In 1931, the smell of bread began to take over Los Angeles, thanks to a new fleet of stylish delivery trucks. Helms Bakeries was a family owned company that lasted for nearly 40 years, and Southern California culture and history wouldn’t be complete without Helms trucks pulling into neighborhoods with their drawers of scrumptious baked treats – including donuts for the kids (and the kids at heart).
We spotted this Helms truck on a recent trip to the Petersen Automotive Museum, which is not far from the original Helms Bakery location. The Petersen tells us that “the distinctive Twin Coach delivery truck became a trademark for the Helms Bakery… long-time residents still recall the characteristic ‘toot-toot’ of the horn that sent them hurrying out to the streets for fresh baked goods.
The truck’s original design was the inspiration of William Fageol, who patented its integral chassis and body construction. The low floor and upright driving position allowed the driver to hop in and out quickly at frequent stops. A slightly modified version of the design was produced by the Detroit Industrial Vehicle Co. (DIVCO).”
Prior to the Twin Coach delivery trucks, the Helms Bakery trucks had a much different feel. We don’t doubt that this version got the job done, but there’s something about the Twin Coach model that delights us – with all that glass in the front, you could watch the driver open drawer after drawer of warm, delicious baked goodness.
Can you believe it? Helms bread has been to the moon. I can imagine space-crazed kids everywhere thinking about those astronauts pausing for a PB & J on the moon (and wondering how they ate it with those bubble helmets on). Moms everywhere had a much easier time getting junior to finish his lunch after that ad aired!
At one time, the Helms Bakery Twin Coach delivery fleet totaled 350 trucks! Think about it… street carbs. On demand. Delivered by men in stylish trucks and dapper little suits and bow ties. Pure genius? Absolutely.
The Helms Bakery building on Venice Blvd. in Los Angeles still stands today. It is now a design and furniture store. If you get the chance to visit, it’s worth a stop. The history and architecture alone are worth the trip.
So, you’re thinking – I’ve seen this truck before. You have, just a different version of it. We found the later DIVCO model of the Helms Bakery truck at the 2013 Cool Cruise, decked out in full bakery truck glory.
I don’t know about you, but I think I’d pay a bit extra to have a truck like this frequent my neighborhood to sell me freshly baked goods! Think we could start a petition to get these bread sleds back on the streets? Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?