Post-War Deliveries: 1949 Dodge Route Van

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After World War II, American business picked up across the board as things that had been in short supply in the mid-1940s would slowly come back around. That likely led to the development of the Dodge Route Van, a smaller vehicle designed for local deliveries, and became popular with the likes of department stores, newspapers, and milk and bread companies. This 1949 edition of the Route Van was in the service of the Yellow Stone Parks Department but has probably been retired for many years. Located in Boise, Idaho, this nifty transport is available here on Barn Finds Classifieds for $12,000.

According to the seller, the Route Van was the “perfect working man’s truck and delivery van for fleet-style companies.” There was a dairy near my home when I was growing up and we would often go over on Sundays and play in the ones left out back when their tours of duty were completed for good. As part of the area parks initiative, this Route Van is said to have been used for many years in and around various campgrounds. It has a flat-head six-cylinder engine (250 cubic inches?), paired with a 4-speed manual transmission with low gearing.

These were practical vehicles and even the largest deliverymen could stand up in them (more than six feet of headroom). The seller seems to be a fan of these vehicles, and this is at least the second one he/she has had as the restored frame of another unit is shown. We’re told that some of the flat panels need replacing (rust?), but their simplicity may not make that a difficult task.

We’re told the van runs and drives well and recently did a 60-mile hike with no problems. It has 4-wheel disc brakes, an upgrade made by the previous owner. And, apparently, access to the engine to do some work isn’t difficult as you can reach it from both the front end and the “doghouse” to the right of the driver’s seat. This looks like a nifty van that might not need much to be put back into service. Why not add a freezer and peddle ice cream from neighborhood to neighborhood?

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  1. Greg in Texas

    Man I love this thing Russ. Driver that can carry all the shop tools and parts while restoring it and doing tasteful updates to without losing it’s simple beauty with those unique lines. Nostalgia mixed with Atomic age curves and angles. I’m restoring a house so I just can’t take on another car. I’ve already got 4 ‘geddarountewitts’ cars and dozens of old bicycles and motorcycles in that same category. But I wished I started out more logically like a classic panel van that is also it’s own tool and parts shed.

    Like 7
    • John EderMember

      This might come in handy for a British car club…

      (Written by a British car owner). 😉

      Like 7
      • Chinga-Trailer

        But where are the oil leak containment booms??

        Like 6
  2. John

    Very cool but not 12k Kool 😎😎
    Maybe 3 or 4k and a LS SWAP?

    Like 5
    • Rank

      Huh? You want to remove that magnificent L Head? Those were some of the greatest engines of all time, show some respect for your elders wisdom boy!

      Like 20
      • Jimmy Novak


        Like 1
    • RichardMember

      You might want to look up the most recent sale of one of these rare birds, sold for 15k. And not as nice as this one. There is an International Metro for sale now trying to get 109K as an operating food truck. So I guess it depends on how you want to use the van. Id rather see an old school hemi put into this than a LS Swap which is soooo common today.

      Like 8
    • Greg in Texas

      Yellowstone Parks Dept original owner not unique ? You’re not from around these parts called America are ya pal? St Petersburg Russia parchance? Don’t buy it. Let an adult appreciate it.

      Like 1
  3. chrlsful

    these may have replaced the individual hawker (fella walk/horse cart the neighborhoods w/a loud voice for: produce, repair service, etc). Growth of the corps. chains etc w/these.

    Reg. customer brought in one he’d had others make into a food truck. So successful just put 80K$ into commercial kitchen conversion @ home. Gota 2nd just for deliveries (transit connect – ie the small). Yes the food truck is 250, cheb i6, (but OHV) able to access dog house/hood (better than the later ‘passenger van’) a grumman
    We have one to haul race car:

    Alu’s nice, hard to keep up. Our’s is a solid satin blk, the food truck great mural (style/subject appropriate to sales) on white.

    When the vehicle style was new (may B the US PO the whole time?) were stand up drivers.
    I’d like to get that equip (peddles, shift, flip back seat, etc) just to try for awhile. These guys were just over 10 MPH and out at every single house (think milk man) so quite a different style/use. When I’m done w/it I’d like to sell to local farm. It would B agreat 1-man harvest vehicle. 1 guy could drive/load at each row-end all the way dwn the field…

    Like 0
  4. Troy

    I see a potential ice cream and Espresso delivery rig, being its Idaho you can also add fresh cut curly fries

    Like 2
  5. BimmerDudeMember

    I haven’t looked on FB or other chats but I suspect there is an “LS Swap” group that advocates doing an LS engine swap in almost anything offered for sale. Smart car? Swap. Ford Festiva? Swap. Ferrari Lusso? Swap.Viper? Swap.

    Like 5
  6. geomechs geomechsMember

    When I was a kid I used to see a lot of stepvans but they consisted of Chevy, IH Metro, and Divco. Strange how the Dodge version got left out; I think I was 18 or 19 before I saw the Dodge version. And it was a dry cleaner outfit that bought it…

    Like 5
    • Greg in Texas

      I was a toddler around 1963 in Los Angeles. Grandmother still getting milkman delivery a few mornings weekly, a service many east coast transplants to California apparently still wanted. I can’t swear I remember this specific delivery van, but when I saw it, my memory saw this painted white with baby blue secondary color. I don’t know if that’s what they had, but that’s what it delivered to my subliminal memory. Then I read it’s from Yellowstone Parks and that makes it a historical artifact. Pretty interesting. Definitely worth preserving.

      Like 3
      • Neil R Norris

        I remember those days as well … milkman and bread man dropping off the supplies. Milk in glass bottles just tasted better. Love to see this machine prowling the streets again.

        Like 0
  7. Ray M

    It’s kinda cool, maybe a food truck,

    Like 2

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