Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Anyone want a 1930 milk truck? This REO speed wagon could still rock

Pity this poor milk truck. It may be the only one in existence. But no one seems to want the more-than-90-year-old bespoke beast made for the Milkhouse Creamery in Berwick, Pennsylvania, in 1930.

It was apparently one of three unusually designed milk trucks made by REO Motor Car Company. Defunct since the mid-1950s, the manufacturer made cars, trucks and buses. Its haulers mostly transported milk.

A one-of-a-kind 1930 REO speed wagon milk truck.
A one-of-a-kind 1930 REO speed wagon milk truck.

A few companies commissioned signature models shaped like milk bottles. The rock band REO Speedwagon gleaned its name from the automaker’s name. The REO initials stood for Ransom Eli Olds. He helped establish Oldsmobile in 1897 and debuted his company in Lansing, Michigan, in 1905.

REO speed wagon: Can’t find a home

According to a post on BarnFinds.com, the milk truck was also listed for sale in 2016 and 2020. It was made from aluminum and is in two pieces. There’s no engine but a transmission and rear-end remain. The most recent bid was $1,265, but that was below the reserve price.

The seller doesn’t include an asking price in their ad, but details the truck has a clear title and a willingness for a trade. The truck is located in Wapwallopen, Pennsylvania.

An REO speed wagaon milk truck is rare, but the carmaker was the inspiration for a famous rock band's name.
An REO speed wagon milk truck is rare, but the carmaker was the inspiration for a famous rock band’s name.

Introduced in 1915, the various-styled REO vehicles were also used as tow, dump and fire trucks as well as hearses and ambulances. The manufacturer stopped making cars in 1946 to focus on trucks.

As a precursor to the modern-day pickup, REO used the slogan, “Master of Rural Transportation” in its advertising brochures.

The cover of the rock band REO Speedwagon's first album featured an REO Speed Wagon.
The cover of the rock band REO Speedwagon’s first album featured an REO Speed Wagon.

The truck’s advertising jargon read, in part:

“Time-saving travel combines with a sureness of performance to make the Speed Wagon most faithfully serve the rural owner.

“Keen understanding of the farmer’s hauling needs shows in every phase of the Speed Wagon design and manufacture. Mighty power, brute endurance, pneumatic tires, moderate chassis weight, driving simplicity, load capacity.

“All are embodied so that stall-free operation — anywhere, anytime, and with any load — becomes a fact.”

James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: james@jamesraia.com.

##RVT1003b

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Kenneth
9 days ago

They gleaned? Are you sure they gleaned James

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RV Staff (@rvstaff)
9 days ago
Reply to  Kenneth

Why not, Kenneth? Some synonyms for “glean” are: obtain, get, derive. So, it kinda works, albeit a little indirectly. Have a good afternoon/evening. 🙂 —Diane

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