Last year, our friends at Kentmere Community Centre got hold of an ice cream van. Several driving lessons later and the van was ready to go out across Seacroft and East Leeds, appearing at special celebrations – like our Sound It Out summer projects! But you might not have spotted the van out and about for a while. Well, let’s visit London
MTV UK and eBay returned the iconic noughties makeover series PIMP MY RIDE to British screens this summer and the season finale provides a heart-warming ending. The crew at Wrench Studios turn their attention this week to a tired ice cream van.
The episode hits the MTV UK YouTube channel on 30 September, when viewers will be able to chart the renovation of a Mk2 Ford Transit-based ice cream van, which was in a sorry state when it arrived at Wrench Studios. The vehicle’s important role in supporting the vulnerable and disadvantaged spurred the crew on to transform the mobile community hub.
The community project is located in one of the most deprived areas in the UK but with a broken engine and out-of-order ice cream machine, the van was unable fulfil its crucial outreach role.
The rotten lower body of the van had to be completely stripped and new panels welded in, to replace the originals. With the chassis fixed, the team gave the reassembled Transit a stunning, ice cream-inspired paint job, while the standard steel wheels were replaced by eye-catching alloy rims. Under the refreshed body, the engine was overhauled, ensuring the Transit could once again move under its own power.
Inside, the Ford was given the full Pimp My Ride treatment, including the first ever installation of a Fwip ice cream maker in a van. Billed as the world’s smallest gelateria, the innovative pod-style pump can deliver traditional Italian gelato, vegan sorbets and frozen yoghurts. The van was also fitted with a heavy-duty auxiliary battery to keep the machine, freezers and large flat-screen TV running – even when the Transit’s engine isn’t.
To make the finished vehicle even more fit for purpose, Wrench Studios created a VIP lounge-style seating area in the back with a games console. As a final flourish, the driver’s seat has been retrimmed and now includes a fab embossed ice-cream logo.
Pimp My Ride is produced in partnership with eBay, the biggest online marketplace of its type in the UK. With a car part sold every second on the platform thanks to its extensive network brands and retailers, eBay is perfectly placed to assist the show as it highlights the benefits of upcycling and buying pre-loved OEM ‘green’ parts from end-of-life-vehicles.
Dr Tony Tong, Head of Automotive at eBay UK said: “This was one of our most impactful makeovers as it’s clear the ice cream van plays a meaningful role in the local community. It’s also a departure for Pimp My Ride to get involved in helping a community group and to perform a makeover on such an unusual vehicle. We’re delighted to have contributed to its renovation and to have provided eBay sourced parts to this unique build.”
Naomi Roxby Wardle, who leads the Kentmere community project, said: “I can’t believe it and it’s going to mean so much to everyone. It looks amazing and I love the idea of having a games console and some comfortable places for the children to sit and relax. I can’t wait to get it back to the community.”