Daredevil Brewing Co | The Restoration of our 1964 Divco Tap Truck

June 6, 2015

We posted photos of our newly restored 1964 Divo truck the other day and we promised the before photos so here they are along with the back story on the restoration. She is a beauty now but like a lot of swans she started out more an ugly duckling.


About a 18 months ago we decided we needed a tap truck. Like most production breweries we looked at what new trucks costs and what we could do with one. Given we do not do any self distribution our needs were mostly for supporting events and also our future taproom when we hosted large events and wanted to drop in an outside service station. Sure we could just buy a new truck with very little hassle but we thought it would be a lot more fun to find something with a bit more character that we could make our own.

The more we thought about it the more we wanted to find an older truck that we could restore so we approached Vintage Step Vans in Chicago to work with us to find and restore a truck. Turns out restoring a truck can be as expensive or even more expensive then buying a brand new truck depending on how you want to customize the truck. Our wish list including finding a step van that had an intact cold box and if possible be a larger model of Metros or Divcos or similar step vans.


Searching for a Vintage Step Van

We were told finding a van with a cold box was not going to be very easy but that it was possible and that we should be ready to buy it as-is whenever one showed up because trucks do not last long on the market if they are in decent shape. Over the first few months of the search we had a couple decent trucks hit the market but they sold before we could even get photos to consider making an offer.

Then as luck would have it this 1964 Divco Model 206 shown below hit the market at the beginning of February 2014. The truck was located in Ohio and was owned by a former employee of Divco and Divco-Wayne Corporation who had it and a couple other trucks that he had meant to fix up but had not ever gotten around to those projects. This truck was not in good shape and therefore it was not getting any bidders. After we verified it had a completely intact cold box we decided to make an offer and ended up purchasing the truck.

Figure: Daredevil Brewing Co Tap Truck | 1964 Model 206 Divco before restoration it had been a Pabst Blue Ribbon delivery & tap truck.



History of our 1964 Divco

Divco step vans were produced from 1926 to 1986. Divco is an acronym which stands for Detroit Industrial Vehicles COmpany. Founded in 1926, Divco was well known for its pioneering delivery vehicles, especially the home delivery milk trucks. Only the VW Beetle stayed in production with the same basic model for a longer period of time.

Our 1964 Divco Model 206 was manufactured in Richmond, Indiana and was used as a Pabst Blue Ribbon delivery and tap truck. (We are uncertain of the exact ownership history as the truck has passed through several owners since it was last used).

Figure: Collection of before photos of our Daredevil Brewing Co Tap Truck | 1964 Model 206 Divco


A Second Life & Higher Calling for our Divco

There were three main phases for the restoration project of our truck. First we had to have a lot of infrastructure work done so the truck would be safe to operate. This included work on everything from the engine (replaced with a new Ford 240 6-cylinder) to brakes, shocks, and wheels. Next up we had to source a lot of parts that were missing on our Divco. With some lucky bidding on eBay these parts were sourced. In parallel there was a lot of bodywork needed on the truck. The guys that did this work really were miracle workers. The only thing that really needed no work was the cold box with the exception of filling in the original four tap holes in the truck and putting in the holes for the now six taps on the side of the truck.

Finally all that was left was painting and decals to give our truck a classic look. 

Figure: Collection of before photos of our Daredevil Brewing Co Tap Truck | 1964 Model 206 Divco



Look for our new tap truck at our taproom and local events

The first event for our tap truck will be the Speedway brewery grand opening celebration on June 17th. After that we will plan on taking it to some events around the metro area and using it for events at our taproom where we need outside service. We are also going to look into a trailer that would allow us to take it to events that are outside the Indy metro area.