I have worked at Whitby Holiday Park for the last 11 years and my favourite pastime is 4 wheel drive vehicles. I still own a 1954 series one Landrover, a few second world war American Jeeps and a Ranger Rover.

So having been involved with 4 wheel drive vehicles from the age of 5, buying, selling, restoring, racing and teaching people to drive them off road etc. This led to a phone call at Whitby Holiday Park whilst I was at work the other day from a friend of mine who owns the Landrover Ice Cream van usually parked in the car park at the top of the 199 steps near Whitby Abbey.

Landrover were doing a worldwide press launch to commemorate Landrovers 65th Anniversary. Because this Landrover is the only ice cream van known to exist. The promotional people at Landrover tracked it down and asked if he would bring it to this very special show just outside Birmingham for 4 days all expenses paid.

Unfortunately Neil Trillo (who owns the ice cream van) could not go because of work commitments. So he asked me and my friend Steve if we would take it for him. We thought about it for about 5 seconds and said that we would do it!

Because this Landrover was built in 1970 and very big it was decided that it would be put on a trailer for the journey there and back. We arrived at the venue late Tuesday afternoon to be greeted by the Landrover special promotional people and taken to the Marriott Country Club where we stayed for 4 days. After a nice meal and few drinks we were briefed on the next 3 days events and what the show was all about.

It turns out that they had been all over the place to bring together all the special Landrovers ever built, to commemorate the Landrover 65th Birthday. They had managed to gather together over 100 vehicles for the world press to view and test drive. Many of the vehicles were loaned by the Heritage Motor Centre, Dunsfold Landrover and a chap well known in the Landrover series one world – Ken Wheelwright. Ken is 82 years old now and he still restores vehicles to a very high standard. His old Landrovers when fully restored can command prices in excess of £30,000.00 each. Ken was at this event with a Landrover chassis he is currently restoring. Anyone who was visiting that day could bolt a part on to it just to say that they had helped to rebuild a 1950 80” Landrover.

Some of the specialist vehicles included police cars, ambulances, army Landrovers, tracked Landrovers and even 3 vehicles still owned by the Queen, which she stands in the back of when doing visits to foreign countries were there. These were in a special enclosure with two guards dressed in red tunics and busbies stood in the entrance. We all got to drive all sorts of the Landrover mark from ploughing with a series one, to a 20 mile round trip in a 65th commemoration Defender on the motorways and a special off road course. It was amazing to meet and talk to the world press who were brought to the place where Landrover first tested it’s off road capabilities 65 years ago. They were brought in by plane then collected by chauffeur driven Range Rover and Jags. Every day different journalists from around the world were greeted and allowed to test drive the vehicle and talk about their history. There was even a special cake in the shape of a series one Landrover, delivered by helicopter and then collected by the chassis No 3 Landrover registration number HOE 166. Oh yes and everyone was given a free ice cream and even the chance to try and scoop out their own ice cream.

To say this was an opportunity not to be missed would be an understatement and I feel very lucky to have been asked to such a momentous occasion. If you want to see this very special ice cream van Landrover, just go to the top of the 199 steps in Whitby and buy a Trillo’s ice cream. Its also strange how things return because in this weeks Whitby Gazette is a picture of me and my friend Andrew from 25 years ago, when we were asked to supply and build 5 Landrovers for an off road school, and yes I did have hair and was thin!   

So if you would like to see me at Whitby Holiday Park and talk 4 wheel drive then just ask for Ian!

You could also book a holiday with us at the same time!

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