1926 Divco Truck Model A
“Oldest Divco truck known to be in existence”
Two photos of the 1926 Model A Divco as it looked in October 2012
The Divco Company started their truck business in 1926 with electric/battery and then switched to gas-powered special designed trucks. These trucks were designed to ease the delivery of milk and bread products on “house to house” delivery of city routes. This was in the Era when the horse & wagons were mainly used to delivery products to the houses but all kinds of trucks were being brought into this type of home service. Most of these trucks were existing models that were being converted into home delivery service. Divco decided to build a special designed truck from scratch just to handle this kind of work load.
They first built electric powered trucks and then switched to gasoline when the electric powered trucks proved unsuitable for the task. Twenty-five Divco Model A trucks were built as an experiment to see how good of a job they would do to replace the horse and wagons, make the job easier for the driver and be more economical for the company. These twenty-five trucks were given to a local dairy known as The Detroit Creamery. They used these trucks for a couple of months and then gave feed back to the Divco Company what they thought about the trucks. With the suggestions that Divco received from the Detroit Creamery, changes were made to these trucks and future models. From what we are able to tell, the experimental trucks were known as Model A trucks. The revised trucks and the trucks produced in 1927 were known as Model B Divco trucks. This truck is said to be the tenth truck of the first twenty-five Divcos that were produced in 1926.
The story of this truck as it has been passed down to me is the following:
After the truck was brought back from the Detroit Creamery, some modifications were made to it and it was sold to a dairy in Ontario, Canada. It was in use until 1953 and ended up in the storage yard of the Divco Factory in Detroit with a 1953 Ontario license tag on it. (See picture below as it sat in the Storage Yard about 1960. That license tag is still on the truck).
After sitting there for a couple years it was bought by a Massachusetts Divco Dealer who wanted to fix it up and use as an advertisement for selling new Divco Trucks. He did some work on it off and on over the years but it never really was restored. While in his possession, there was a fire in the building the truck was stored in. Parts of the wooden body were destroyed in that fire. Around 1976 a Dairyman from New Hampshire, Jim Austin, bought the truck with the idea of saving and restoring the truck.
Jim stored the truck for years and then in the early 1990’s he started to restore the truck back to its original condition. He finished the truck around 1996. He showed it around the area where he did business and also took it to some truck shows. About 2003 he sold the truck to Carl Abel, a dairyman from Ohio and a collector of all kinds of dairy and farm equipment. Carl kept the truck in his museum and also took it to some truck shows. In September 2012 Carl had sale of his dairy and farm museum collection which included his trucks. I was at the Sale and bought the Model A Divco in effort to preserve it for future generations to see. I will be showing it at Car and Truck Shows as long as I can. When I no longer can travel around to shows, the truck will be given to the NATMUS Museum in Auburn, IN for people to see for many generations to come.
I have included some pictures and articles about the truck for you to enjoy.