The history of the van in business

There’s nothing like the relationship between a man and his van. Since the vehicle first became the popular method of transport for the working man in the 60s, much of Britain’s everyday business has been shaped by the van. Here’s how one simple vehicle has affected our culture:


The origins of the van

The van as we know it first began to take shape in the 60s under the design of Ford. After some remodelling, and jobs as everything from ice-cream vans to ambulances, the classic Ford Transit really arrived in the early 1990s, and has become one of the most recognisable vehicles on the road.


The “White Van Man”

The Sunday Times may have first used the name in a derogatory sense, but since then, many have worn the label with an ironic sense of pride. There’s an entire culture centred around the idea of the man who hustles his living from the back of his van, which TV shows like White Van Man captured with a wonderful sense of humour.


Postman Pat

Any child of the 80s or 90s is bound to have seen an episode or two of Postman Pat. In the animated TV show, Pat’s van became more than just a delivery vehicle – it became the means of rescues and help to his community. The van lost its gruff persona, and the red van of the regular postman became a staple on the roads and a part of the community.


The Camper-van

Even since hippies first decided to set off with a vehicle and nothing but what they could fit in it, the camper-van has been the ultimate symbol of freedom. Camper-vans became as much a part of the adventure as their drivers. If someone’s planning a road trip nowadays, it’s inevitable that they’ll think about doing it in a good old camper-van.


The future of the van

With the Internet it’s becoming easier and easier to set up a company by yourself and to operate it right from your own home. The only thing most people need to make that possible is a means of transporting their livelihood around, which is where the van comes in. You can bet, in the future, we’ll be seeing many more of them on the road.


Vans play an important role in keeping Britain’s economy on the road. If your van is vital to your business too, make sure it’s protected. Direct Line for Business’s van insurance includes £500 of tools cover as standard and we aim to provide a replacement hire van within 24 hours of an accident. Visit us online for our full range of policies.

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