occasionally they have been mounted with common truck bodies, such as bottlers. In the 1980s Frito-Lay bought fleets of Olsons that were redesigned to tow light commercial 5th-wheel Olson trailers. School and library systems frequently have used them for bookmobiles, when bus bodies are not preferred.

Partially due to their size, they have 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 combined deployment and mobile command centers. An all-aluminum 1974 CM-Series International Harvester Metro Van P-40 painted black and lettered in white fitted with red takedown lamps and a siren speaker on its white roof was featured speeding to and famously skidding to halt at a crime scene for the 1975-76 police action title sequence of the TV series S.W.A.T. and was typically featured four or five times each episode to the show's theme song as the team was dispatched; running aboard, traveling in while utilizing the radio-telephone and jumping out of the Mobile Tactical Unit.

Food trucks in Montreal.
Food trucks in Montreal.

Postal workers also use them in larger deliveries. Parcel companies such as UPS and FedEx have used them for decades. Since 1966, Grumman Olson, and Southern, have made UPS trucks designed exclusively for that company. Another popular use is as food trucks. 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[1] or private citizens who buy used models.

Manufacturers

As of today, most manufacturers of these types of vehicles build them on existing chassis made by General Motors, Ford and Freightliner Trucks. These include such companies as Alf-Herman, Boyertown, Flxible, DurAvan, DeKalb, General, Gerstenslager, Lyn, Mark, Montpelier, Murphy, Orville, Southern Coach, Swift, Utilimaster Universal and Van-All has built this type, referring to them as "Step Vans".

See also

References

  1. ^ 1967 Chevrolet Step-Van Adventureliner 19'
  2. ^ GMC: The First 100 Years, by John Gunnell
  3. ^ Crismon, Frederick W. (2002), International Trucks (2nd ed.), Minneapolis, MN: Victory WW2 Publishing, p. 142, ISBN 0-9700567-2-9
  4. ^ Siegel, Stewart (July 1990). "The New Models for 1991: Light Trucks". Fleet Owner. Vol. 85, no. 7. FM Business Publications. p. 62.
  5. ^ Workhorse - About
  6. ^ Workhorse - Step Vans