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Working Van: 1949 Dodge Repair Truck


I was familiar with the Divco small delivery vans, but I don’t remember spotting one of these Dodges before today. This one was owned by the same family from 1949 until this year. It’s been used as a tool truck and a diesel mechanic’s work van. According to the seller, diesel engines were once rebuilt in the back of this truck as a mobile service! I found this truck for sale here on eBay where the current bid is $1,950 but hasn’t met the reserve. The truck is awaiting your arrival in Eureka, Montana, where it’s not running at the moment but in the past had a GMC engine transplanted in that the seller says is a much better engine than the original. A little bit of searching shows that Flathead Valley Diesel Service was run by a gentleman by the name of Roscoe D. Lewis from Kalispell, Montana, and it opened in August of 1956. Assuming that the seller is correct that the Dodge was owned by the same family from new, I’m guessing it was working from that point on, if not before. The back of the little van is still outfitted with the cabinets and drawers from it’s life, and there are even remnants of service orders still clipped above the driver. I’d love to know the whole story, and I hope whomever ends up with this truck respects the life it’s led up until now. What would you do with this truck?


  1. Gary

    Maybe Tesla could buy it and use it as a mobile repair/battery replacement rig.

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  2. Bobsmyuncle

    Annoying seller that is obviously only worried about the money.

    “Looks to be a 270” Here’s an idea find out and get back to us.

    “Had a problem with one of the short rear drivelines” Huh?

    “I’m not sure if the rear doors latch” Yeah that’s a tough one to figure out.

    Here’s an idea, instead of wasting time looking for glamorous images that have little to nothing to do with what you are selling, why not go outside and find out more about what you ARE selling.

    Sorry for venting but this is a cool old truck and deserves to go to a good home not be whored out by some greedy amateur flipper.

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    • JW454

      I have to agree with BMU. Are the pictures of other trucks supposed to inspire me to bid on this one? Well, it doesn’t.

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  3. jim s

    seller has 3 vehicles for sale on ebay. the White Cab Over interest me more. i wish this dodge was closer to stock, but still an interesting find.

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  4. Ed P

    The speedometer goes to 80 mph. That may have been very optimistic with the original flathead six.

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  5. Chebby

    I love the signs on the side that appear to read OOOO, GROSS!

    I don’t think engines were rebuilt in the van though, it says “in-frame rebuilds” which i assume means in place in the truck it belongs to. It would be quite a massive job to lift out a Detroit 6-71, say, and cram it in this little van…..

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    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      @Chebby — good point, I was struggling to get my head around that as well!

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  6. JW

    This would make for a neat project because it is so rare to see one. Chebby I might be mistaken but I think the yellow sign reads 8000 Gross which I would think fully loaded that is it’s maximum weight limit. Correct me if I’m wrong.

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  7. Mike D

    I don’t recall seeing the Dodge van ever, I do remember seeing White work trucks but not as a flatbed I do feel the seller is trying to promote ” rat rodding” his vehicles I agree with Jim S the White truck seems to be more marketable , and the most promise I know nothing about engine swapping for this truck ( as, in a more modern engine) I do think it would look impressive with a fresh paint job, nice interior ( of course, a sound system) and chrome wheels even if I had the $$$, I wouldn’t buy it though

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  8. dj

    What about the Jeep J10 Honcho package in the background?

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    • jim s

      i think the seller has it listed on Ebay also as a levi jeep.

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  9. Blindmarc

    Would make a great motorcycle club support vehicle.

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  10. The Walrus

    It appears that in 1949, van ergonomics had advanced to the point where the driver only needed to be double jointed to adapt to the operational controls. I’m guessing a 1948 version required the driver to be a fully rubberized version of themselves ala Stretch Armstrong. In either case, it appears shifting would be best accomplished with a second person on board.

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      LOL, I know exactly what photo you are referring to, I was also baffled! However it is a play on the eye because there is no seat base in the photo. Look again from another angle and you will see the shifter resides in the expected position.

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      • The Walrus

        The angle from the passenger side shows the shifter stationed at about the halfway mark of the lower portion of the seat. In most vehicles the shifter is well forward of the seat base. With the engine cover where it is, and the position of the instruments/pedals, I’m pretty sure it’s where it has to be, which is over the trans, which is way out of position for what today would be normal.

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    • Ed P

      The company I retired from tested a few trucks of this body style in the early ’70’s. Apparently someone could not get the hang of shifting by feel and had an accident that he blamed on the shifter position. He was probably the guy we have all ran into that backs out of a parking space in slow motion, stops and stares at the AT shifter like ‘drive’ moves around and finally shifts, then turns the steering wheel before driving off.

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      Hmm I suppose from a regular automobile standpoint, I was thinking more along the lines of a commercial rig. Considering where you are sitting in relation to the engine (or more specifically tranny) it is where it should be.

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  11. 1969Deuce

    When I was a kid, the local furnace company had a couple of Whites like that with flat beds and stake bodies. I thought they were extremely cool. Still do.

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  12. pontiactivist

    I remember seeing a mid fifties one of these on here a while back. I like them better. Would flat black chrome or aluminum wheels with a modern 6 of some brand sad some tunes and interior. Old Skool lettering pinstripe flames and use it as rolling advertisements for my garage/hobby shop.

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  13. John H.

    I suspect I’m on the lunatic fringe here, but I envision this as incredibly charming being restored to look as it did when it was servicing trucks. I’d make the exterior and interior cab look original. Yes, I might add I sound system as invisibly as possible. And I would make the back into a useful work area. Perhaps even add a “jump seat” for a passenger. The problem is that this one is going to take sooo much work.

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  14. Mike M.

    During my teen years, one of my best friends’ Dad had a ’49 Dodge Route Van almost identical to this. It was on a longer wheel base, and was freshly painted in a bright, light green that was common on Dodge trucks in the 1950s. He used his to deliver candy in central Maine in the late ’50’s/early ’60’s, and I rode in it many times. I remember that the drivers seat was very far back from the windshield. Yes, I remember the flathead 6, and that it was quite noisy in the cab, and quite slow on the uphill. He would get a good run at any up-coming hills, as the heavy candy load really gave it a workout. I actually have a 1/43rd diecast of it that is dark blue, and someday I hope to paint it and letter it as his was. I remember that it had a red heart on the sides of it that said “Candy is a delicious food, enjoy some every day.” His family dog was also named Candy.

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  15. Mikey MO

    Cool van

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  16. chance

    Hi does anyone know how to contact this seller. This was my grandfathers van in kalispell Mt. I would like to track down were it went. please help me find it again.

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