The Wonderful, Weird History of D​omino's Pizza Delivery Cars

S​ome pizza-hustling oddities, and some relatively normal stuff too. And one YouTuber's war with Domino's over a current delivery car

5w ago
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T​oday, most pizza delivery companies use basic econoboxes and small pickups/minivans for deliveries. The industry-leading US-based pizzeria chain Domino's, though, has never been bashful about having an eye-catching, often cutting-edge technology, flagship delivery car.

Founded in 1960 by Tom Monaghan, after losing franchise rights to a Detroit area small chain called DomiNick's, and sold off to Bain Capital in 1998, this chain has always been known for its delivery service, and they have historically used some of these unique delivery cars in some of their US and global ad campaigns.

Preserved O​riginal Domino's Delivery Car: 1959 VW Beetle

T​his '59 Volkswagen bug, on display at Domino's corporate headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was the first car that Tom Monaghan and his brother James used for deliveries. It is now preserved and restored for a corporate historical artifact.

T​his '59 Volkswagen bug, on display at Domino's corporate headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was the first car that Tom Monaghan and his brother James used for deliveries. It is now preserved and restored for a corporate historical artifact.

O​riginal location of DomiNick's Pizza in Ypsilanti, Michigan, with Tom Monaghan and the original delivery car.

O​riginal location of DomiNick's Pizza in Ypsilanti, Michigan, with Tom Monaghan and the original delivery car.

C​hecker Marathon/Superba delivery car (60s/70s)

N​ot the best quality pic, but these were apparently used in inner-city Detroit and Flint, MI in the late 60s/early 70s.

N​ot the best quality pic, but these were apparently used in inner-city Detroit and Flint, MI in the late 60s/early 70s.

A​MC Javelin delivery car (1970s)

T​his clearly Mark Donohue inspired, racy muscle car delivery vehicle, seen with a proud, smiling Tom Monaghan, was used in the 1970s, where franchisees didn't use VWs, Pintos, Dodge Colts, Checker Cabs, or Chevettes.

T​his clearly Mark Donohue inspired, racy muscle car delivery vehicle, seen with a proud, smiling Tom Monaghan, was used in the 1970s, where franchisees didn't use VWs, Pintos, Dodge Colts, Checker Cabs, or Chevettes.

T​he 1984-85 Triton A2 "Aerocar"

D​uring the height of science-fiction mania in the 1980s, Domino's dreamed up an idea for a futuristic, fuel-efficient, lightweight delivery car, and contracted for 10 aerocars from the now defunct Triton Ventures in Ann Arbor. Domino’s contracted with Triton to build 10 Triton A2s—short for Aerocar 2—as a prototype delivery car with a futuristic, “space-age” design. Plans called for the car to be tested at select locations and eventually rolled out nationwide.

“A 30-horsepower, 440cc air-cooled Syvaro rotary engine powers the 899-pound A2, enabling the car to crawl from zero to 60 in around 17 seconds,” according to TheDrive.com. “Its unique wedge-shaped styling relied heavily on aerodynamics to make the car fuel-efficient and require less power than a typical car. A three-wheel layout also classified the car as a motorcycle in many states, which leads us to believe this is what Domino’s was banking on for its speedy delivery promises.”

The driver entered the car by pushing the wrap-around windshield and roof forward and climbing inside a cockpit-like seating area. The A2 had two center-positioned seats—one to hold the pizza—and a telescoping steering wheel. However, the car was ultimately deemed impractical and never used for pizza delivery, and Domino's sold them at a loss.

Domino’s is presently working on another delivery car of the future—this one driverless. (more on that later)

One of the Triton A2 cars was recently sold on Facebook Marketplace for $23,000USD. The seller said the car was “the only one known to run and drive on the road” and described as “fully street legal, in good operational condition.”

Most of the A2s can now be found in museums, such as the Pioneer Auto Show in Murdo, South Dakota, and other locations. Some surviving examples were scrapped or broken down for parts.

8​0s Chevy Chevette Delivery Car

T​his crude but charming casting of a USDM Chevy Chevette 3-door, in 1980s-era Domino's livery, was the only reference I could find to a "Radwood Era" Domino's regular delivery car. Many a Gen-X or millennial kid had this Ertl/Lintoy diecast in childhood.

T​his crude but charming casting of a USDM Chevy Chevette 3-door, in 1980s-era Domino's livery, was the only reference I could find to a "Radwood Era" Domino's regular delivery car. Many a Gen-X or millennial kid had this Ertl/Lintoy diecast in childhood.

D​eLorean DMC-12 pizza delivery car

T​his car was used in 1980s era TV advertising for Domino's, was also used by a Dallas-area Texas franchisee as a promo car, and fell into disrepair, before finally being restored to its 80s Monaghan Brothers radness.

T​his car was used in 1980s era TV advertising for Domino's, was also used by a Dallas-area Texas franchisee as a promo car, and fell into disrepair, before finally being restored to its 80s Monaghan Brothers radness.

C​orbin Sparrow "Pizza Butt" (circa 2000)

T​his factory image from Corbin Motors for their pizza delivery/cargo version of their "Sparrow" enclosed tricar scooter. Not all of these hatchback Sparrows were used for pizza schlepping, but the body style as a whole is known as the "Pizza Butt".

T​his factory image from Corbin Motors for their pizza delivery/cargo version of their "Sparrow" enclosed tricar scooter. Not all of these hatchback Sparrows were used for pizza schlepping, but the body style as a whole is known as the "Pizza Butt".

2​007 ZAP! Xebra Delivery Tricar

T​his thoroughly detestable Chinese "bubblecar", known as the Fulu FL5000ZK-1 on the home market and sold under several names besides ZAP!, was everywhere in the Iraq War gas crunch. The Las Vegas franchisee tested these cars, but didn't like them.

T​his thoroughly detestable Chinese "bubblecar", known as the Fulu FL5000ZK-1 on the home market and sold under several names besides ZAP!, was everywhere in the Iraq War gas crunch. The Las Vegas franchisee tested these cars, but didn't like them.

S​mart Fortwo Delivery Car (Circa 2011)

W​hile the Smart Fortwo may no longer be available in the US, many Domino's franchises & corporate outposts globally operate the Fortwo as a delivery unit. Many car wrap companies targeting quick serve restaurants like Domino's, offer this design for the Fortwo to this day.

W​hile the Smart Fortwo may no longer be available in the US, many Domino's franchises & corporate outposts globally operate the Fortwo as a delivery unit. Many car wrap companies targeting quick serve restaurants like Domino's, offer this design for the Fortwo to this day.

2​015 Domino's DXP (Chevy Spark Modified by Roush Performance)

I​n yet another act of innovative hubris and one-upsmanship, back in 2015, Domino's corporate collaborated with GM Korea and Roush Performance to make a dedicated delivery car, that can carry 80 pizzas, plus sides, 2-liter bottles of soda, and dipping sauces. It also has a 140-degrees Fahrenheit oven on board, and is more fuel efficient than a standard delivery car. Officially named the Domino's DXP, the car is a Chevrolet Spark customized by Roush Performance.

T​hese Roush-modified Chevy Sparks, though, may be of more interest to DriveTribe readers for YouTuber "Samcrac" buying two totaled DXPs at auction, repairing them with standard Spark parts, and putting them both back on the road, only to be sued and hit with cease & desist orders by Domino's and the franchisees who wrecked the cars and aimed to buy them back.

S​amcrac's videos on his DXPs are listed above, and the Detroit Free Press even took note of Samcrac's ordeal in this linked article below. It's unknown what ultimately became of Samcrac and his DXPs.

https://www.freep.com/story/money/business/michigan/2018/03/29/dominos-pizza-car-youtube/462687002/

R​enault Twizy Delivery Car (UK Franchisee)

A​cross the pond in Great Britain, in the historic city of Swindon and possibly elsewhere, you can get your Domino's order delivered in a Renault Twizy. These diminiutive commuter electric vehicles are not sold in America, but since DriveTribe is an international blog founded by Brits, I included this one for our UK, Irish, and Continental readers who routinely see Twizys in their everyday lives.

D​elivery Cars of the Future: Arcimoto Deliverator & Nuro Self-Driving Car

T​he Nuro autonomous delivery car, seen in Houston, where it's been undergoing testing.

T​he Nuro autonomous delivery car, seen in Houston, where it's been undergoing testing.

T​he Arcimoto Deliverator, seen in Domino's livery for the Eugene/Springfield, Oregon franchisee.

T​he Arcimoto Deliverator, seen in Domino's livery for the Eugene/Springfield, Oregon franchisee.

T​he Arcimoto Deliverator, seen in Domino's livery for the Eugene/Springfield, Oregon franchisee.

T​he Arcimoto Deliverator, seen in Domino's livery for the Eugene/Springfield, Oregon franchisee.

I​n the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston, Texas, Domino's has been spending the spring of 2021 testing a new self-driving/autonomous EV delivery car.

A​nd in my home city of Eugene, Oregon, our local EV manufacturer, Arcimoto Motors, has started making a delivery vehicle with food/catering delivery capabilities, and the local Domino's franchisee has started experimenting with the Deliverator.

A​nd this video about Arcimoto and Domino's is largely speculation, but a good watch nonetheless.

G​ee, now I'm hungry for Domino's! *LOL*

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Comments (22)

  • Great article, and definitely time for some hot wings

      1 month ago
  • Very interesting, thanks a lot for sharing!

      1 month ago
  • This is how they usually come.

      1 month ago
  • well... now there is a reason for me to like domono's even more... But i gotta say their pizza is really good

      1 month ago
    • Their delivery car history is phenomenal. And their pizza & subs are really good for the moderate price point.

        1 month ago
    • How much do they cost where you are? For us its £20 per Dominoes pizza which is sky high!

        1 month ago
  • The drivers at our local Domino's Restaurants all have to use their own cars, nothing is provided except a plastic sign that lights up at night.

      1 month ago
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