A Wicked Awesome 1958 Chevy 3100 Ice Cream Truck
This Ice Cream Truck Pleases Kids and Adults
Although Barry Leonard lives in a suburb of San Diego called Poway, California, you can tell he’s not from around there. The man is a Bostonite through and through. Get him talking about his hometown, and you’ll notice the classic accent even more. Ask him to say “Pahk the cah” or ask if he went to school at “Hahvad,” and you’ll end up in a conversation that will include the phrase “wicked awesome” at least once.
He’s a gearhead, too, and he loves his cars and trucks. “I love wheels and engines,” he says. Currently, he has a ’70 El Camino SS in his garage. Even though it has been fun to drive, he was looking for something that would make everyone smile. And then it hit him: He should get an ice cream truck like they used to use back home when he was growing up.
He searched for quite a while until he found this ’58 Chevy 3100. After that, it took just over a year to get it ready for cruising. He replaced the pickup bed with the ice cream box and did some other work to the truck, too. The cool thing is that the Chevy is not just for show. Barry went through the hassle of getting the health department’s approval to use the truck as a real ice cream truck, giving even more reason to smile when you see Barry’s ’58 pickup.
He improved the ride dramatically by upgrading to independent front suspension via a TCI Mustang II front clip. San Diego Rod & Custom in El Cajon, California, did the work. Then he had a Chevy Performance 350ci small-block dropped down into the engine mounts. A TH400 transmission gets the power to the rear wheels. Barry took the truck to Tony Dyas at Wholesale Performance Muffler in Escondido, California, for a completely custom system with headers. The Chevy moved down the road a bit to another Escondido company called Collisions Plus Performance for an extensive restoration of the interior.
The key to the truck, of course, is the ice cream box that fits between the rear fenders. It’s a complete new molded system designed and installed by Boyd Cohen in Huntington Beach, California. The 15-inch wheels, mounted on Cooper tires, are vintage-style steelies with a “Red Baron” powdercoat job from The Wheel Smith in Corona, California.
A set of authentic “ice cream man is coming” bells announce the arrival of Barry wherever he goes. And it’s nice to see the smiles on the kids—both big and little.
When Barry Leonard wanted to own a classic truck that would make both kids and adults smile, he came up with the idea of an ice cream truck.
A set of classic ice cream truck bells announces the arrival of Barry’s truck before you can even see him.
The interior is pretty much true to the heritage of the truck.
This center console serves as an armrest and a drink holder.
There’s no window winder because there are no windows in the doors!
Seatbelts keep the passengers safe.
Baby moon hubcaps and trim rings are period perfect for the ’58 pickup.
A 350ci small-block from Chevy Performance combines with a TH400 transmission for plenty of power to get the truck to the next kids’ soccer game.
The Hedman Hedders exhaust headers tuck in nicely and make room for the steering.
The independent front suspension afforded by the TCI Mustang II clip helps make the ride much smoother.
Yes, Barry went through the red tape to get his health department permit so he could actually sell ice cream out of his ice cream truck.