Lot Number
201
language

1934 Divco Helms Bakery Delivery Truck

Sold For $74,250

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Sotheby's - MONTEREY 20 AUGUST 2011


Continental L-head inline four-cylinder engine, Warner four-speed manual transmission, I-beam front axle and live rear axle, front and rear leaf-spring suspension, and hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 95"

- A delightful example of one of America’s most recognizable delivery vehicles

- Formerly operated by Helms Bakery, a Southern California fixture

- Distinctive Helms pie-tin whistle

- Time to make the donuts!

Helms Bakeries were, and are, an institution in Southern California. On July 20, 1969, before the astronauts landed on the moon, they first paused to eat a sandwich prepared with bread from Helms Bakeries. It was one small sandwich for man, one giant leap into the history books! Paul Helms founded the company in 1931 and had success in sending his sales people out on selected routes offering fresh baked bread, cookies, pies, cakes and other sweets on a regular basis. The company slogan, "Daily at Your Door," prompted him to secure a fleet of specially equipped trucks from the Faegeol-Twin Coach Corporation in Ohio. Only 148 of these specialized delivery vans were built.

Powered by a dependable Hercules in-line four, they managed to keep up with city traffic. Most of the company routes were within 15 miles of the home base in Culver City. Nearly everyone who grew up in the Los Angeles area between the 1930s and 1960s can remember the unique "tweet-tweet" of the Helms truck, created from custom built whistles crafted in their own shops using a pair of pie tins connected with a bellows.

When the Helms company closed its doors in 1969, there were still a number of the original company owned 1930s-era Twin Coach delivery vans in existence, though many had been given later model Ford engines. Only a few were left in the original configuration with Hercules engines. These vans were sold off, going to collectors, a few to a couple of museums and a number of them to scrap yards. This is one of those rare survivors and is finished in the authorized light yellow and black color scheme dictated by Paul Helms. It has been given a complete restoration and today is reported to be a strong running example. From its shop-built wooden trays to its utilitarian green interior finish, this is undoubtedly one of the most accurate restorations ever done on a Helms truck. It is reported that the engine starts up quite easily and shifts into gear without any problems, but down-shifting can be a little tricky as there are no synchros in this transmission. All the electrical systems are reported to be operational, and most importantly, the pie-tin whistle still blows properly. This is the first Helms Twin Coach RM has had the pleasure of offering. A surviving example is special in itself, but what could be more fun than reliving childhood memories of experiencing your very first giant bear-claw from the back of a Helms truck?



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