Rare Hauler: 1950 Dodge Route Van

Detroit Industrial Vehicle Company, which most of us know as Divco, seems to be the route van that gets most of the press lately. Liking things on the unusual side, I prefer this 1950 Dodge Route Van. The seller has this unusual vehicle posted here on eBay in Hot Springs, South Dakota and there is an opening bid price listed of $4,899 and there are no bids yet. Thanks to Larry D. for sending in this tip!

I’m not sure what happened to the lower half of the grille, or cowl, but that’s super unfortunate to see it missing. Maybe it’s an opportunity for the next owner to do some nice custom work there as this van will almost certainly not be nut-and-bolt restored to original spec, but modified in some way. The Dodge Route Van debuted for the 1948 model year and they were made until 1954.

That’s an interesting rear bumper accessory. Dodge made a heavy-duty EU-series Route Van in 117-inch and 142-inch wheelbase sizes and a lighter-duty model, the DU-series, with 102-inch and 117-inch wheelbases. We don’t know for sure which one this example is but I’m guessing that at the very least it’s a 117-inch wheelbase model. The “shorty” vans will almost always be the most popular and valuable, as with shortbed pickups.

There is mucho work to do inside as you can see, but that’s what most folks would call a blank slate and consider it a good thing to be able to configure it the way they want to. The seller wanted to make a taco truck out of this one but it ended up being too much work with them not having enough experience, so that’s why it’s for sale. I’ve mentioned before that I had a Chevrolet P-10 step van a few decades ago and it was such a fun vehicle, but not the safest thing. It’s my own fault, I used to drive with the driver’s door slid open and with only a lap belt and horrible non-power brakes, it wouldn’t have taken much to get into real trouble. I’d love to have it back again no matter how unsafe it may have been.

I’m not sure what happened with the missing grille but my Dodge bible – The Dodge Story by Thomas A. McPherson – lists the engine as being a Dodge 230 cubic-inch flathead inline-six. Oddly enough, the FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) website lists the 1951 Route Van as having a “250 cubic-inch V-6 L-head engine”. Jeff wrote about a similar Route Van here on Barn Finds a few years ago and that one was also listed as having a flathead V6. It would be nice to see what’s behind that radiator. In any case, this looks like an interesting project. Any thoughts on this one?


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  1. Howard A Member

    “Scotty’s Oddities” pickup van!! Why not? I’ll tell you why, Scotty’s adventures takes him all over creation, usually over 35 mph, so this wouldn’t cut it. After the war, the BIG one, Dubja Dubja 2, der, small package delivery was just gaining steam. Home and office delivery was the next big thing, and every manufacturer made panel delivery vans. Some, like the mentioned DIVCO, that’s all they made. These were made for multi stop, city deliveries, and needs radical redoing for any kind of road travel. With the recent resurgence in vintage campers, be a no-brainer here. Plop this body on a RAM dually chassis, be a cool unit, for sure.

    Like 2
  2. TBAU Member

    In Australia, that model name means something completely different.

    Like 1
    • Howard A Member

      Go on,,,what’s an Australian route van?

      Like 4
  3. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Now this would be my kind of project if I hadn’t recently purchased a little Chevy Luv pickup that will need a lot of work. By the way, if anyone knows where I can get a good hood 72-80 Luv let me know. Anyway like it was said it’s a blank canvas.so for me it would be strait forward rust repair drivetrain management and probably some better brakes. And that seat would have to go.

    Like 2
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

      There is a LUV pickup sitting in the weeds of a neighbor’s farm. Not sure what condition the hood is in, most of the truck has been vandalized and pounded pretty hard. it is accessible from my horse pasture and right up against my fence. There is one being auctioned off a few miles from me tomorrow in similar condition. I’ll be doing an advance viewing of the 30 vehicles to be sold later today. David in TN

  4. Scott L.

    What’s the purpose of the horizontal rails above the rear wheels?

    Like 1
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

      If you’ve ever worked a loading dock before, you’d know! Those are “locaters” to prevent unknowing drivers from backing into stuff or gouging the soft side panels of the truck. I wonder if that thing on the back bumper is a piano or organ? I could see this being flipped open and a a little combo popping out for impromptu performances. Or, Aerosmith! LOL

  5. John Member

    The rails are to keep the driver from taking out the fenders when sideswiping a tree.
    Divco was the best, I re stored a 67 Divco which was the milk truck version. 300 Ford 6, I put a C-6 in it after having a problem W/transmission which was an option back in the day. Wish I had it, a great truck
    When I was 12-13 helped a milkman w/huge route on holidays and Saturdays, had a small Divco loaded to the ceiling. He’d put it in creeper, start it down the middle of a street and we work both sides of the street.
    All Divco’s were “step n’ drive” usually worked standing. where all the rest were sitting only, think Divco had a patent on it. Again a great truck put out of business bysupermarkets

    Like 3
    • Scott L.

      Lol hadn’t thought of trees being in the way.

      Like 1
  6. Bill McCoskey

    Looks like the original gas tank next to the radiator, sans gas cap, failed, and a larger replacement gas tank was fitted onto an extended set of rear bumper brackets.

    These had a fairly small fuel tank up front instead of under the rear where the spare tire lives. I can see a need for the larger tank in more rural routes with miles instead of city blocks between customers.

    Like 2
  7. Wayne from Oz

    What a great place for a gas tank, in a nose to tail collision. Not. I don’t believe Dodge ever made a V6 flathead. This V6 information I believe is from the same source that said the wheel spats were an optional extra on step down Hudson’s a few weeks ago, which is also false.

    Like 1
  8. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this Route Van auction ended without any bids.

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