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Multi-stop truck

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A multi-stop truck operated by FedEx Ground

A multi-stop truck (also known as a step van, walk-in van, delivery van, or bread truck; "truck" and "van" are interchangeable) is a type of commercial vehicle designed to make multiple deliveries or stops, with easy access to the transported cargo held in the rear. They are usually vans or trucks designed to be used as fleet vehicles by businesses within local areas. They typically use commercial truck chassis with a generally larger, taller body and sometimes also a longer or shorter wheelbase. Though they have traditionally been powered by internal combustion engines, into the 21st century many multi-stop trucks have begun shifting to electric truck platforms.

Multi-stop trucks are primarily used as cargo delivery vehicles, but are also popularly used as general utility vehicles, mail trucks, moving vans, aerial work platforms, food trucks, ice cream vans, milk floats, canteens, or bookmobiles. One common historical use for them was delivering bread, hence its nickname of "bread truck". Outside businesses, they are also sometimes used as mobile command centers, police vans, and SWAT vehicles by emergency services. Multi-stop trucks are used primarily in North America; in other regions such as Europe and Asia, the task is typically undertaken by panel vans, light commercial vehicles, and box trucks.

Former and current manufacturers of multi-stop trucks include Morgan Olson, Utilimaster, Workhorse Group, Freightliner Trucks, Navistar, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, International Harvester, Flxible, Pak-Age-Car, Gerstenslager, and Divco.


A Frito-Lay truck driver washing his Grumman Olson Kurbmaster in New Ulm, Minnesota in 1974
  • Chevrolet Step-Van and its twin GMC Value Van or others were successors to the shared "Dubl-Duti" delivery vans, produced by General Motors. They had classifications as light as 1/2 ton trucks, and as heavy as 2 ton trucks. Additionally they produced the successful P-series of step van chassis and the value van. GM gasoline and diesel engines powered vehicles which, like competitors’ chassis, got bodies from outside suppliers. Large delivery fleets like FedEx, UPS and Frito-Lay were among its customers. Some later models were available with the Step Van/Value Van cab and Olson after-body. Motor Homes were built around Step-Vans & Value Vans; the GMC Motor Home (which was built between 1973 and 1978) was not related.[1] The series was discontinued in the late 1990s and then became the Workhorse company (see separate entry below).
  • Divco was making vehicles such as these from its inception. By the late 1930s they gained short curved hoods and separated fenders resembling the Chrysler Airflow doghouse. This design made them well known and remained virtually unchanged until 1986. By 1957, when the company bought Wayne Works they began manufacturing larger versions of these vans which did not contain typical 1930s design cues. A later version called the Dividend had a front resembling other walk-in vans which cut several inches off the length of the front portion of the truck. Some Dividends were fitted out as mini-buses with Wayne bus parts.
  • The Dodge Route-Van was made between 1948 and 1951. It was succeeded by the Dodge Job-Rated, and was itself replaced with the Dodge P-Series, which like the Ford P-Series were stripped-chassis that could be fitted with made-to-order bodies. Chrysler manufactured these models until 1979.
  • Ford Vanette, Ford MTO-71 or Ford FFV was made between 1948 and 1970. It succeeded the Walk-In versions of the Ford F-Series trucks, and had the same grilles of the Ford F-Series from 1951-1955. After 1956, it retained the 1955 grilles until the model was discontinued and replaced with the Ford P-Series chassis. These models were stripped-chassis that could be fitted with made-to-order bodies, and often contained red crests on the grilles reading "Chassis By FORD."
  • International Metro Van was originally based on the 1937-40 D-Series trucks. Its name came about as its body was originally developed and built by the Metropolitan Body Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut; this company later became a wholly owned subsidiary of International Harvester.[2] In the 1950s, they began producing variations such as the "Metro-Lite," "Metro-Mite," and "Metro-Multi-Stop" vans. There was also the bonneted "Metroette," which used versions of the front sheetmetal of International's contemporary pickup models. The design of this van remained nearly unchanged from its inception in 1938 until its full redesign in 1964. By 1972, all IHC Metro Vans were stripped-chassis that other manufacturers could build on, and after 1975, they were discontinued along with all other light-duty trucks except for the Scout, which was last made in 1980.
  • Morgan Olson 'Route Star' MT45 and MT55 are built on a Freightliner chassis and could handle large delivery/commercial applications. It had a variety of features designed to fit the needs of businesses along with quick and easy access to cargo.
  • Morris Commercial in the UK, made the J-type van from 1949 until 1961, and the Austin 101 variant from 1957.
  • Pak-Age-Car Corporation and successors Stutz Motor Company and Auburn Automobile sold the Pak-Age-Car from 1926 until 1941.
  • Precision, a small Arkansas based company made step vans and later by Phoenix Commercial Vehicles in Arizona.
  • Studebaker had walk-in delivery vans. In 1963 they added ZIP vans, which existed until the company collapsed in 1966.
  • Utilimaster has been building multi-stop delivery vehicles and other vans since 1973; currently they manufacture the Isuzu Reach in a collaboration with the Japanese manufacturer. In the 1980s and 1990s the company manufactured the aerodynamic, front-wheel drive Aeromate on their own chassis, using Chrysler's turbocharged four-cylinder or 3.3-litre V6 engines.[3]
  • White Motor Company originally built the White Horse from 1939 to 1942. Later, they built the White PDQ Delivery van between 1960 and 1966.
  • Willys produced the Walk-In Willys Van from 1941 to 1942, which were based on the 441 trucks. After World War Two, most of Willys' truck manufacturing was concentrated on Jeeps, although Jeep did offer walk-in delivery type bodies for some of its pickups. Under ownership by Kaiser, Jeep built the FJ-3, FJ-3A, and FJ-6 delivery vans, and in 1975 AM General built the Jeep FJ-9. Jeep also supplied chassis for bodies made by Highway Products and other manufacturers.
  • Workhorse Custom Chassis, a Navistar International company, was started in 1998 by investors who took over production and sales of General Motors’ popular P-series Stepvan chassis when GM dropped it. Navistar acquired Workhorse in 2005; AMP Electric Vehicles purchased acquired the Workhorse brand and the Workhorse Custom Chassis assembly plant in Union City, Indiana in March 2015, and adopted the name Workhorse Group Incorporated.[4] For a short time Workhorse offered an integrated chassis-body product called MetroStar. As of 2016, Workhorse was offering the E-Gen step van with plug-in hybrid (or "extended range electric") drivetrain.[5]


See also


  1. ^ GMC: The First 100 Years, by John Gunnell
  2. ^ Crismon, Frederick W. (2002), International Trucks (2nd ed.), Minneapolis, Minnesota: Victory WW2 Publishing, p. 142, ISBN 0-9700567-2-9
  3. ^ Siegel, Stewart (July 1990). "The New Models for 1991: Light Trucks". Fleet Owner. Vol. 85, no. 7. FM Business Publications. p. 62.
  4. ^ Workhorse - About
  5. ^ Workhorse - Step Vans
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Multi-stop truck
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