Vintage Step Vans

Oldschool Cool Antique Step Vans - custom built for you

Why should the vintage food truck market be dominated by those Frenchies when they built the coolest of trucks right in the USA back in the day, right? Right. One obvious elephant in the room to address is that new step vans really do not look all that different from some of most of the older step vans – an efficient, blocky delivery box on wheels. 

However, if you go as far back as at least the 70’s you find an ever more interesting aesthetic – a Chevy P10 is just – so – short you can’t help but fall in love with the cuteness of it all and they don’t make them like that anymore. And what about the sleek 50’s icon – the International Harvester Metro van? 

Take a trip down memory lane and imagine yourself being the one stand-out star in the local food truck park with your Dodge Routevan, Dodge Duravan, IH Metro Mite, Chevy Grumman, Chevy P10, Chevy P20 – Divco milk truck! – Dodge P200, Ford Vanette and many many more classic options. 

We do not have any vintage step vans in stock – each project is custom sourced for each individual customer and their needs. Go and Google the above options, browse classic car sites and get back to us with which one you’d like to convert to a food truck – take your time and we’re happy to help. 

 

Classic Step Vans - modern mechanics

 

Daily food truck operations are not well served by a classic car enthusiasts’ desire to keep the original 50’s engine and all parts true to the original. So don’t. 

Much better is to simply use the antique step van as a shell and replace the engine with something modern or even an electric vehicle upgrade kit to ensure engine trouble and waiting months for vintage parts does not put you out of business.

This is a fairly straightforward process and there will always be a fitting donor option for your vehicle. 

 

 

Vintage Step Van limitations

Although a vintage step van is a great added value to your brand and pure marketing on wheels – there are drawbacks to classic step vans other than the mechanical. 

Many local health departments require a triple sink system, a certain size of water tank, both clean- and waste water, a minimum aisle width and a mandated minimum overhead clearance. Fitting all of that into your classic Chevy P10 is something you can forget about. 

Additionally, a common practice in larger new step van food trucks is making a soundproof compartment for the generator inside of the truck where you can easily slide out the generator. This is usually not possible on the vintage step van. 

In a practical sense that means – unless you are doing ice cream or coffee – you may have to make some choices and hard decisions on which appliances and what parts of your menu to keep and which have to be axed if you decide to stick to the antique step van. 

Restoring classic works of automotive art is also a long process. If you decide to get a vintage truck in May and need it before summer it will either be impossible as we are out of stock or you’ll have to pay a premium for us to source something pre-restored from a classic car dealership and build that out to a food truck, rather than us having the time to do the restoration ourselves. 

 

Can you restore antique step vans in any condition?

The worse the condition – the more work it will be – but for patient customers (6+ months lead time), terrible base vans also mean a much better deal. 

We’ve restored some real hunks of junk over the years and are happy to take on anything as long as the tag can be recovered. 

At some point you are not really buying a vintage step van anymore, but you simply needed a base vehicle for the license and registration – just for the VIN and chassis number. That’s fine and then we can do all the steel and aluminum milling and casting to remanufacture a truck that’s as good as new. 

 

How much does a vintage step van cost?

Quoting out a vintage car restoration project is a challenge as it has usually been a few decades since these models came off the production line. 

They will all over time have accumulated their own set of flaws and defects with their own set of causes for said flaws and defects – many of them hidden as surprises just waiting to be found by us when up on the car bridge like a perverse treasure hunt only mechanics can truly enjoy. 

That is not a convoluted way of saying “we can’t say” – uniquely for this business we can and do offer project pricing and fixed quotes where any discoveries that add costs are at Karpatia Trucks’ risk.

However, this kind of quote will be made only after the unit has been inspected by us in person or if you purchase a van from us and not bring/source it yourself. 

Most of our vintage step van projects range from $75-120k, with the occasional ice cream or coffee truck dipping under that range and full kitchens and bbq trucks where the vans had to have their roof raised and be extended to fit all the appliances being near the top end. 

 

our process

Understand

By assessing your dreams we come to a shared understanding of who we are building for and why

Exploring multiple design options lets us find the solution that best suits your business goals

Ideate

Refine

We refine the concept and provide you with a detailed design that meets your needs

Close monitoring during production ensures we meet your standards. You can always fly- or drive in and take a look!

Build

Operate

We offer a range of extra services to support your operation, so you can keep your focus.

Is a vintage Step Van the right food truck for you?

Frequently Asked Classic & Vintage Step Van questions

Yes, Karpatia has customers from Seattle to Dubai and Germany – Containers go everywhere, and all units can always be shipped to the nearest port. We might not have a local forwarder in your country (yet) though, in which case we will find one together with you. 

Of course!

Karpatia has no showroom – but of course, we are always happy to show the workshop. You can make an appointment through our contact form and try before you buy. 

Only if the total combined gross vehicle weight is over 26,001 lbs. This will not be the case with most vintage units. 

The best source of classic and vintage step vans is very very patiently negotiating with individual buyers.

Yes, ice cream trucks and coffee trucks can stay under that budget. If you are not necessarily looking for an antique step van but something from the early 2000’s would work just fine too that also helps the budget along.