Lot 140

Miami 2024

1933 Twin Coach "Helms Bakery" Delivery Truck


$98,000 USD | Sold

United States | Coral Gables, Florida



Identification No.
US Title
  • An icon of post-war living, “Daily at Your Door”
  • Magnificently restored to a very high standard; one of the finest available
  • Well-maintained mechanically, in good running and driving order
  • Complete with doughnuts!

The Helms Bakery was established in Culver City, California, in 1931. Helms, much like other major city bakeries of the period, did not sell its products in stores; rather, the company’s bread and sweets were delivered directly from bakery to customer aboard delivery trucks. The first Helms trucks were a fleet of 148 flat-nosed vans, specially built for the firm by Twin Coach of Kent, Ohio, and complete with interior wooden cabinetry designed to hold the bakery’s full line of fresh-baked goods. Customers would signal the “Helmsman” to stop by placing a card with a prominent H in their home’s front window, and then walk outside to make their selections. Most famous was Helms’s bread, “Choice of Olympic Champions,” the company having provided the carbohydrates for the 1932 Summer Olympics.

While the famous bakery was shuttered in 1969, the Helms trucks remain icons of Southern California life in a simpler time, and their charming design has won the survivors many fans far outside the bakery’s original delivery area. Indeed, even in Miami, the design looks right at home among the city’s many spectacular examples of Art Deco and Streamline Moderne Architecture.

The Helms Twin Coach offered here is one of the finest extant from this bygone era. Fully restored in 2008 in its original pale yellow and blue livery with period-correct graphics, it has been meticulously maintained and is still in show-worthy condition, with a fit and finish likely far above its original working condition! Significantly, it retains the correct Hercules four-cylinder engine, reportedly rebuilt in 2009 and fitted with a 12-volt electric fuel pump and Delco alternator for dependable operation, delivering power through a three-speed Brown & Lipe manual transmission. Its interior has been fully restored to a beautiful standard, with the wooden cabinets in pristine order and containing a lode of doughnuts—plastic, alas, although a new owner is welcome to try out their own recipe, or Cuban pastelitos for that matter!

A superb example of its kind, this Twin Coach would be a wonderful piece of history for the nostalgically minded enthusiast. Well-maintained mechanically and presented in fine driving order, it is sure to deliver the most smiles to all it encounters upon its rounds—be it down the street or across a show field.