25 September 2023
Oxford Diecast Bedford CF Ice Cream Van – C J Copner
Cast your minds back to the November 2022 issue and you may well remember an article that updated something we featured 20 years earlier – the collection of Chris Copner. Teased among those pages was a new release of a scale replica of one of Chris’s real ice cream vans by Oxford Diecast at 1/43 scale – and now it’s here.
Chris Copner and his ice cream vans are centred in Abergavenny, in South Wales, but he attends events all over the country. He started in 2009 with just one van that, in his own words, was in need of repair but, by 2021, Chris had been named as one of the top three ice cream mobile van exhibitors in the UK by the Ice Cream Alliance. Now he has four ice cream vans, both classic and contemporary.
Here we see one of his vans, KNE 202V, registered in 1979, decorated in a creamy white with masses of bright pastel shades displaying all the refreshing treats printed on all sides. The external bodywork also features lots of promotional graphics such a “You’ve tried the rest, now try the best” as well as a cautionary note on the back to “Mind that Child”. Additional tooling sees two decorative ice cream cones mounted on the front of the roof on either side of the windscreen. The interior is moulded to give a pale green finish to the fridge doors and fridge tops, the counter tops are white, as is the dashboard, while the floor and the driver’s seat are both moulded in grey.
The Bedford CF came in three versatile body shapes - the standard panel van with side sliding door behind the passenger door, which was also the basis for the Bedford Dormobile, and a special van with self-contained cab on a general purpose chassis onto which a wide range of custom-built bodies could be built.
This is where Whitby Morrison comes in with respect to the CF-based ice cream van. The maker of bespoke ice cream vans was founded by Bryan Whitby in 1952 and the name of Whitby Morrison is recognised as the world's leading manufacturer of ice cream vehicles. The Cheshire based company, is still family owned under Managing Director Stuart Whitby, his two sons Stuart and Kristopher and a dynamic and highly skilled workforce. The company’s products operate in over 60 countries, built to perform in all climates and conditions, with the result that Whitby Morrison is recognised as the finest producer of ice cream vans in the world. And Oxford’s replica, in this livery, is another superb example.