Midwest Drags

I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for this 1970 Chevy P10 Step Van Ice Cream Truck

Derek Bieri with Ice Cream Truck
Derek Bieri piloted this “brick on wheels” to each 2021 Midwest Drags event. (Photo by Will Schertz)

NORWALK, OH – Rubber wasn’t the only thing melting last week at the 2021 Summit Racing Midwest Drags street/strip event, as Derek Bieri, star of the YouTube channel Vice Grip Garage, rolled into each of event’s three tracks in a beautifully patinaed 1970 Chevrolet P10 Step Van ice cream truck—which is a ton of words to describe one vehicle. Luckily, Bieri has us covered with a name that’s less of a mouthful.

“It’s literally a brick on wheels,” he told OnAllCylinders.

A brick filled with delicious ice cream, that is.

Ice Cream Truck
(Photo by Will Schertz)

Over the course of four days, Bieri piloted the wheel-mounted brick from Norwalk to Cincinnati, Ohio, then to Indianapolis, Indiana, and back to Norwalk, documenting the 700-plus-mile journey along the way.

The P10 is powered by a 4.2 liter GM inline six plucked from a 2008 Trailblazer, capable of churning out more than 270 horsepower and pushing the vehicle to a blisteringly fast top highway speed of…75 mph. (Or, at least that’s how fast it went before the speedometer quit working.)

Ice Cream Truck Gauges
Who really needs a functional speedometer when you’ve got ice cream? (Photo by Will Schertz)

Bieri ran into a few problems along the way that needed to be addressed—including a shot ball joint and brakes that “kind of” worked—but all-in-all, the vehicle held up well, he said.

The Chevy Step Van is owned by Tom Bailey, owner of Bailey Racing in Lake Orion, Michigan, and multi-time winner of Hot Rod Drag Week. Bailey asked Bieri to tag along with his team, drive the ice cream truck to-and-from each event and keep it running in between. He was more than happy to oblige.

“It’s like a Hot Wheels ice cream truck,” he said. “It’s so unique, and funky looking and full of character.”

Derek Bieri Gives Out Ice Cream
Bieri (right) hands out ice cream sandwiches to a group of kids during the final day of racing in Norwalk. “My goal is to get the younger generation involved, because if we don’t this hobby is going to die,” he said. (Photo by Will Schertz)

As it turns out, it was also full of food.

The vehicle came equipped with a fully functional, built-in hot dog roller, which Bieri used to grill hot dogs for members of Tom Bailey’s team and other participating racers. He also spent the week serving ice cream sandwiches to attendees out of a cooler in the back of the van.

Hot Dog Roller
Every vehicle should probably come with one of these. (Photo by Will Schertz)

Just don’t ask him if the van plays that iconic ice cream truck music.

“It’s probably the most common question, but no,” he said.

While Bieri wasn’t participating in the drag racing action, driving the ice cream truck and getting the chance to interact with other motorsports enthusiasts offered its own brand of excitement, he said.

“Everyone here is passionate about motorsports,” he said. “This just adds to the light-heartedness. We’re just here to have fun.”

Bieri documented his entire experience at this year’s Midwest Drags on YouTube. Click the links to see for yourself:

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