Junkyard Gem: 1993 UMC Aeromate Food Truck

One of my favorite things about living in the Mile High City is all the food trucks roaming the neighborhoods here. I’m a regular at such fine mobile eating establishments as Tacos el Huequito, Mikes2Kitchen, and Yuan Wonton, and I’m pleased that South Denver’s metal-centric Brutal Poodle bar

now has its own food truck. The sad part about food trucks
, however, is that they’re trucks, and sometimes old trucks wear out and have to be sent to the knacker’s yard. Here’s a once-ebullient Denver food truck that met that fate and now resides in a self-service yard just south of the city

This truck started out as a member of the extended UMC Aeromate

family, built in Indiana by the company now known as Utilimaster. I couldn’t find much useful information about this particular model, which seems to have the windshield and nose of one of the many UMC-based RVs
instead of the typical long snout of most Aeromates.

What I do know is that it’s based on an early-1990s Chrysler minivan chassis, complete with 3.3-liter V6 engine and the instrument cluster out of a 1992 Plymouth Voyager

. The 3.3 made 150 horsepower in 1993, and it was installed in Chrysler minivans through 2010.

150 horses (and 180 pound-feet) isn’t much for a big truck packed with a complete kitchen, and the strain on a Torqueflite automatic transmission designed for a 3,400-pound minivan must have been severe. I think the drivetrain on this 29-year-old truck just couldn’t hold up under the demands of a hard-working crew of sandwich entrepreneurs in the extreme weather and traffic conditions of High Plains Colorado.

The county licensing sticker expired in late 2019, so it took a couple of years for this UMC to reach this place.

Don’t weep for the Little Big Sandwich Truck, though, because the LBST Empire upgraded to a newer, GM-built school bus

a few years ago and appears to be slinging sandwiches outside Denver-area breweries to this day.

The headlights and marker lights clearly came from a late-first-generation Dodge Caravan/Plymouth Voyager (the second-generation Chrysler minivans, which debuted in the 1991 model year, got different noses). The grille looks like typical RV equipment.

I’ve seen a few junked ice cream trucks over the years, but somehow a sandwich truck with a stenciled snorkeling dachshund seems sadder.

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