“Got Milk?” – 1962 Divco Model U

Remember the good ole days when the “milk person” brought fresh milk to your house? He/she showed up wearing a snappy uniform in his/her neat little milk delivery truck and left a rack of new bottles and took away a rack of empties. Chances are said representative was driving a Divco milk truck, one of several commercial vehicles made by the company during the heart of the 20th Century. This is one of those trucks, a Model U “Shorty” because of its limited wheelbase. Located in West Milford, New Jersey, this non-running 1962 Model U has some great patina and looks to be complete. It’s available here on eBay where the bidding has reached $4,050.

Divco is an acronym for Detroit Industrial Vehicles Company, and they built numerous commercial transports over 64 years in business. One of their most recognizable products was the Model U milk truck which enjoyed a 48-year run with a break during the 1940s when production facilities were diverted to the wartime effort. The Model U was distinguished by its snub-hood truck design, and it used an all-steel body and “drop” frame, making it easier for delivery people to step in and out of. The “Shorty” had a 100-inch wheelbase and relied on a variety of 4-cylinder engines over the years for propulsion. It could be driven from either a sitting or standing position, the latter helpful for multi-stop deliveries.

Because they were specialized vehicles, the annual production of the Model Us was usually low, with a peak of some 6,385 units in the early years following World War II. The seller’s 1962 edition was largely unchanged from the ones that preceded it. It has a flathead inline-4 engine, probably sourced from Ford as was the case for most of these trucks from that period. That should make finding parts a bit easier to get this one going again. The truck still wears graphics from when it was last likely gainfully employed. Delamore Dairy was based in Wilmington, Delaware but we don’t find any indication online that they’re still in business.

While far from perfect, this truck certainly doesn’t look beyond repair, and restoring it would be a cool project. The most amount of rust appears to be in areas where they stored the milk and in the lower portions of the doors and fenders. You could get it moving again, restore it to like-new condition or do a resto-mod, but to what end game. What would you do with it when completed? I’d be inclined to get it going, fix the rust and not much else, and drive it to car shows to impress your friends because who else is going to have one? As a side note, given its length of time manufactured with few changes from beginning to end, the Model U’s 48-year production run (1938-86) is only surpassed the Volkswagen Beetle.

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Comments

  1. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    These cute little rigs can have many uses. Plenty of room for your tools when you tow your race car to the track. I have a picture in my mind (it may not actually be a memory) of one of these painted candy apple red with polished aluminum wheels selling soft drinks and ice cream at a rodeo. At any rate the options are limitless as to what to do with this thing.
    God bless America

    Like 10
  2. DayDreamBeliever Member

    For a real treat, watch the YouTube 1320video coverage of this year’s Hot Rod Power Tour, going on now.

    There is a Divco so much like this one, but on a real frame, with a twin turbo BBC, running 12’s.

    Fantastic.

    Like 3
  3. Howard A Member

    These were called “Stand-up Divcos”, and every alley in a America had these rolling through the pre-dawn hours. So many jokes about milkmen ( sorry, Russ, I never saw’r a “milkwoman”) and they delivered milk, butter, eggs, all to be ready for breakfast. There were compartments in the house door that the driver would leave the goods, or a home made “milk chute”, like my old man made, that also was great for sneaking out of the house late at night, but that’s a different story. These were powered by a Continental motor, and had several unique features, like the seat would rotate out of the way, there was a throttle on the shift lever, replaced later by a floor control, and a unique clutch/brake control on one pedal, all to facilitate multi stops. Today, a lot of these turned into drag racers, but some use it’s unique style to promote their businesses. I read, it remained the same style only surpassed by the VW Bug. Great find, let’s hear the “milkman stories”!!!

    Like 13
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Better yet, the milkwoman stories.

      Like 4
    • Dan Pennell

      I recall servicing one in Midland Park N.J. When I was just out of high school. It had what was called a Divcomatic transmission that incorporated the shift lever and brake in a way that I can’t remember,however I remember it was hard to get used to

  4. Stanley

    Local dairy here in Pittsburgh Turner’s Dairy ran home delivery into the early 2000’s remember seeing milk boxes on the front porches right up to the bitter end. They have a restored divco outfront of their operation these days heralding back to the simpler days

    Like 8
    • Marty

      I grew up across the street from Turner’s Dairy on Jefferson Road. Young men would shovel ice into the back of these trucks, as they had no refrigeration. Then, they would ride with the driver to deliver. Also no seat for the passenger. There are no longer live cows at this location, but I remember my dad driving us home from church in the 1960’s and stopping because the Guernsey cows would get loose and stand in the middle of the street.

      Like 6
      • Howard A Member

        Hi Marty, that’s why many of these didn’t survive, because the milk was cooled by ice which rusted the floor. I remember a Divco always leaving a puddle of water. In Milwaukee, the big name was Sealtest, but we had Golden Gurnsey, as well.

        Like 4
      • DayDreamBeliever Member

        Mostly Borden in my area, but there were others too.

        When I was maybe 19, my brother took me to look at one, saying “We should buy it”.
        I don’t at all recall why he wanted to snag it, but just being cool was probably reason enough.

        Like 2
    • Dave

      We had Menzie Dairy from McKeesport. All green trucks.

      Like 1
  5. lbpa18

    Look at the five digit phone numbers ahead of the door. That hasnt existed in decades. I dont see how this can be restored without losing that hand painted lettering. To me, that leaves a mechanical restore and a clean and clearcoat for the outside, or a hotrod running gear but do the same thing with the exterior. Either way, its cool and brings back a lot of memories. Years ago my grandfather used to tell of the horse that came thru his windshield after falling out of the horse trailer in front of him while he was delivering for the dairy. He said he was lucky not to have been killed. Lots of stories out there from these Im sure. I hope this gets saved.

    Like 8
    • Terrry

      That’s an 7-digit phone number, starting with the OL prefix I believe. That was the common pre-cell phone number format since the early 60s.

      Like 5
      • Dave

        You’re right. In that era it was common to use a word for the first two of three numbers in a telephone number. One I still remember is the number and jingle for Roth Rugs and Carpets…

        “Mister Roth is Mister Rugs!
        EMerson 22-800”

        Like 1
  6. CJinSD

    The engine looks like a Continental, maybe an F163.

    Like 6
  7. JoeTheDog

    I love this thing. I would fix drivetrain and safety issues, change the rear end for reasonable cruising, and let the rest of it continue to age naturally (i.e. rot).

    Like 2
  8. Gavin

    Paper boy in early 70’s, we had a metal cooler box on front porch for milk man “Fred”. I sometimes crossed his route delivering..he “gave” me a chocolate milk sometimes..I thought it was free…years later my mom told me he billed them for every one. OUCH.

    Like 14
    • Howard A Member

      Good one,,, Fred didn’t put his kids though college by giving away free milk,, :)

      Like 7
  9. Pauld

    As teenagers we would go to the lot where these were stored on a Sunday and joy ride around the lot. The keys or ignition switch were always in the truck.

    Like 3
  10. RodL

    Wait, mom told me my dad was the MilkMAN. He wasn’t a “person”😂🤣

    Like 7
    • Cristiana

      Who ever heard of a LADY milkman???😄
      In ’50s-’60s San Francisco, our milk was delivered by Borden’s in a white and yellow Divco truck like this one. I remember the distinctive growl of the engine and the whine of the lower gears as it pulled away, as clearly as if it were just this morning. Ours was a large family, and we drank a lot of milk!

      Like 8
      • Terrry

        They also had a particular aroma inside, of dairy or milk? Not unpleasant.

        Like 4
      • David

        who ever heard of a “he-she” milk person lol

        Like 4
  11. John Member

    When I was a kid, 6-7-8th grade helped a milkman on Saturdays and holidays, he had this truck. Snow wouldn’t stop it but small as routes got bigger…before out of state dsiries came in and discounted milk.
    I picked up a 67 Divco in Deleware, restored it, drove it in my business for 10 years, sold it to a construction company in the outer banks, great truck
    Still miss it, long story

    Like 3
  12. Raymond

    There never has been a milk woman, ever….milk person…lol…

    Like 5
  13. Mike T

    Ernie, out milk man during the war had trouble getting tires and gas so he parked his Divco in the barn and put his old horse and wagon into service. Every day at 6:00am as he dropped off his milk, cream and cheese, his horse dropped off a surprise for my mother. She put in the flower bed and around her roses. Finally she had enough and called the chairman of the board of selectmen to complain. After she finished she asked him what he thought. He thought for a couple of minutes and said “ God, I wish I was that regular.”

    Like 15
  14. Dave Diauto

    i grew up so of Boston ma and a small local dairy had one with a plow on it
    what a plow

    Like 2
  15. Jim keller

    Just keep the logo with a wrap and redo everything else back to stock

    Like 1
  16. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    And who can forget one of the most unique milkmen of all? And that would be the “Dead Milkmen” who actually made a good song about something seen here all the time; Camaros.

    Like 2
    • Bill D

      I like you, Stuart. You’re not like the other people, here in the trailer park.

      Like 2
  17. Old Beach Guy

    I remember our milkman when we lived in Pennsylvania. I remember Dad being surprised to find that we had the same one when we moved to South Carolina. Mom just smiled.

    Like 8
  18. Bill b

    In my younger days I always wanted one of these old vans. I would’ve kept my golf clubs, fishing equipment and hunting gear in it. All ready to go. A drop down bunk. Big cooler for food and beveridge. Coleman stove.
    It was nice to dream.

    Like 5
  19. Jack Member

    My cousin used to work on one of these helping the milkman in the 50’s in Richmond VA. He had to get up very early each morning and delivering the milk seemed to keep him in very good shape. I think the pay for a teenager was not that bad. The milkman would be standing up driving and my cousin would hop out with the milk through the open doors.

    Like 3
  20. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    I might as well chime in with my milkman story. Late ’50s early ’60s our milkman would deliver the quarts of milk that you had to shake before use to mix the cream back in. The paper cardboard lift tabs.
    The quarts graduated into 1/2 gallon glass containers. The milkman was missing his left arm. It was amazing how he carried the rack of milk on his “stub”.
    When I was in high school I had a friend who invited me over to her house and guess who her father was? Yep, our milkman. Of course. By then, we bought our milk at the supermarket.

    Like 9
  21. Bill D

    I remember Sicomac Dairy out of Wyckoff, NJ delivering to my hometown into the 1970s using these trucks.

    Like 1
  22. Craig

    Our milkman drove one of these. Our milk box was under the bathroom window and during the winter while my father was getting ready for work he would crack the window a bit and when he heard Bob putting the milk in the box he would get a road report on how slippery the roads were.

    Like 4
  23. Wayne

    Our milk man (Driving a Divco) carried dog treats in his truck. So we always knew 30 minutes before he would show up as the dogs started barking and the dogs would be waiting at the street for when he would arrive. They (the dogs) would chase the truck up the drive (.1 of a mile) and then sit and wait
    until he had deposited the fresh milk on the step and brought the empties back to the truck. THEN, they would get their treats! I worked at a NAPA store when in high school and because we supplied the local dairy with parts. We actually stocked parts like steering components, brake linings (I was the lucky one who had to remove the old linings from the shoes and re-rivit the new linings onto the shoes) and tune up parts. We normally stocked a lot of Continental engine parts as we also supplied replacement parts for forklifts. I seem to remember that some of the steering and suspension parts were the same as older Dodge trucks. I have now seen 3 Divco trucks restored and “hot rodded”. In all cases, when talking to the owners. They reported that theirs came to them with slant six Mopars installed. Maybe newer trucks? By the way, they look really cool with shiny wheels and fat tires!

    Like 2
  24. George Louis

    While attending Thomas M . Cooley High School in Detroit, Mi from Sept. 1965 to June 1968, I had a Math Teacher named Mr. Ronald Valutis. He would fill in for regular milkmen on their routes for summer vacation, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, and other holidays. I remember he mentioned that the Divco trucks he drove had a hand throttle. The Divco plant was on Detroit’s west side on a street named: AMERICAN.

    Like 4
  25. Dave

    Remember the good old days when you bought gas, oil, tires, and other auto-related items at a gas station?
    Once upon a time, grocery stores didn’t sell milk. When their lobbies persuaded the politicians to allow grocery stores to sell milk the era of home delivery died. That was in the mid-1960s here in Pennsylvania.
    Then in the mid-1970s, after the first Arab oil embargo, oil companies lobbied under the guise of “lower prices for consumers” to be allowed to own gas stations. Until then most gas stations were privately owned but there were a few “discount” chains like Bi-Rite, Falcon, and Workingman’s Friend.
    Then, the idea of selling milk and other common pre-packaged food items like bread and snacks took hold.
    Ironically, most gas around here is sold by independent chains like Speedway and Sheetz. GetGo is owned by a grocery chain, Giant Eagle. There are three Sunoco stations and mini-stores owned by families around here and a new chain called “Rebel” just bought a Speedway location. Coen Oil, a distributor, recently bought CoGo’s gas stations/stores and has rebranded them and is selling Amoco gas again.
    In a plot twist, Haddad’s began as a family-owned and operated gas station that also ran a car wash. Today, they make their money renting pretty much anything needed by the many film companied that use Western Pennsylvania as a location. They never had a store that sold groceries.

    Like 2
    • Howard A Member

      Hi Dave, you nailed it. The “milkman” was replaced by the convenience store. In our area it was “7-11”. There were strict laws saying a grocery store couldn’t be open late, and combining gas and groceries was kind of a loophole, and buying groceries at 10:30pm on a week night was previously unheard of. Today, in Wisconsin, you can buy a 1/5th of whiskey at 3am at the local KwikTrip. Nice, huh?

      Like 5
      • Bill D

        A fair number of states also had “blue laws” saying that general merchandise retailers couldn’t be open on Sundays, but gas stations could. This was an end run around those blue laws. Massachusetts had general-merchandise (not just alcoholic beverage) blue laws into the 1970s and Bergen County New Jersey (where I grew up) still has them. Blue laws also said that drugstores could be open and that’s how we ended up with “drugstores” like CVS that sell everything under the sun.

        Like 2
      • George Louis

        Today they probably sell more fifths of whiskey than they sell gallons of milk.

    • Bill b

      Not true about grocery stores not selling milk, and had to be delivered to the door.
      My parents owned a neighborhood grocery store in turtle creek pa. We sold meadow gold milk until we closed it in the mid 50’s.

      Like 2
  26. Ben T. Spanner

    We had Canton Pure Milk in Canton, Ohio. Their water tower was shaped like a milk bottle.
    The dairy would supply a box for the front porch which was made of thin galvanized metal and thin fiber board insulation. We of course purloined them for beer coolers. They fell apart and the bottles were just left out.
    When the un homogenized milk would start to freeze, the frozen cream in the neck of the bottle,would push the paper seal up. My big old tom cat would go door to door licking the cream and leaving tongue shaped indentations. My next door neighbor asked what caused that and I said “That’s just the way milk freezes.”

    Like 3
  27. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    I remember on one of those reality television shows out of TX, the one with that man and wife and incredible Hispanic body man, they did one of these for their in house upholsterer and it was such an awesome build.

  28. Ben Cleary

    White Dairy in Birmingham Alabama delivered “Sweet” milk, buttermilk, chocolate milk, as well as lemonade, grape and orange aid all in glass bottles sealed with a cardboard cap in the top. My mom would also order whipping cream at times. Empty bottles were left outside your front door to be picked up. The best of recycling in the 1950s. Also, I never saw a female delivering milk. They just didn’t do that back then.

  29. DayDreamBeliever Member

    The comments on this post are awesome.

    Keep ’em coming!

    Like 1
  30. Ken

    Divco was on Hoover just south of 8 Mile in Detroit, Michigan.

    Like 1
  31. David Coffer

    My dad was a milkman until I was about 6. Lot’s of memories of him picking me up in the afternoon and riding around with him until quitting time. I’m not sure if it was a divco, but the doors seem familiar so it probably was one. I would love to have this one but it is on the wrong coast. It would go nice sitting next to my 1956 dodge step van, bread truck, survivor that I still drive sometimes. Love these old trucks!

    Like 1
  32. JUNK YARD JOHN

    delamore dairy was located on lancaster ave in wilmington de. dairy closed in1980’s. i acquired identical if not the same truck as a trade for removing boats from a house in bear de. owner said he bought truck for 5.00 at auction. truck was sold to man in havre ge grace md and used as storage shed while building his house. he fixed the brakes and tagged truck as he couldn’t build a temporary structure on the property don’t know what happened to truck but have contacted homeowner in hdg md.,

    Like 1

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