autoevolution
 
1938 Diamond T Seagram's whiskey truck
An independent company based out of Chicago, Illinois, Diamond T was founded in 1905 and built passenger cars until 1911. From then on, Diamond T shifted to truck production and became an important provider of medium- and heavy-duty haulers (including military rigs).

1938 Diamond T Art Deco Truck Found in Nebraska, It's a 1-of-1 Whiskey Hauler

1938 Diamond T Seagram's whiskey truck1938 Diamond T Seagram's whiskey truck1938 Diamond T Seagram's whiskey truck1938 Diamond T Seagram's whiskey truck1938 Diamond T Seagram's whiskey truck1938 Diamond T Seagram's whiskey truck1938 Diamond T Seagram's whiskey truck1938 Diamond T Seagram's whiskey truck1938 Diamond T Seagram's whiskey truck
The company disappeared in 1967, when it was merged with the REO Motor Car Company, and it's largely forgotten compared to its Detroit-based rivals. But even so, some Diamond T trucks are famous enough to hit the auction block and change hands for five-figure sums.

If you're still reading this, you're probably very familiar with the company's trademark wrap-around grille. And you're about to see a unique hauler that very few people know about. Meet the Seagram's Whiskey delivery truck, a one-of-one, art deco-styled gem built in the 1930s.

Arguably the rarest Diamond T out there, the hauler spent its recent years in the Rob van Vleet collection. Yup, I'm talking about the massive stash of trucks located in Sidney, Nebraska, on what used to be a World War II ammunition plant.

It included more than 1,500 trucks until November 2022, when many of them were auctioned off.

1938 Diamond T Seagram's whiskey truck
Yes, this streamlined truck doesn't look much like a Diamond T, but that's because it was custom-built by a shop in Toronto, Canada. The project was commissioned by Seagram's, a distiller of Canadian whisky based in Waterloo, Ontario.

Founded in 1857, Seagram was the largest owner of alcoholic beverage lines in the world in the 1990s before the business was broken up in 2000.

The company set up business in the United States in the 1930s, right before Prohibition was repealed through the 21st Amendment of December 1933. It even exported liquor illegally to the U.S. and had to pay a fine of $1.5 million (that's the equivalent of $28.1 million in 2022).

This truck was commissioned a few years after that, at a time when liquor companies had become legal again and were spending fortunes on marketing campaigns.

1938 Diamond T Seagram's whiskey truck
Built on a cab-over Diamond T chassis, this van-like truck was definitely a cool and unique idea back in the day. Because while automakers were experimenting with art deco designs at the time, trucks were still utilitarian and bulky in appearance. I guess we could call it the Chrysler Airflow of the truck market.

Unfortunately, the hauler is in pretty bad shape. While the shell is still in one piece thanks to its composite construction, the lower body panels and the floors are rusty.

The interior is obviously a big mess right now and the flathead six-cylinder engine is likely stuck. Far from surprising given that this truck hasn't been used in decades.

But here's the good news: after decades of sitting without a purpose, the truck finally found a new home during the recent Rob van Vleet auction. It changed hands for $20,000, which is a lot of dough for an old hauler in this condition. But will it be restored to its original specifications?

1938 Diamond T Seagram's whiskey truck
Unfortunately, we don't know who bought it and if the new owner plans to get it back on its feet, but it would be nice to see it running and driving again in a few years.

I say "years" because this truck needs a whole lot of work, including replacement parts made from scratch, a ton of documentation for the correct specs, and a professional repaint. Plus a big bag of cash, because we're probably looking at a six-figure restoration.

Fingers crossed this Diamond T shines again in the future, but until that happens, check it out in its current condition in the video below.

Video thumbnail


Editor's note: For illustrative purposes, the photo gallery also includes an old image of the original truck.

 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories