Sweet Republic's '59 Chevy Retires and Why Food Trucks Struggle with Car Insurance

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There's been a certain sweet-slangin' retro Chevy absent on the streets of late.

See also: - Tastemakers No. 88 Jan Wichayanuparp and Helen Yung - Sweet Republic Introduces Sichuan Orange Chocolate Ice Cream

And if, like us, you've been wondering when Sweet Republic and their converted 1959 ice cream automobile will be back in action, the answer (unfortunately) is not all that soon.

Several weeks ago, Sweet Republic co-owner Jan Wichayanuparp got into an accident in which the vehicle flipped over on the freeway. While no one was hurt, it meant the end for Sweet Republic's signature orange and white ice cream trucking days. (At least in that particular truck.)

Sweet Republic began using the truck about two years after opening their brick and mortar location in 2008. For many, the vehicle embodied the company's funky, retro style and even though the Chevy pre-dated air conditioning, it was named one of TLC's Best Food Ever Fab Food Carts in 2010.

Wichayanuparp says they plan to replace the vehicle but that they "don't want to settle for something with less personality."

The first time around it took the owners two years to get the '59 vehicle on the road - months to find the right car, about a year to get it up and running and several more months to convert the vehicle into a working ice cream truck.

"We hope the process will go faster this time around," Wichayanuparp says.

Within the street food community, the incident raised questions regarding insurance for food trucks and other specialty vehicles.

According to Short Leash Dogs owner, Brad Moore, food trucks often struggle to obtain insurance policies that cover not only the cost of the vehicles, but also the essential add-ons and improvements which equip the trucks as mobile kitchens.

"The specialty nature of what we do makes it difficult to cover [the costs,]" Moore says. "Its tricky - it's really tricky."

For Wichayanuparp, problems arose around settling on a fair value for a customized, classic vehicle.

"With most cars there's a Blue Book value but a '59 Chevy?," she explained. "And it's not a even sedan - it's a commercial vehicle."

Nonetheless, Wichayanuparp says they'll be looking for another classic vehicle to replace the Chevy and continue their "retro-modern style."

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