Lot Number

1947 Divco "Mouldy J. Mildew" Delivery Truck

Sold For $16,500

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Sotheby's - ARIZONA 19 - 20 JANUARY 2017

Chassis No.
  • Ideal rolling billboard to advertise a local company or business
  • Iconic Twin Coach design, dating to the early 1930s
  • An older restoration that retains its original bakery delivery truck interior

The Detroit Industrial Vehicles Company (DIVCO) was a builder of delivery trucks from 1926 to 1986. The company owes its existence to George Bacon, the chief engineer of the Detroit Electric Vehicle Company. In 1922, Bacon designed what was thought to be a revolutionary milk delivery truck at the time; it was able to be driven from four positions—front, rear, or from either running board. Unfortunately, its battery power was no match for wintery weather, heavy loads, or long working days due to the limited range of electric power.

Bacon’s employer was not keen on making a gasoline-powered vehicle, so he and a group of investors formed Divco to produce the vehicle he designed. Following the testing of a prototype in 1924 and a further 25 more prototypes a year later with the Detroit Creamery, production began in 1926. Divco quickly became known for its patented “Stand and Drive” mechanism, which enabled the operator to drive the vehicle while standing by using steering column-mounted brake and throttle controls.

In 1937, Divco bought the Twin Coach Truck Company, a Kent, Ohio, manufacturer of trucks and buses. Under the direction of the Fageol family, vehicles were known as the Divco-Twin until the Twin Coach name was dropped in 1944. Henceforth, the company was known simply as the Divco Corporation. The Divco truck that most are familiar with is the Model U, introduced in 1937. This was an all-new design with Art Deco details. It featured an all-steel van body with snub-nosed hood that remained virtually unchanged through the end of production in 1986.

This vehicle, a Twin Coach design, comes from a large Wisconsin collection. According to a 2004 appraisal, it originally served as a commercial bakery truck in California. The interior remains intact and in largely original condition. Though an older restoration, great attention was paid to detail at the time it was completed while leaving the interior as per original. The consignor notes that mechanically, this delightful truck runs well and has been recently examined, at which time the coil was replaced. It is finished in a subtle maroon and red exterior and would serve a local business nicely as a unique moving billboard advertisement. Other than local parades, it has not been shown and with its whimsical “Mouldy J. Mildew” livery, it will no doubt attract attention and be a popular site wherever it appears.

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