A cool customer. The Mini Ice Cream Van.
Discover a sweet, special Mini, with looks inspired by the Batmobile.
Throughout the years, and really since their first appearance, Minis have been used for different purposes – with the car’s body often changed to fit different tasks. Such was the case with the Mini Wildgoose, where a British coach builder turned a simple Mini into a motorhome, complete with all neccesary amenities.
One of the most delightful of these conversions is the unique-looking Mini Ice Cream Van. While there have been multiple designs and iterations of the ice cream van Mini idea, none are as famous as this version, with the iconic bulging roof.
The Mini Ice Cream Van is affectionately called the Batmobile Mini by many, although it delivers icy goodness instead of justice. The reason for this is that the Batmobile Mini, which was created from the classic Mini Pickup – with just the roof and back removed – took its design inspiration from an unusual place: the 1960’s Batman television show starring Adam West. Parallels to the show’s Batmobile are evident even without having to put them next to each other, as both have “big eyes”; the Batmobile around the cockpit and the Mini above it.
One of the most delightful of these conversions is the unique-looking Mini Ice Cream Van.
Sadly, we cannot claim ownership of the idea to create this car. They were built by Cummins Ice Cream Vans, who created this special van in the 1970s. Founder Sid Cummins chose the Mini, as it was the obvious solution for a compact and affordable ice cream van. The Cummins brand was acquired in 1998 by Whitby Morrison, from Crewe in England. Whitby Morrison, another legendary ice cream van, that started its operations in 1962, and continues to build special and bespoke ice cream vans. While this Mini Ice Cream Van has found a new home in BMW Group Classic’s heritage collection, these Minis have not been completely retired. Whitby Morrison had previously built at least one replica of the Mini Ice Cream Van for a company that wanted to add a little charm to their ice cream van line-up, and deliver Big Love.
The MINI Ice Cream van was built by the hundreds in its heyday and was sold not just in the UK, but abroad as well. With the usual wear and tear, as well as being prone to corrosion, an average lifespan of 15 years was usually the best the car could hope for. And while there aren’t that many left, and maintenance costs can be prohibitive, don’t be too surprised if you see one at an event in the future. The Mini Ice Cream Van has proved to be such a beloved car that it is still a feature at many events – such as weddings – to this day, with some brides insisting on having the pink ice cream van cater for their big day.
So just like the Batmobile, the Mini Ice Cream Van also still provides a great service to the community.
The MINI One-Off Series.
During the 2022 European Championships a number of unique MINI cars can be seen at the Königsplatz in Munich. Whether they were created for movies, noble causes, or designed by celebrities to show the world the many faces of MINI’s personality, we love them all equally.