Without a doubt, these have got to be a couple of the most unusual CCs at a car show that I’ve ever encountered.
According to information gleaned on Wikipedia, this vehicle is a Divco Twin delivery van, although it’s obviously no longer stock at this point. These were built during the time that twin Coach, which designed this van, acquired Divco.
A unique design feature of these trucks when new was the ability to drive it either sitting or standing, I imagine to expedite multiple deliveries in the same neighborhood. I don’t think that’s the case for this particular Divco any more. Can you imagine such a feature on any mass-produced vehicle built today, in today’s legal and regulatory climate? Yeah, me neither.
The Continental flathead four-cylinder engine that originally resided here has been replaced with the ubiquitous small-block Chevy V8 ( what else? ).
Amidst the go-fast seriousness are tons of period-correct memorabilia, including a retro-styled wooden radio / phonograph, vintage Coca-Cola beverage cooler, and hula girl bobble-dolls on the dash.
The owner paying tribute to this van’s workaday roots, while also displaying a sense of humor.
Whether this is a genuine former Helms truck I have no idea, but the famous Helms logo does fit in with the general theme.
The Halibrand wheels and whitewall cheater slicks are a nice, period-correct hot rod touch.
These pictures were taken in 2015. This would be the first and last time that I would encounter this vehicle at Bob’s, but not the last time I would see it. Just last summer I saw this same truck, sitting in a specialty vintage car dealership located on the former site of Don Kott Ford in the city of Carson, Ca. The Halibrands were replaced with red steelies and dog dish hubcaps, but it appeared otherwise unchanged. Its bread hauling days are over, but it must deliver plenty of smiles to its new owner, as well as any gearhead who encounters it.
Another odd CC on the same night was this prewar Citroen sedan, which has been turned into a rolling billboard and delivery vehicle for some fancy fondue restaurant.
I don’t know anything about these. Any Citroen experts who can fill us in? (It appears to be a Traction Avant 11. Much more here. ED).
The absence of obvious aftermarket gauges or controls makes me wonder if these Citroen still sports its original drive train.
Beautiful car, but I can’t help but wonder how that 75 year-old European drive train holds up in San Fernando Valley heat…
That Divco is interesting, and a truck I know almost nothing about. The stand-or-sit driving position was not completely unique as the Studebaker ZIP Van used that configuration as well – and coupled with right hand drive, suitable for postal delivery.
This nice Citroen Traction Avant (in the long Familiale version) is not a prewar model, but a post-1951 one. They can be recognized easily from the different boot, not shown here.
In the photos here, giveaways are the straight front bumper (older Tractions had a “wave” in the middle of the bumper) and the location of the wipers (older Tractions had them at the top of the windshield, not at the bottom).
Prewar TAs have vent doors in the bonnet sides post war have pressed louvers.
Yes, it’s a post-war LWB Traction Avant, so built sometime between 1954 and 1957. Looks completely stock to me, though it definitely had cosmetic work done. Nice paint job, for one.
Another local boy I see =8-) .
I met the guy who made this rig when he was doing local car shows, sorry to hear it’s been sold .
The Traction Avant doesn’t seem to mind the Desert heat whatso ever .
I know folks who have them, every one bone stock and mostly unrestored ~ French cars are -different- once you accept that they’re pretty darn good ! .
I will always remember the first Traction I saw in the flesh, just because it was SO much the cartoon version. I was in a San Francisco parking garage in the late Sixties, when a black Citroen came roaring in, zipped handily into a parking space, and out hopped a rotund little guy in a striped long-sleeve T-shirt and beret! As this was the period in my life during which I was dropping any psychedelic I could get my hands on, of course I stayed around for a while waiting for either the credits or the rest of the movie …
The Petersen Museum had until its redesign a tableau starring a completely original Helms Bakery Divco truck that one could, with a docent’s supervision, get into and check out the standup driving position. For a guy delivering anything, frequently to several homes on the same block, that setup had to be both a timesaver and back-saver.
Thanks for the info you guys ( and Paul for posting the link ) !
That convertible- oh my God. I. WANT. IT. SO. BADLY!
Having seen pics of stock Helms Divcos, they’re astoundingly overbuilt for carrying the volume of baked goods they could hold. Heck, you could probably fill it with lead ingots and those huge truck tires on cast spoke wheels wouldn’t sweat.
From the East Coast, Helms is a name I don’t know.
But I have to give a thumbs up to the switcheroo of the slogan, once I looked up the original: “Daily at Your Door”.
Interesting van, here is another hot-rodded van, the Morris J van was also often used by bakers.
I’d imagine the Citroen would cope with the heat, since it was built during the time the French had African colonies where the cars would be used.
I think I’ve seen more Citroen TA’s on the road in northern California, than Divco’s.
Friend sent me this pic last Sunday, of a camperised Divco, seen on San Juan islands ferry.