• Gavin Dudd

12 Types of Vehicles Used for Food Trucks

Updated: Sep 11

Check out some of the most iconic vehicles people convert and use as food trucks

When I think of food trucks, the phase planes trains and automobiles spring to mind.


This is because if it has wheels or can be moved people will convert it into a mobile catering unit to serve food from.


But what are some types of trucks used for food trucks?


Well, the best types of vehicle people use for a food truck are ones that are often vintage and unique looking such as the VW Bettle Bus, Citroen H van or Airstreams.


But there are many more iconic vehicles you will see on the food truck scene.


In this article I've have put together 12 of the most popular vehicles used as food trucks.





Different types of food trucks


1. Ford Stepvan (UPS truck)

You have probably seen a lot of these type of vans in your neighbourhood especially if you live in the US.


These are normally used for commercial activities by parcel delivery companies such as UPS and Fed-ex.


The 1971 models are very popular for food truck conversions as they are very spacious.


Where to buy second hand:

My Little Salesman


Where to get converted:

Prestige Food Trucks


Dimensions:

18 ft. long x 7.5 ft Width x 9'6 ft. high


Second-hand Price (not including conversion):

$12500 - $31000


2. Citroen H Vans

Citroen H vans are old french panel vans which were in production between 1941 and 1981


They have become very popular over the last 10 years or so, especially in the UK. They have a vintage look and appeal to them and are definitely eye acting when they have been converted into a food truck.


Where to buy second hand:

ebay


Where to get converted:

Vintage Food Trucks


Dimensions (standardvan):

Length - 4.2m

Width -  2.0m

Height - 2.3m 


Second-hand Price (not including conversion):

$4000 - $25000



3. Horse Boxes

As the name suggests horsebox trailers were used to transport horses and are now being converted into all type of mobile catering units.


They are often converted into mobile coffee or alcohol bars and are very popular at weddings and private events.


Where to buy second hand:

eBay


Where to get converted:

Tudor Trailers


Dimensions:

11ft x 5ft


Second-hand Price (not including conversion):

$1200 - $15000


Related article: Food Truck Manufacturers In The UK, USA & Canada


4. School buses

American style school buses are now starting to pop up in the food truck scene.


The yellow bodywork makes this sort of truck very eyecatching and they also offer a lot of space when converted for prepping, cooking and serving food.


Where to buy second hand:

American Bus


Where to get converted:

Prestige Food Trucks


Dimensions:

2.59 m wide 13.7 m. long


Second-hand Price (not including conversion):

$10.000 to $50.000



5. Airstreams

I have to say these of one of my favourite vehicles used for food trucks.

These iconic American trailers have been produced since the 1930s by an American company and originally used as travel trailers.


But like a lot of unique looking vehicles airstream trailers are also being converted into food trucks and food trailers.


Where to buy second hand:

RV's Autotrader


Where to get converted:

Food Truck Builders of Pheonix


Size:

2.5 m wide x 8.25 long


Second-hand Price (not including conversion):

$15000 - $93000


Related article: How To Name Your Food Truck


6. Caravans

Vintage or retro caravans are another popular type of vehicle that is being converted and used as food trucks.


They are relatively small which makes them easy to tow and store compared to some other types of vehicles used for food trucks.


Vintage caravans are recently cheap to buy second hand.



Where to buy second hand:

eBay


Where to get converted:

Caged Crow Customs


Dimensions:

12.6ft long x 6.6ft Wide x 7.7ft high


Second-hand Price (not including conversion):

$1200 - $9000


Related article:



7. VW Beetle

This iconic VW bus, officially known as Volkswagen type 2 and produced by VW (Volkswagen) in the 1950s. It was originally made for camping and light commercial use.


Now they are a popular vehicle for the street food aficionado and converted into things as mobile bars and coffee shops.



Where to buy second hand:

eBay

Where to get converted:

Vintage Food Trucks

Dimensions:

14ft long x 5.5ft wide x 6.3ft high

Second-hand Price (not including conversion):

$20,000 - $40,000

Related article: What Insurance Does A Food Truck Need?


8. Peugeot J9

This type of van was produced by Peugeot in French and Turkey for around 10 years between 1981 and 1991.


I haven't seen many of these types of vans around on the food truck scene, but the ones I have certainly stand out. And because of this, it makes the Peugeot J9 a unique choice for a food truck.



Where to buy second hand:

Car & Classic

Where to get converted:

Vintage Food Trucks

Dimensions:

15ft long x 6.6ft wide x 7.5ft heigh


Second-hand Price (not including conversion):

$2500 - $12500


9. Piaggio Ape

The Piaggio Ape is a 3wheeled light commercial scooter that is produced by an Italian company and has been in continuous production since 1948. Its compact size helps to navigate Italy's narrow streets and are also used as pop-up market stalls


They are a popular choice for converting to sell products that don't need a great deal of space to prep and produce such as coffee and sandwiches.


This is because they are very quite small in comparison to most other food truck conversions out there.


Where to buy second hand:

Reezo Car

Where to get converted:

Piaggio Ape by Tukxi

Dimensions:

8.1ft long x 4.1ft wide x 5ft heigh


Second-hand Price (not including conversion):

$2000 - $7000

10. Shipping container

Shipping containers are used to transport goods all around the world. Not exactly a vehicle but more of a mobile unit, people are finding all type of uses for shipping containers from homes to office use.


They are also being converted into mobile food units by being welded onto the back of trucks (see image). There are also being used as a fixed location restaurant.


Where to buy second hand:

Ebay

Where to get converted:

Loki Box Design

Dimensions: 2 x sizes

20ft long x 8ft wide x 8.5ft high

40ft long x 8ft wide x 8.5ft high


Second-hand Price (not including conversion):

$2300 - $6000


11. Tuk Tuk Taxi

Tuk Tuks, also known as auto rickshaw, are taxis which take people all around bustling cities in South-East Asia.


If you have ever been to Thailand or India you would have no doubt seen or ridden in one of these.


As of 2019, Bajaj Auto of Pune in India is the largest manufacturer of tuk-tuks in the world.



Where to buy second hand:

Tuk Shop

Where to get converted:

Tuk Shop

Dimensions:

10ft long x 4ft wide x 6.3ft high

Second-hand Price (not including conversion):

$170 - $800 (imported from India)

12. Planes

I've saved the most unique vehicle conversion to last. If it has wheels or can be towed then someone out there is going to convert it into a food truck or mobile catering unit.


Granted you will probably not see one of these and as they are very bespoke, but if you do it will no doubt grab your attention.


The picture above is of an old DC-3 WW2 aeroplane converted into a food truck which is situated at Aeronautical Museum in Compton, California

Where to buy second hand:

Trade a Plane

Where to get converted:

Check with food truck manufacturers

Dimensions:

63.8ft long x 95.50ft wide (including wingspan) x 7ft high

Second-hand Price (not including conversion):

$15000 (approx)


Other types of mobile catering units


Here are a few other popular types of mobile catering units that you will no doubt see on the food truck scene at events, festivals or street food markets.



Catering trailers


Food carts / Pushcarts




Catering Pods


Shepard huts




Final thoughts


If you are on this article because you are in the early stages of starting a food truck business and are deciding on what type of food truck to buy then there are a few things to consider.


Make sure you choose the vehicle meets your space requirements, such as adequate surface space to prep and cook food.


You also want a truck that is eye-catching and pretty unique. This will help you draw in the customers and stand out amongst the other food trucks.


Remember choosing the best vehicle for a food truck will be the biggest and more important purchase for your business.


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