Got Milk? 1963 Divco Van

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It’s doubtful that the milkmen or delivery boys who ran around in these ever though they would become collectible, but Divco vans have become “a thing” in the last five years or so. The styling is pleasing and they do evoke a set of memories for an entire generation of suburb dwellers, so we knew we had to feature it. It’s located in Bogata, Texas and is listed for sale here on eBay, where bidding as I write is just over $2,000 with no reserve!

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The seller tells us that this truck was operated by the Tro-Fi (Meadow Gold) dairy and they note that the sign painting is still visible on the sides of the truck. For some reason the fender extensions and dual rear wheels have been removed, but they are included with the auction. While the Divco looks very solid at first glance, it’s not quite as good when you get up close. For example, there is a lot of rust through in the front window pillars that will be difficult to repair.

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I wish the rest of the truck had been galvanized like the rear barn doors (at least I think that’s what they are?). I’m not sure what to use this truck for now (besides local delivery services), but I do know I’d want to modify things so that I could at least sit down. That’s right, Divcos were originally set up so that you drove them while standing up!

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You can see what I mean about the driving position by looking at this shot. There’s plenty of room in the cargo compartment if you want to carry something, but what? It does look pretty intact, though. I think looking at the pictures that those front glass panels are plastic, so plan on having new ones cut and installed. Oh, you’ll also have to come up with a title as well because it’s being sold on a bill of sale.

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According to this detailed history of Divco, a 1963 should have a Nash overhead valve six-cylinder engine, while in 1964 the company went to Ford sixes. So, can anyone tell by looking at this one if it’s the original Nash? I’d love to know what you would do with this unusual vehicle; would you keep the p-word intact and merely make it roadworthy, or convert it into something more modern? Be sure and tell us!

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Comments

  1. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    I have the perfect use for this Jamie! The new Barn Finds mobile office! We could go through all the mechanicals and clean up the inside. A desk on one side and a couple of chairs and we would have the perfect workspace. Since it would be representing the site, we could leave the exterior alone and just have the BF logo hand painted on the sides!

    Just think, we wouldn’t have to pay rent anymore and we could travel around to car shows. Heck, we could even go visit our writers. What do you think Jamie – how would you like to see this thing pulling into your driveway? Just gotta convince Josh that there’s enough room back there for the both of us…

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      I love it! You can park it in the yard and we can work on RV hookups for you :-) We might have to change the gearing some if you are going to take it on the highway!

      On another note, I think the Mercedes Benz Sprinter is the modern equivalent. A delivery guy was using one the other day to drop some things off, and I started chatting with him about the vehicle. He said that if he had the money, he’d buy one of the RV converted versions and sell his house — he really loved it as his workplace for 10 hours a day.

    • Cody

      When I read your post I thought of this van I found on craigslist last week. It’s already a mobile office, kind of. You guys will get a kick out of it for sure. Enjoy.

      https://lincoln.craigslist.org/ctd/5605957148.html

      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        Oh boy, even better. Thanks for the laugh Cody!

      • Mike

        I like the chair in that thing!

  2. Neil MacDonald

    After driving several of these over a three year period I have quite a fondness for them. I must also add that you mention that you had to stand up while driving. Actually they had a seat as well that folded under the dash on the left side while driving standing up. While delivering milk my first choice was to drive standing up. I only used the seat while driving back to the dairy after delivering. It was actually VERY comfortable to drive standing up. That had lots of other unique things while driving standing up. Great trucks to work out of. I drove some with Nash, Continental and Ford engines. The Fords were the very best runners.

  3. Mike

    Nice old truck, but I got 1 question, what are you going to sit on to drive it? It would appear that the driver seat is missing. This thing would be hard to drive from a bunch of “MILK CRATES” stacked up.
    Get it milk crates!!!!!

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Jamie mentioned in the story above that many didn’t have seats. They were used for deliveries so it was easier to just stay standing up than having to sit down every time you stopped.

      • Neil MacDonald

        That very well could have been. Just saying that I never have seen one back in the early 60’s when I was driving them. I also must say that they were a very nice truck to drive while standing up with all controls in very convienient positions. Sitting down the seats did not have a good solid feel to them though there were very solid. You had to pick them up to unlock them from the seating position and then fold the back down onto the seat and then swing them in under the dash. They were completely out of the way when stowed.

  4. Neil MacDonald

    Somebody must have needed a seat real bad. I’ve been around many of them and never saw one without. ;-)

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      There is a seat in the pile of parts in the auction listing :-)

    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      Divcos were interesting as they were known as delivery vehicles like milk trucks and the like, so it’s not surprising they were found without seats.

      Seats were not usually part of the equation as they were made to drive “standing up”. The controls were not conventional as we know them. I believe the brake wasa deadman style, where you slowly took your foot OFF the pedal to engage, allowing you to then exit the vehicle.

      • Neil MacDonald

        If one used the seat the controls were totally conventional with three on the tree and the pedals were in the usual position as any other vehicle.When you stood up there the throttle was under your right toe. The long pedal that stuck out was the clutch half way down and the brake the rest of the way. It worked extremely well once you learned to do it. I remember the first time I went to push the clutch down to shift when I was learning to drive one and I went to far down and locked the brakes on and almost put my boss through the windshield. ;-) Most of the time the steering wheel was what you hung onto when you were driving standing up to keep your balance. It was very comfortable to drive. Of course there was no power steering on them that I ever drove.

  5. Wade Treadway

    These were an ideal choice for surf fishermen in the 1950-60’s on Cape Cod. Outfitted with balloon tires they were good in the sand and could be lived in for days at a time. Their popularity gave rise to the Massachusetts Beach Buggy Association.

  6. roger pence

    Check out this interesting Divco build. Wow.
    http://oldcarandtruckpictures.com/Divco/BobPatterson/

  7. Van

    Perfect tailgate wagon for the Ramblin Wreck crowd in Atlanta.
    New yellow and gold wheels the only clue.

  8. geomechs geomechs Member

    Sorry guys but the P-word won’t hunt on this rig. It’s complete so that means resto–to the likes of me anyway. I’m somewhat confused about the engine. It doesn’t quite look Nash to me, but it’s closer than the other possibilities. The exhaust manifold on the right side throws me off because I didn’t think that Nash used a cross-flow head. I thought about the English-built Ford industrial but the valve cover is completely different although the exhaust manifold shape looks like it. Need more information and photos.

    • Neil MacDonald

      The Nash engine had no power at all and any kind of a hill with a load on and you were down to the lower gears and a crawl. The Continental’s were OK but there again no power. The Fords were great and went like hell even up hill and not even shifting down at all. When we got the Ford’s we thought we had died and gone to heaven. ;-)

  9. Ed P

    As a kid, I thought Divco’s looked old and frumpy. Now I see their beauty.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Ed. I think they’re looking better now because WE’RE starting to look old and frumpy.

      • Ed P

        lol

  10. charlie Member

    Two small breweries I am familiar with use them, or other ’50s milk trucks, with beer kegs and outside taps, one has taken the body and put it on a modern chassis and drivetrain – the other is not quite as sad as this, but has taps on the outside, kegs inside, and, a tow bar on the front until they can get it inspectable.

    And we wonder why the Chrysler Airflow still looks weird, while this looks just right.

  11. Lawrence

    Here’s an example of what to do with it.

  12. junrai

    I would paint it candy apple red (dark candy) with a gold sign where the red one goes now and then put the same candy red lettering on it for my mobile auto repair business name on it.
    I would leave it heavy duty and put a modern chassis under it with fuel injection and try to leave the dash stock while having ac

  13. Wade

    Don’t know if has pointed it out but most of these tricks didn’t have dual wheeling

  14. Neil MacDonald

    Our house to house retail trucks had single wheels and our larger and longer wholesale trucks had duals.

  15. steve fisher

    thats no ford engine. probably a nash/rambler , if remember rightly you have to pull head to change the camshaft on rambler mill.

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