Divco

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Divco Twin 1938 in Napa, California

Divco was a brand name of delivery trucks built and marketed in the United States. Divco is an acronym which stands for Detroit Industrial Vehicles COmpany. Divco became known for its multi-stop delivery trucks, particularly in use as home delivery vehicles by dairy producers. From 1926 until 1986, Divco produced trucks of various sizes and job descriptions.[1]

History[edit]

The chief engineer of the Detroit Electric Vehicle Company, George Bacon, suggested using a gasoline engine for their line of delivery vehicles to overcome limits on their range and performance in cold weather.[2] Because his bosses refused, Bacon left the company and with a group of investors, established the Detroit Industrial Vehicle Company in 1926.[2]

The first Divco "Model A" were boxy, practical vehicles that "looked like self-propelled concession stands" with its "controls laid out in such a way that the driver could operate it from either inside the cab or while hanging on either running board."[2] High organizational costs meant the company went through a reorganization in 1927.[2] In 1928, a larger, more conventional "Model G" was introduced that evolved into the "Model S" that was manufactured into the 1930s.[2] During the Great Depression the company was bought out by Continental Motors Company, which supplied of most of the engines installed in Divco trucks, and then spun off from Continental in 1936 to be acquired by Twin Coach, thus becoming "Divco-Twin."[2]

A new design was introduced in 1937 featuring a welded all-steel van body and a snub-nosed hood, a model that was manufactured with almost no changes up to the end of the line in 1986.[3] Along with the new "Model U", the company built a new production facility on the outskirts of Detroit.[4]

A feature of most Divco trucks were their controls that were designed for driving while standing and included the throttle and brake mounted on the steering column.[1] The early models were not refrigerated, thus perishable loads such as milk crates were loaded and then covered with ice making the trucks prone to rust from the inside out.[1] The company focused its marketing on fleet buyers promoting their trucks as "a bigger value when you buy, produces more profit in your delivery operation, is worth more when you trade."[5]

In 1957, Divco merged with the Wayne Works based in Richmond, Indiana to form Divco-Wayne. During the Divco-Wayne era, some Divco trucks were modified with seats and windows from the Wayne Works to produce a Divco Dividend Bus. But very few of these units were built between 1959 and 1961. The truck manufacturing of Divco-Wayne continued to be through the Divco portion. Divco was spun off from the company in 1968, and production ended in 1986. (Wayne became an Indian Head company, and continued manufacturing buses until bankruptcy and liquidation in 1992).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Caldwell, Dave (November 26, 2006). "Delivery Trucks That Do a Stand-Up Act". The New York Times. Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Divco "Snub Nose" Milk Trucks". Car Lust Blog. April 9, 2014. Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  3. ^ "A Divco History". Divco Club of America. Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Divco". Michigan History Magazine 82: 6–13. 1998. Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Route-designed Divco". The Milk Dealer 50: 51, 57. 1961. Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  • "DIVCO". Coachbuilt.com. 2014. 
  • "Divco Trucks". Automobile Quarterly 37 (4). 1998. 
  • Ebert, Robert R.; Rienzo, John S. (1997). DIVCO: A History of the Truck and Company. Antique Power. ISBN 9780966075113. 

External links[edit]