Vintage Milk Delivery Truck Update
This post is from a couple of years ago. Recently the owner of the truck got in touch with me and was kind enough to supply his story as well as photos of his restoration/preservation work.
Mark G. writes:
Here is the story of the milk truck.
I bought it last summer from a guy in Wasaga Beach. He bought it from somebody else who removed the original drive-train, interior and a lot of other parts, so by the time I got the truck a good portion of it was missing.
I am an architect by trade (Hence the appreciation for your website and it’s historic and architectural content) but foremost I’m a custom motorcycle and hot-rod builder. I was looking for a truck for hauling motorcycles and parts but I wanted something totally different than what everyone else was using, so when I came across this milk truck I fell in love with it right away. The guy whom I bought it from was planning of painting his company logo on it so I was glad I was able to buy this truck before the original patina was going to be painted over and destroyed.
I brought the milk truck home and restored the original paint by hand in the exact way it was painted by the original sign maker. His hand signature still visible and legible saying “Signs by Maquis”.
After restoring the signs, finding a grille, head lights and other missing parts I ran into space and storage issues with this truck so, with a heavy heart, I decided to put the truck up for sale. The truck was too tall to fit into my shop and I knew I was going to be too busy for the next year or so to take on such a massive project on top of several existing projects already waiting to be finished.
The pictures of my truck you posted on your website were from my Kijiji ad from that time.
Several interested individuals responded to my ad. To my dismay most of them were interested in using the truck as a form of advertisement for their companies and their choices of restoration techniques were going to be very destructive to the historic value of the truck so this became very concerning to me. I guess I changed my mind about selling the truck when a couple of representatives of the Steamwhistle Brewing Company came to my house and expressed interest in buying the truck and turning it into one of their promotional vehicles, which they would add to their impressive collection of rare vintage trucks. I have no problem with the way Steamwhistle Brewing Company restores their vehicles. In fact, I love their fleet of old trucks but I did not want to be responsible for sentencing MY milk truck to be irreversibly altered and stripped of it’s historical importance by selling it to them.
After that experience I realized that the sale of my truck was turning more into something more of an adoption process than a sale. I was starting to loose hope for finding a responsible buyer who would respect the trucks past and local historic importance, so I decided not to sell it.
The last call I got about the truck before I pulled my ad was from a man who lives in Meaford, Ontario. He called me, and with a very apologetic voice, told me that he was not interested in buying the truck but rather just to tell me that he remembers this very milk truck delivering milk to his door step as a child, and him watching the milk man driving this truck doing so every day. He said that he totally forgot about the milk truck over the years but when he saw it for sale on Kijiji he experienced an overwhelming flood of memories from his childhood so he felt compelled to call me and tell me about it. I had no idea who this man was but his story was very touching and further confirmed my decision to restore the truck myself. Restore it the way it should be restored and perhaps preserved for future generations to enjoy.
I don’t want to get too romantic about this story but I did this restoration for my own satisfaction but also partially for that guy. Whoever he is.
After deciding not to sell the truck I put a couple of my motorcycle project on hold, I rented space in a shop big enough to house the truck and I spent the next ten months locating period correct parts and building the frame and drive-train for this truck, sparing no expense or effort.
The truck is still not totally finished but I do drive it already. Mostly to car shows and cruise nights. When it’s all finished it will probably haul my motorcycles to the Bike Week in Daytona Beach next spring and double as a camper so I have somewhere to sleep while travelling around.
I hope you got the pictures I sent you of the restoration process. I have many more pictures if you’re interested. Feel free to post them on your website as well as my story if you wish.
I find your website very interesting. I spent hours browsing through the historic pictures and I’m looking forward to seeing more. By now I’m sure you can tell that I’m pretty fascinated by history, and especially local history.
Thanks for your interest in my truck and my story.
A similar van has been spotted in the east end by Max M.