Homeworth man takes a trip back in time

SALEM – The Salem Super Cruise brings out many types of vehicles – from muscle cars to Model Ts.

Then there’s Shawn Watson’s choice.

The Homeworth resident took a different approach to the show and showcased his 1966 Divco (Detroit Industrial Vehicle Company) delivery truck at the Arby’s lot.

“I like trucks, I’m into trucks,” Watson said. “You can just have a pickup truck sitting there, it looks nice, but this one is rare.”

With creativity in mind, along with a fondness for nostalgia, Watson decked out his Divco as a dairy truck as a tribute to the days of home deliveries. Along with classic-style signs on his truck, he also included a delivery set-up complete with milk bottles, crates and bottle carriers.

“Your parents and grandparents, I’m sure have remembered door-to-door deliveries,” Watson said. “The older folks remember them. And I like the unique, and that’s why I chose a truck like this.”

It was an eight-year restoration project.

“This was quite an undertaking, it actually took eight years,” Watson said. “I did not do this truck perfect like some of these cars. I left some character in it.”

Watson recalled a time when these dairy trucks were relatively easy to fix, but were also crucial for business for dairy farmers.

“The way these trucks were made, if I wrecked this truck today, it went back to the dairy, and they had it fixed to go back out onto the next route,” he said.

“The back fenders interchange on either side. So they can just go into the parts bin, grab an fender and throw it on if I mangled it. These panels can be fixed in two hours. They had to fix them because they had to keep them on the road.”

Divco was founded in 1926 and was a pioneer in delivery trucks. The delivery truck’s design relatively stayed the same for five decades.

“This was the iconic truck,” Watson said. “They kept the same design of the truck from 1938 to 1986. They all stayed the same except some were a little longer or a little taller, they all looked the same.”

Watson’s truck was built in the company’s hometown of Detroit in 1966. Two years later, production moved to Delaware, Ohio, and remained there until the company’s closure in 1986 due to the decline of home deliveries.

Even after Divco’s demise, the truck left a lasting impression on many people as so many from an older generation recall the days of door-to-door deliveries, and Watson enjoys bringing back a form of nostalgia.

“It’s so unique,” Watson said. “When you look at the people and they go, ‘Oh, I haven’t seen one of these in 30 years or 40 years’, that’s what I like to hear. Then when they look in the back, and they see all the stuff and they say ‘I remember that’, that’s why I chose it.”

Watson will continue displaying his truck throughout the weekend, including an antique car show tonight, along with cruising on the main strip through Sunday.

“I love the beautiful setting with the trees,” Watson said. “Plus going up and down State Street in the truck will be nice. Cruising up and down the street and talking to people is what I like doing.”