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Guaranteed To Satisfy: 1971 Ford F-100 Ice Cream Truck

Who doesn’t love ice cream?  I know I do, and I also know that the weather is often pretty warm at a lot of car shows and cruise ins.  It is also common to discover that there are no options for any type of refreshments at a lot of these events.  Often held at parks, car shows offer a captive audience for everything from ice water to ice cream, and even some snacks as well.  If you are a bit enterprising, and you love old trucks, then faithful reader Jon has shown us the way to finally make money in the old car hobby.  This 1971 Ford F-100 ice cream truck, found on EBay in Jackson, Ohio, is currently at $2,999.99 and climbing.  With this one, you can show and sell!

First things first.  The truck is being advertised as a Good Humor Ice Cream truck, and it has Good Humor signs bolted to the sides.  Many vintage Good Humor trucks are distinctively styled, and often command a premium price.  A quick scan of Google images turns up a few panel trucks with Good Humor signs, with just a few like this one.  The seller claims that this is an actual Good Humor van that was built after the distinctively styled ones and was called an inside sales van.  The story sounds legitimate, and is fairly interesting.  Trust but verify, as usual, is the order of the day on the Good Humor claim.  It is cool if the story checks out, but the Good Humor styling is what everyone wants to buy.  The closest analogy I can think of is when Ford followed up the two seater Thunderbirds with the four seat Squarebirds.  Something special was lost along the way.

Regardless, there is a lot of potential here.  The story on EBay is that the seller is listing it for his father, who intended to restore it and take it to vintage car shows.  The seller also suggests that you open a business, write off the restoration as a tax write off, and head off to work.  It sounds like an intriguing idea, and it might just work, especially if you supplemented going to car shows with food truck round ups and kids birthday parties.  This thing could be a cash cow in the right hands.

However, this one could use some help to get there.  It appears to have been painted over many times, with the last coat looking suspiciously like house paint.  To garner sales, your ice cream truck should look nice, especially if you are trading off the Good Humor name.  This looks like a job for those Dustless Blasting guys.  Stripped down, you would probably find out that the body is made of aluminum.  How else could you explain the lack of rust through on this one?

One of the seller’s claims is that the previous owner purchased and installed a remanufactured 300 cubic inch inline six cylinder for the truck, including a number of new parts such as an alternator, master cylinder, etc.  This new engine is also supposed to have 75 miles on it.  I am not sure if that is true, as every remanufactured Ford engine I have ever seen has a good, thick coating of Ford blue engine paint.  I see what I think is a new fuel pump, but that is it.  The seller does say that it runs and drives.

Inside, we can see that some detail work needs to be done to avoid terrifying the local food inspector.  As for the freezers, there are no guarantees by the seller that they work.  An extra compressor is included, just in case.  Given that the inventory lists for every section is still on the freezer doors, there stands a good chance that they were at least used until the truck was parked.  Older refrigeration equipment is usually pretty tough, but parts may be a serious problem.  Another costly consideration would be Freon for the system.  Anyone who has tried to buy R-12 lately can testify to that.  There are pretty good substitutes out there, but they aren’t cheap either.

Inside the cockpit, we can see the driver’s area looks to be all there, and the rest is covered with dirt and mold.  Before you repainted, or tried to sell an ounce of ice cream, this would need to be cleaned up.  I wonder if you could have the whole interior steam cleaned, then scuff it up and spray it with a good epoxy primer.  Follow that up with a thick, glossy coat of white and it would look good as new.  Another concern would be the delaminating glass.  It is flat glass, so replacing it would be no problem.  Replacing the dried out window rubbers would be a real issue, as I doubt you can find them at your local Ford dealer.  Maybe Steele Rubber Products could fix you up with something.

When you look at this truck as a whole, there are a lot of questions to be answered before sticking your neck out.  It would need a restoration to reach its full potential as a money maker.  The restoration, if the freezers are functional, probably would consist of a lot more labor than materials.  The body is good, the signs look to be useable, and the seller even says that the music system works.  You could restore it to stock condition, but I think I would be tempted to add some custom touches, such as some two toning in Good Humor blue to break up the huge expanse of white paint.  I’d also add some mag wheels, ditch the bent up stock bumpers and replace them with some chrome ones from a fifties car that would fit visually, and try to make this truck as upscale as I could to justify selling premium ice cream.  I think the idea of selling ice cream at car shows is a winner, but I wonder of this is the right truck.  What do you readers think?


  1. JW

    I drove a ice cream truck for 6 weeks during the summer of 1970, dealing with a bunch of kids who won’t listen to you as to wait their turn before screaming out their order and not having enough money was a real kick in the head. But I like the idea of restoring this ( Using the write off method ) then taking to car shows which I think you could recoup your investment in a few years as we have multiple car shows every weekend May through October. I would clean, get rid of mold, fix freezers ( have a A/C guy as a car buddy ) paint it dark blue with ghost flames, chrome bumpers with cragar mags. I wouldn’t think you could keep the “Good Humor” name on it as that would be copyright infringement wouldn’t it.

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  2. boxdin

    There is a data plate on the firewall or ?? that shows who the body builder is. Research from that angle coz I really don’t buy the good humor connection. Those signs look like new repros and good humor was known for a converted pickup or panel, not a package delivery van like this one.

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  3. Leon

    Ditch those racing disc hubcaps first !!

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  4. Todd Fitch Staff

    Love the Van Halen reference. Nice find, Jeff.

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  5. Ensign Pulver

    Growing up in NJ, I remember as a kid in the early 70’s noticing the transition from the older mid 50’s Ford ice cream truck (with all the bells and…well just bells) to mid 60’s Fords that were more quickly replaced by these rolling ice cream parlor vans. Sadly that was replaced even faster by that abomination of a rolling ice bucket “Jimmy’s Italian ices”….serving red dye #2 from a horse bucket. Even more sadly is that Jimmy’s stayed around the longest (no overhead for pond water and chemicals) playing a music soundtrack from a Turkish prison instead of the gentle jingle of summer bells calling kids to cold treats.

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  6. Wrong Way

    I say, strip it down all the way! This would be a awesome camper if done correctly!

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  7. Wayne

    IF, this is really and F100 chassis. (which I doubt) Most likely F300.
    Can you imagine the lack of cornering ability for the high center of gravity and soft 1/2 ton springs working on the twin “I” beam front suspension? (scares me)
    The front suspension is most likely a solid beam front axle. (which takes it out of the F100 chassis designation) I like the camper idea!

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    Looks legit to me. Good Humor signs are enameled not repro’s and to replace all of them would be a few thou. If the engine came re manufactured from say Autozone it won’t have paint on it. Friends in the auto trade get them all the time. Looks like a fun opportunity to me. Found this pic on the web of this type of van. Would say by the numbers of pics available not too many were made. Good Humor website says they sold off their trucks in 1976 which is true.

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  9. Sam Sharp

    What George Kennedy said to the kid wanting a treat as he rode in the truck during a “Thunderbolt and Lighfoot” scene is what comes to mind.

    I’ll bet that high performance air cleaner reall helps. At least it has some type of filter.

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  10. Michael

    I remember the GH ice cream truck trolling my neighborhood in NY. The drivers name was Ben. He was always drinking grapefruit juice. Which may explain his grumpy demeanor. Toasted Almond was my bar of choice. Good times. Van Halen is my favorite band. Nice reference.

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  11. David Miraglia

    memory lane. When I was a kid in Brooklyn in the 1970’s. We always made a mad dash to catch the good humor truck. It was always worth it since my parents had to pay.

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  12. SubGothius

    “They’re Justified, and they’re Ancient, and they drive an ice cream van…”

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  13. Rob

    The body of the truck was made by Hackney Bros. located at the time in Wilson, NC. The truck is mostly there. Yellow safety signs up on top front and back are a poor attempt at reproducing the originals. The freezer is also original to the truck. original photos on the internet will show the original color of the inside was a bright turquoise. The signs outside are porcelain and look to be on the truck since it came from the factory.

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