The 1954 Divco Model 15 bakery truck keeping a grandfather’s memory alive

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Courtesy Dr. Philip Kenter

My wife and I bought this 1954 Divco Model 15 Stand/Sit drive delivery truck in 1997. My grandfather drove a delivery truck like this for many years when he worked for Dugan Brothers Bakery in New York.

Divco stands for Detroit Industrial Vehicle Company, which was known for its house-to-house delivery trucks. The company was founded in 1926, and the snub-nose models began to appear in 1939. They remained largely unchanged until production ceased in 1986.

My truck had several owners during its lifetime—and just about as many paint jobs. In fact, the multiple coats of paint are probably what kept it from completely rusting away. To honor my grandfather, we decided to restore it as a Dugan’s Bakery truck. The work took about two years, and finding parts and researching everything to keep it original was a huge challenge.

Over the years, we’ve taken it to many parades and shows and have met several men who worked for Dugan’s Bakery. Some of them even knew my grandfather. Through them, I learned some great stories about him I’d never known. During World War II, for example, while he worked for Dugan’s, he was in the Army National Guard and was an air-raid warden. During that time, there was little rubber for tires, so his Divco was outfitted with wooden wheels.

We belong to the American Truck Historical Society and the Divco Club of America. All the people we’ve met through our ownership of this truck have been amazing, and we’ve made many long-lasting friendships with other Divco owners. I love driving my Divco and I love seeing the joy it creates for so many people who happen to encounter such a unique truck from days gone by.

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