Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


AN ICE CREAM car is a grand subject of daydreams. It’s not for mobility in the ordinary sense, commuting and the like. It might not even have the pedigree for inclusion in proper old car events. However, as its name suggests, it’s great for rolling out of the garage on a nice afternoon, dusting it off, firing it up and motoring off for an ice cream.

If the best ice cream shop happens to be in the next county, all the better.

I’ve been musing about my ultimate ice cream car, initially with a list of several. Here are the final four.


Morgan Plus Four 4-Passenger Family Tourer.

To me, a Morgan’s primary shortcoming is having already had custodianship: “Been there; done that.” See A Morgan’s attraction is traditional feel combined with relatively straightforward upkeep, a vintage Bentley crossed with Checker cab. Well, maybe not that crossed….

Dellow Mk. II.

Dellow Mk. II.

As noted a while back (, a Dellow is so English it makes one’s teeth ache. It’s intended for the peculiarly English sport of trials, or “mud-plucking,” though I’m attracted by historical aspects. Steel was in short supply in post-World-War-II England, yet there was a glut of aluminum. Vintage bits traditionally made of steel—or wood—are aluminum on a Dellow. Even better, many Dellow chassis were fabricated from war-surplus rocket launching tubes. Some Dellows still retain the government “mil. spec.” stenciled there.

Unfortunately, the Dellow is a diminutive car (10 in. shorter overall than a modern Mini). I sampled a Dellow years ago, but recognize that it looks like a clown car driven by the likes of me.


1931 Bugatti Type 43 Grand Sport, its first owner, Crown Prince Leopold of Belgium. This example is offered by Kidston SA;

The Type 43 is a road-going version of Bugatti’s Type 35 race car. The Grand Sport is elegantly potent in appearance. It makes all the proper vintage whines, whirs, grumbles and snarls. Alas, back in 2008 one went for a bit more than $1.7 million at Bonham’s Automobiles d’Exception in Paris).

On the other hand, what’s the point of dreams, but for cars like the Type 43 Grand Sport?


The latter-day C4R starred in R&T’s extensive comparison of rooms at the famed Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, California. In ambient temperatures that would instantly melt any ice cream, the C4R proved to be unfussy—dare I say “practical”? This and other C4R images from R&T, December 1998, March 1999.

Back in 1998, the son of distinguished sportsman Briggs Cunningham, Briggs III, and his sons, Robert and Brian, were encouraged to build what’s termed a “Continuation Series” of the Cunningham 1952 C4R Le Mans roadster. The result was a total of four museum-quality replicas at around $160,000 a piece. For an excellent mini-history of the C4R Continuation Series, see

I’ve probably driven the C4R Continuation Series—actually two of them—as much as any non-owner: the R&T “Les 24 Heures du Madonna Inn” trip, around southern California during the car’s stay with R&T and a drive from home to the Monterey Weekend.


Not your average ice cream trip: a lunch at Tutti’s (then in Montecito, now Tutti’s Off Main in Ventura). Wife Dottie drove the Jaguar XK8; I piloted the C4R from home to the 1998 Monterey Weekend. Image by Dottie Clendenin.

The latter day C4R is raucous. Like any competition car, everything resonates—and so does the driver. I’ve had great fun with this car, and it rises to the top of my current musings.

More rare

More rare than a Morgan, roomier than a Dellow, less expensive than a Bugatti Type 43 Grand Sport, the Cunningham has it all.

Driving a C4R Continuation Series is a wonderful historical simulation of road racing in the 1950s. It’s a grand hoot!

What’s your list of ultimate ice cream cars? ds

Dennis Simanaitis,, 2013


  1. Marshall Schuon
    May 21, 2013

    This week, it’s my “new” 1990 Jag XJS!

  2. Lee Raskin
    May 21, 2013

    Wacky Arnolt’s Arnolt-Bristol Deluxe Roadster….Vroom, Vroooom!

  3. Gabriel Camacho Agraz
    May 21, 2013

    Thumbs up to any 70s Alfa Spider or MGA.

  4. Kristoffer Skantze
    May 21, 2013

    “More rare than a Morgan, roomier than a Dellow, less expensive than a Bugatti Type 43 Grand Sport, the Cunningham has it all”. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    For me a Jaguar XKSS would do the trick.

  5. John Franklin
    May 21, 2013

    For the family, a 1938 Packard Super 8 convertible. For me solo, D-type Jag.

  6. Larry Pfitzenmaier
    July 1, 2013

    Hi Dennis,

    I am now the lucky owner of the C4R featured above and in the “Madonna” article (and in many other 1998-era periodicals). I wrote the Continuation C4R piece you reference at Larry Berman’s BSC web site. Would love to talk with you someday. I’ll have the car at the Lime Rock Vintage Festival Labor Day weekend. See you there?

    Best regards,
    Larry Pfitzenmaier

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