Inspiring Business by Sharing Success

Draycott based steel fabricator Parry embark on a unique challenge to fit a professional kitchen into a 2CV.

When Italian automobile designer Flaminio Bertoni first conceived the Citroen 2CV (or, in French Deux Chevaux - which literally translated means “two horses”) in 1936 it was to provide some relief from the profound workload of French farmers.

It’s doubtful whether Bertoni ever considered the vehicle being re-engineered as the world’s smallest food truck. Yet at Draycott based manufacturer Parry Stainless Steel Products, that’s precisely what has been created.

Affectionately nicknamed Dolly, and the brainchild of “Super Chef” Andrew Mellon, the 2CV has been painstakingly converted from a basic passenger car to a mobile catering unit, fully fabricated by Parry in beautiful stainless steel and fitted at their Draycot factory. Andrew chose to work with Parry because he wanted the vehicle equipment fabricated, manufactured and assembled in Britain and had used Parry’s renowned kitchen equipment happily for many years. Parry offered the desired combination of extremely high quality products, lengthy experience, customer service and ecological credentials (Parry have a carbon neutral footprint) that made them Andrews’ obvious partner choice. Parry Managing Director Mark Banton immediately recognised the marketing potential of the enterprise and was happy commit to the project. Dolly was born!

It was in the mid-winter chill of February when Andrew’s initial wish list of gas and electrical components arrived at Parry HQ, along with the first concept drawings created by project designers GEC Anderson. Also at this point multi-national corporation 3M joined the project, agreeing to wrap the vehicle once the engineering process had been completed, ready for Dolly’s public debut.

The bespoke installation, all in fabricated stainless steel, includes a double sink from which Dolly produces her own hot water (to comply with health and safety standards), a set of four drawers to hold produce, with a pull out work surface above, on which to prep food. A large drawer to the rear holds cooking equipment including an 1860 single fryer, a CHU single hob with a 3022 heated base, PGF800 gas griddle and an AG2H two ring gas burner. A further drawer holds cooking utensils and condiments and there is even a cocktail stand which can sit at the rear of the units or, stand alone. Atop is a bespoke one-piece cover which sits over all the fabrication to provide a further stainless steel worktop.

Mark Barton recalls:

“The initial fabrications were largely “experimental” as we had no real reference point for a project of this nature. After all, it had never been done before!

Our team really relished the opportunity to engineer such a unique and special assignment, which now stands as a testament to the their, and the company’s skill and expertise.”

One of the main priorities of Dolly’s design brief was to create a compact catering vehicle that minimised food waste, which the team feel has been achieved. For their own part Parry’s carbon neutral operation helps contribute to the green credentials of the overall endeavour. More than creating simply a small catering van the team had a genuine challenge to engineer the sheer volume of equipment into Dolly’s petit proportions and “unique” contours (fortunately Dolly is not easily offended). This called for ingenuity, technical expertise, flexibility, responsiveness and patience, genuinely testing Parry’s manufacturing capabilities. They passed the test with flying colours, vindicating Andrew Mellon’s choice as partners.

Dolly is already earmarked as one of only three headline vehicles at the London Motor Show (ExCel Arena May 17th-20th) and will have her grand reveal at the Bicester Heritage site on 15th May. Further appearances are being scheduled for Dolly including live cooking displays, as she embarks on her first British tour.

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