This Rusty 1950s Milk Truck Is an 815 HP Drag Racer

Stuffing a ’50s milk truck with a twin-turbo Chevy big block V8 looks like a lot of fun.

byNico DeMattia|
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It's not often you see milk trucks anymore, especially not ones ripping off quarter-mile runs at the local drag strip. Though, that's exactly what people are seeing in Manhattan, Illinois. Owner Nick and his dad found an ad for a rusty old milk truck at a swap meet and decided it was going to be the basis of the drag racer they'd always wanted to build. So they shipped it home, from Seymour, Connecticut and got to work immediately, stripping it apart and prepping it for drag racing.

The only thing original on this old milk truck, which seems to be a '50s Divco Model 374, is its patina-covered body. All of the original hand-painted logos are still on truck, from the original dairy company that used it back in its day. Even the original driver's name is still painted near the front door. Everything else, though, was thrown out.

Nick and his dad took the body off the frame and actually built a mostly-custom ladder frame for it. The front of the frame and the front suspension are from a '95 Chevy pickup but the rest of it was custom fabricated.

Under the hood is a 496 cubic-inch Chevy big block V8 that's been twin-turbocharged to make 815 horsepower. It uses an automatic transmission, with gearing meant for drag racing, and its seats are from an old Dodge Caravan. It even has acacia hardwood flooring, pulled from a home flooring job, and speakers with a subwoofer. So despite being an 815 horsepower tin-can, it actually seems pretty easy and comfortable to drive.

At the drag strip, Nick's hot-rod milk truck was able to reach 114 mph, which might not seem like much for something with over 800 horsepower and only 4,500 lbs to lug around. However, its low gearing and brick-like aerodynamics are likely the culprits to its relatively low top speed. While it's not likely going to win many drag races, it's such a laugh that Nick keeps coming back for more. Plus, it makes the older locals happy, as they see something from their childhood that's been transformed into something more fun.

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