This story is a departure from the previous stories I have written. It is about a truck that went missing. I do not know the circumstances behind its disappearance, nor do I care. This truck was built by an 18-year-old and made its first appearance in 1965 at the Tridents Car Show at the L.A. Sports Arena in California. It was on the cover of the August issue of Rod and Custom 1965.
For me to tell the story I’m not going name a lot of people because I didn’t get involved until near the end and not having all the facts I didn’t want to assume what happened or offend anyone. I do however think it is a story worth telling, and it is about a very famous hot rod that was saved from definite ruin.
Dan Woods grew up in Paramount, California and his first build was a blown Hemi T-bucket. The first of many show cars that Dan built was the Milk Truck, besides building his own stuff he also worked with Big Daddy Roth. So, this story is about the MILK TRUCK.
Apparently in the late 90’s or early 00’s there was an indoor car show in southern Ontario that featured a number of show cars from the US. As I have been told when the show was over, and the cars were returned to the US the Milk Truck stayed in Canada. About 15 years ago I had a conversation with a fellow car owner, and he mentioned this show and said that he owned the Milk Truck. As most of you know I showed cars on the Championship Auto Shows Series and later became an ISCA judge and eventually the director of the Can Am series. So, I was quite familiar with what vehicles that were being used as features. To say that I was surprised that the truck was in Canada and owned by a Canadian would be an understatement.
I asked if it would be possible to see the truck. He said that he lived in a small bungalow and did not have a garage, the truck was stored in a container at a shop north/east of Toronto and that I could drop in anytime. As it turned out not only did, I know the truck owner but I also knew the shop owner.
It wasn’t long after that I made a trip to see the Milk Truck. If my memory serves me correctly it was either in January or February. When I arrived at the shop the owner said the truck was out behind the shop feel free to have a look. When I went around back of the shop, I expected to find the container. The truck was not in a container it had been covered with a blue tarp
which was torn, ripped and not covering much of the truck at all. It was almost completely covered with snow. But it was the Dan Woods built MILK TRUCK.I returned to the shop, thanked the owner and left. Under the circumstances I did not want to get in any discussions with the shop owner until I had the opportunity to talk to the truck owner. That evening I called the owner and told him I stopped by the shop and saw the truck. I asked him when he last saw the truck, he said that it had been quite a while. I advised him that the truck was not being stored in a container it was sitting outside, covered with a blue tarp that wasn’t there , covered with snow and being a c-cab type of truck with no doors and the velure interior was filled with snow. I mentioned to him that that this was a piece of hot rod history and did not deserve to be treated this way. I also asked him what his plans were for the truck and he said he was unsure what he was going to do with it. I stated that the first thing that needs to be done is that it should be moved to inside storage and I suggested that if the shop owner wasn’t willing to do that and seeing that he didn’t have a garage at his house that I would make room in my garage until he could find space. I did not want to be compensated I just wanted to stop the truck from deteriorating any further. He got back to me in a couple of days and said that he would take me up on my offer. Shortly after, a couple of car club members hooked up the club trailer and moved the truck to my garage.
When we got the truck to my garage, we cleaned it up and parked in a corner. Because of not knowing the circumstances surrounding the truck being in Canada I did not tell many people that I had the truck.
An interesting side to this story takes place later at the Sema show in Vegas. I’m working the Heritage Hot Rod Art booth and this well-dressed gentleman enters the booth carrying a large 3 ring binder and starts talking to Bob Larivee JR. I knew of this gentleman but had never met him, he was a representative of the Cars of the Stars Museum. He was talking to JR about Championship Auto Shows booking cars that they had in the museum for the coming season. When he was about to leave the booth I introduced myself and explained that I was there representing Performance World and one of my responsibilities was finding feature vehicles for the upcoming show in March and I would be interested in seeing what he may have available. He handed me the binder and said take a look. The binder contained numerous 8-10 colored photos with a bio on each vehicle. To my surprise there was Dan Woods MILK TRUCK. I thought how that could be as the truck was sitting in my garage in Oshawa. Not knowing all the circumstances surrounding the truck I decided to play it safe and not mention the truck. We exchanged business cards and I said I would be in touch.
The truck was sold in 2005 and after 8 years of being stored in my garage the following pictures show it being loaded into an enclosed trailer and on its way to Ohio.
It’s always bothered me how two very knowledgeable car guys (I could understand if they weren’t car guys and didn’t know what they had) but that wasn’t the case to allow a piece of hot rod history to be almost lost.
It certainly was a pleasure to see the fully restored Milk Truck at the Detroit Autorama a couple years ago.
That is the end of the story.
I would love to hear your Hot Rodding experiences. Please comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org