Divco Truck History

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    Early Versions

    • The gasoline-powered forward-control delivery truck was the brainchild of George Bacon, a Wayne County, Michigan, engineer who designed trucks for the Detroit Electric Vehicle Company. The company's vehicles were all electric, but the harsh Michigan winters wreaked havoc on battery power when the trucks operated under heavy loads. Bacon and a group of investors formed the Detroit Industrial Vehicle Company, which went by the acronym of Divco, to produce gasoline-powered trucks. The prototype in 1924 employed a LeRoi gasoline engine. A year later, Divco shipped 25 trucks to the Detroit Creamery. In 1926, the trucks featured a four-cylinder Continental engine matched with a four-speed transmission.

    The 1930s

    • Divco designed its trucks as multi-stop vehicles with a heavy-duty brake system and electrical system, and extra large clutch. As a forward-control vehicle, the driver was forward of the front axle. He could also control the truck by standing on the running board. A common version was the Model G, which featured the stubby hood with open-side bodies. The operator could sit behind the wheel or stand in the cab area or on the running board while using a tiller to drive. The Model H featured a drop frame and an aisle through the center of the body. This became a standard feature on all Divcos. In 1932, the financially ailing Divco merged with Continental Motors to become Continental-Divco Corporation. Four years later, a healthier Divco negotiated a separation from Continental and merged with Twin Coach Company of Ohio, a supplier of Helms Bakery trucks in the Los Angeles area, among other businesses.

    Postwar Era

    • Like all vehicle makers, Divco ceased production of civilian trucks during World War II. When it returned to production in 1945, it manufactured trucks based on prewar designs. It produced the prewar-styled Divco-Twin Model "U" with folding doors and the four-cylinder Continental engine. The 1946 Divcos featured a 100.75-inch wheelbase with a gross vehicle weight rating of up to 12,000 lbs. and a six-cylinder Continental engine option. A Hercules six-cylinder was standard equipment in the 1950s, and then a standard six-cylinder Nash engine in the 1960s. Divco finally offered refrigerated vans as a regular option in 1954.

    Merger

    • By 1956, Divco owned 75 percent of the nation's dairy trucks. Divco merged with Wayne Works, which held 25 percent of the country's school bus vehicles. The merger was to centralize the operations of both companies to save money while maintaining a solid hold on their respective markets. In 1961, Divco-Wayne produced wholesale delivery trucks with bodies up to 18 feet long and equipped with a rear lift. Boise-Cascade, Inc. acquired Divco-Wayne in 1968. Two models featured 115- and 127-inch wheelbases with a 10,000-lb. payload. Divco production ended in 1986.

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