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Parts? Yard Art? Rat Rod? 1964 Divco Milk Truck

Or how about using it as a storage unit? I had an uncle who had an old truck similar to this that he used as a “parked storage shed” at his summer place on the Piankatank River in Virginia. I thought it was way cooler than the plain-vanilla metal storage sheds you could buy at Sears. This old “snub-nose” Divco 300D milk truck is rusty and rough-as-a-cob as we say here in Carolina with no drivetrain or front axle, but some people think it could be repurposed into a Rat Rod. It’s currently located two hours east of me in Raleigh, North Carolina and is for sale here on craigslist for $2,650 cash. A thank you goes out to Chuck Foster for sending this tip our way.

I stumbled upon a video of this truck that features a walk around (with a then asking price of $3,000). The front windshield is gone and the driver compartment’s floors are rusted through, but the rear refrigerated area didn’t look too bad. Based on some online research, this milk truck most likely came from the factory with a Ford six-cylinder engine that is long gone.

And speaking of long gone, Divco (an acronym for Detroit Industrial Vehicles Company) was in business more than 60 years before the last truck rolled off the line in 1986. They introduced their completely redesigned commercial van in 1937 that featured an all-steel body, semi-automatic folding doors, and an art deco-styled hood that became known as a “snub nose.” Going practically unchanged for decades, Divco was a popular choice for businesses that made multiple-stop, small deliveries to customers on a single trip. Like today’s UPS and FedEx trucks, Divco’s were designed so drivers could get in and out of them easily at each stop (they were also configured for standup driving). Even though they were used by a number of businesses, from bakeries to dry cleaners, and even made into ambulances, they’re most famous as milk trucks. After World War II, these iconic Divcos were everywhere and made the perfect truck for delivering milk to grocery stores as well as family homes. A sales sheet for the 300 Model lists their storage capacity at 256 cubic feet or 100 to 120 milk cases.

It’s cool that the truck still shows remnants of its original Pine State Milk identification on the sides and back. The company’s colors were orange and white, and I bet this was one spiffy-looking milk truck when it was new. A little research revealed that Pine State was a popular regional creamery located in Raleigh, NC, from the 1920’s until it closed in 1996.

The video states that the truck is sitting on the storage lot of an artistic guy who takes old things (including cars and trucks) and transforms it into furniture, wall hangings, yard art, and anything else folks are willing to put in their home or yard. So what do you think? Do you think it’ll ever be on the road again?

Comments

  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    I don’t know why a Divco panel truck appeals to me but it just does. I saw all kinds of milk trucks when I was a kid but the Divco always stood out. Well, the super low floor Internationals too. I’m afraid this one is down to mostly parts; it will be a major challenge to find the missing powertrain and front axle. And even then you’ve got a challenge ahead of you. If I had lots of time I would still attempt a restoration. I would probably cut a few corners in the process but the original theme would still be there…

    Like 7
    • Howard A Member

      Same here, pal. I think it’s a stark reminder of when we were kids. The “stand-up ” Divco was a part of everyones mornings. Refrigeration and preservatives not like today, dairy products had a short shelf life, and required daily delivery. Most of these had no refrigeration, and were cooled by ice, which is why many rotted out. My old man built a “milk chute” ( now it can be told,,that me and my brother used to climb out of at night),or the 2 way compartment in the door. It’s how we got our dairy products then. So many jokes over the years, mainly because of their early arrivals. Considering what a basic shed costs these days, this is a deal. Divcos and all delivery vehicles led a rough life and retired when the driver, or cargo, fell through the floor. Most became stationary sheds out back. I doubt anything else will become of this.
      RE: “Rough as a cob”. That term is not Carolina specific. As long as I can remember, that phrase outlined many an item, not just vehicles.

      Like 3
  2. alphasud Member

    I saw my first Divco a number of years ago with friends. It’s one of the most handsome industrial designs. Love the Art Deco personality and it’s no wonder these are sought after in the custom car community.

    Like 2
  3. angliagt angliagt Member

    I saw two of these in a wrecking yard in Christiansburg,VA
    a while back.One was in a pile of cars,& the other one was near
    the office,& appeared that it might run.

    Like 4
    • midwestjeff

      Surprised to see a Corvette convertible within the pile of unwanted vehicles.

      Like 4
      • Dean Miller

        What Vette ? Not seeing it !!!

      • angliagt angliagt Member

        It’s in the next to last row on the right,
        under that ’57 Ford.

      • Dean Miller

        Found it…my bad…

    • Gary

      That place is a damn shame, look at all those cars and parts in the pile

  4. Glenn Schwass Member

    Put it on a 2500-3500 Chevy, Dodge or Ford frame and drivetrain and have a blast. With the right diesel , you could make a towing beast out of it.
    Only win the lottery and play…

    Like 2
  5. Abe Bush

    The Divco delivery truck company was eventually acquired by Wayne Corporation, which was a major builder of school buses back in the 1950s at which time it became the Divco-Wayne company. From there, Divco-Wayne purchased both the A.J. Miller Company as well as the Meteor company, which were both builders of hearses, ambulances, flower cars, and service cars. Once they acquired both these companies they merged them into one, which was known as the Miller-Meteor division of Divco-Wayne (the famous 1959 Cadillac that became Ecto-1 on the movie “Ghostbusters” was a 1959 Miller-Meteor Cadillac combination car which could serve as both an ambulance, and a hearse). Divco-Wayne also acquired the Cotner-Bevington company which became its own division, and built hearses and ambulances on Oldsmobile chassis. The Divco milk trucks were by far the industry leader for milk delivery vehicles, and were even able to be driven from behind the drivers seat by the milk delivery guy who could literally stand up while driving, and steer with a tiller which made it more convenient to make constant stops, and lug milk crates full of milk bottles right from the back of the truck without entering and exiting the front part of the vehicle, he could just step off from the back once he got to his destination. Wayne eventually spun off the Divco company once it was acquired by Indian Head Corporation in the 1970s, eventually Cotner-Bevington went completely out of business in 1976, followed by Miller-Meteor folding in 1979, and even Wayne went completely belly-up in the early 1990s after the baby boomers had all completed schooling, and the bussing industry was pretty much devoured by 2-3 huge school bus companies. These little milk-trucks were absolute workhorses, they earned their keep and worked very hard and were driven until they fell completely apart, and there are very few left in existence. I know someone who is a former milk-man from the 1960s and he has done a complete frame-off restoration of an old Divco milk truck down to its original brand new factory configuration and condition, with the logos of his former company’s creamery emblazoned on the truck in the company’s colors. Unfortunately the creamery itself went out of business in the late 1960s but its legacy lives on!

    Like 10
  6. Slomoogee

    I love these Divcos! Must be from my youth as the Little neighborhood store received deliveries twice a week from the same milk man for years. In the summer he would let us get ice from the back, and in the winter we would hop his bumper and get to slide to the next stop. Imagine that now days… not. Of course my mom would send me to buy a pac of Old Golds, which Alma the owner would gladly give me, after I had bought a 1/2 popsicle for 3 cents. This one really got my old guy going.

    Like 4
    • Emel

      Now, he would get robbed several times a day. They’d even steal the milk.
      We lived in a long gone far-a-way place called America. From sea to shining sea.

      Like 7
  7. Gary P.

    Use one as a band truck in the late 60s. Painted silver with black fenders.

  8. Raymond Lynn Main

    I remember them well as I drove one six days a week for over two years. I had a door-to-door route in Delaware, Ohio driving for Deerlick Dairy in 1960-61 sweating in summer {had to pick up a load twice a day or it would sour} then freezing in winter { No paper then, all glass bottles and it would freeze the paper tops off like a volcano}. It was a 1948 model, stand up or sit down drive and as I remember a 4cyl that could barely go up a hill with a full load. Because of this, routes had to be planned to run steep hills only one way, down. Most days lunch break was meeting up with the Omar Bakery driver and swapping a chocolate milk or OJ for a cake or cherry pie. By the way, almost every joke you heard about the milkman, was true!

    Like 1
  9. 19sixty5 Member

    As a kid of the fifties, I have great memories of these. I hope someone can mildly restomod this!

  10. Frank

    My Grandfather was an independent Milk Man in Chicago and kept his Divco in his garage when I was a kid. As a 5 year old car nut, nothing better than spending time in the garage behind the Divco’s wheel! I’ve got several pics of me in that truck! Great memories!

    Like 3
    • Abe Bush

      Would love to see the pics!

      Like 1
  11. Emel

    Oh wow….1960’s we had a insulated milk box outside the front door and the friendly milkman route driver would deliver the milk, a couple times a week. Butter too !
    How times have changed……now you have to lug this stuff from the store, in the 90 degree heat. Yuck !
    Take me back…..Country Road !

    Like 5
  12. Phil D

    I saw a street-rodded Divco in a KOA in which I was staying in Jonestown, PA (east of Harrisburg) that was in town for a Divco owners meet being held nearby back in 2000. The owner had put a Nova subframe under it, with a SBC under that short-nosed hood, and had made a scale model of it that he hauled around in the back.

    Pretty cool, actually, as it never would have occurred to me to make a street rod out of a Divco, or all things.

    Like 1
  13. Dean Miller

    DAMN…IF ONLY I didnt already..too many project…been on my wish list for years…..waiting for ‘another’ Econoline pick~up to show up….
    Ever think of a ‘convertable one’….got one in the making 😎

  14. john hess Member

    Had one, a 67 before sellng it which I restored and drove for 6 yrs before selling it. Replaced the 240 W/300 Ford and then later changed out the transmission W/Auto. Changed the rear end ratio so could get 65+/- out of it. To do it again would set it on a newer 1 ton chassie

  15. Ward William

    Two words: Food Truck. It will live again. Cheap base to make something original for food or advertising.

    Like 1
  16. angliagt angliagt Member

    They had local milk delivery (Homestead Creamery)
    until a few weeks ago.
    Another sad sign of the times.

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