Live Auctions

The Ratty Milk Van: 1951 Dodge Delivery

Here’s something you don’t see every day! I would call this a COE, but I’m not totally convinced the cab is truly over the engine. This truck is absolutely killer looking- heavily faded logos combined with deflated tires creating that faux “in-the-weeds” look. I have to agree with what the seller recommends: swap the straight-6 for a well-tuned 12 Valve Cummins diesel and a straight pipe coming out of the hood. Find it here on eBay in Joshua, Texas

My favorite part, by far, is the patina. The heavily faded logos combined with what appears to be the remains of white paint makes this van looks absolutely sinister. It would be a crime to destroy the art that has taken Mother Earth nearly 70 years to create! In all seriousness, though, this van would also look fantastic restored to its original glory in glossy white paint with similar logos on the sides.

The interior in unsurprisingly spartan- this was a commercial vehicle. The good news here is that there is plenty of opportunity for custom seats. You could go for cushy comfort with some big truck seats, a set of Recaros for some safety (you are right up front, though), or something in-between. The remainder of the metal could be modified for whatever you’d like or left as it is. Really, the choices of what you could do with this van endless. If you look closely, you can see the back quarter of the straight-6.

The owner doesn’t say much about the condition of the engine. It obviously doesn’t run, but nothing is mentioned about whether the 6 is free-turning. They do say that everything is there, including the fully-independent rear suspension and the critical cab-over steering assembly. Upon closer inspection, it would appear as though the van may have been blue and heavily faded over the years. With an opening bid of $500 and no reserve, this van is really a blank canvas. How far would you go with this crusty milk-rod?


  1. JW

    I think you could find better in a old school junkyard.

  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    Definitely in need of some major rebuilding. That isn’t patina; it’s rust, no more, no less, and it needs to be wiped OUT!!! A lot of possibilities to what could be done after the rebuild. I’ll admit that it’s pretty limited if you wanted to do a full restoration. You could go up to a 265 flathead six (industrial) that’s good for around 140 hp and it would fit in the same hole. A V8 would be a major shoehorn job, even if you used a more modern 318. A polyhead would be a real challenge. It wouldn’t be much of a driver unless you revamped the seat(s). I’d try to stick with what it came with and tweak it to be used for a great bike hauler or a classy parts gopher truck.

  3. G.P. Member

    rust is rust and junk is junk. Recycle please

  4. boxdin

    Independent rear suspension?

    • Ed P

      That sure looks like an I beam rear axel with leaf springs to me. The differential looks to be non floating and attached to the frame with half shaft drive shafts.

  5. Derek F

    Cool looking truck, though it seems more like a template for a 1951 Dodge than an actual 1951 Dodge.

  6. KO

    Dear Lord. Tetanus shot mandatory.

  7. Chebby

    It’s a decorative piece at this point, but sure looks cool.

  8. Luki

    My dad had one of these when I was growing up.
    So I heard anyway. Never met the man.

  9. Leon

    Are the headlights black ??

  10. Woodie Man

    So its dragged out from a field and put up for sale. Really?

  11. rando

    So after you had it media blasted to remove all the rust, which pocket would you put the remains in? Or if it could be fixed, please don’t put a hot rod diesel in it – those things are horrible to be around in traffic – like an uncorked harley for annoying. Yes I’m getting older. Now get off my lawn!

  12. Howard A Member

    Make a dandy tool shed,,,,again.

  13. johnj

    Neet to look at but Swiss Cheese. De dion rear suspension if I remember correctly. I probably spelled it wrong but too lazy to look it up rite now so please don’t crucify me.

  14. Richard Member

    It will be a lot of work, sheet metal expert must apply, I have restored on, 1950 back to its glory so to speak.

    • Randy V from the Northern/Lower

      Would be a Great to put a power ramp on the back to run a power wheelchair up into it. Put a transfer board to the Driver seat and Look Out the Old Tin Knocker is out and about again !!! If you ever think of some swamping get in touch,,, thanks (-: !!

  15. Duane Member

    Dodge called these trucks, “Route Van”s”

  16. CaCarDude

    Definitely some cool yard art for the Halloween season, I say let it rust away in peace.

  17. Richard Member

    Duane, yes they did, an emblem to boot too!

  18. Neal

    I’ve never seen one of these before, but I have had my eyes on old International Metro’s for a few years. I like the lines.


    I agree with G,P. Rust is rust and junk is junk. I get so tired of seeing that word, PATINA in barn finds commentary. Its just another word for rat rod material or needs refinshing.

  20. Guggie 13

    saw what a guy did with a Divco , and this is about the same thing , lots of work and $$$$ but kool ride !! U decide !!

  21. Richard Member

    Here is a pic of the rear suspension and diff.

    • Jim

      Nice detailing of the chassis and rear. Very cool rear bumper, looks like an industrial link-belt system chain. Haven’t seen any of that in years. Any chance of a close-up?

  22. Richard Member

    Another shot of my Route Van.

  23. Richard Member

    Rear bumper, old cat track chain

  24. Richard Member

    Another shot of bumper and back end of van.

  25. Randy V from the Northern/Lower

    Thank You Richard
    For putting some more pictures on here, the rear bumper is great and l bet it stops them from pulling up to close to you. With all these extra pictures l’ll take it that there is No Way of wanting to part with it. I only could day dream to what that would be like to have a wheelchair ramp to power out the back of it. Thanks Again

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