Jeep and Dodge Postal Vehicles
Jeep Wranglers - the latest generation of the basic Army Jeep - returned to postal duty with a special series of right-hand-drive models. Built in Toldeo, Ohio, the new Jeeps let postmen easily put mail into rural mailboxes without leaving his seat. They had an automatic with full doors, a hard top, and rollup windows, with the six-cylinder (4.0) engine to assure quick getaways under full loads. Amenities for the postmen included a four-speaker cassette stereo and cloth seats. For severe weather, all-terrain tires, a Dana 44 heavy-duty locking rear axle, and full size spare were included. The cost was under $21,000 per vehicle, and it was be available in different colors.
Since engineering for a right-hand drive Jeep was already in place for export models, the fleet models made sense - they keep the factory running at a higher capacity, and help to pay for fixed costs.
Bill Cawthon noted: "I believe many rural route carriers buy their own vehicles, for which the governments reimburses them a certain amount. Where I live, our letter carriers drive different vehicles. One has a red Jeep Cherokee, one has a Honda CRV, then there is one who actually drives one of the small standard postal trucks."
Canada is currently using a number of Mercedes Sprinter trucks with Dodge badging.
Past postal vehicles
While right-hand drive Jeeps were used by the Postal Service since just after World War II, the first postal model was built in 1955, and was called the Dispatcher. It was based on the CJ3A Jeep Universal of 1949, and was available until 1964, still equipped with an outdated but cheap flat-head four-cylinder engine. The DJ5 Dispatcher lasted until 1983, with a CJ5 base and various improvements for postal use. Until 2001, a specially adapted Cherokee was available for postal use.
Raymund Duque pointed out a rare 1956 example of a Dodge postal vehicle built with right hand drive and a flat-head six cylinder engine with a push-button automatic transmission. A decal inside, above the windshield, says: FAGEOL - Pony Express Twin Coach - Kent, Ohio, while a tag proclaims “Post Office #6-A-1101 - Model #C3 - C6 - 95.” A Dodge tag notes “ID #83412570 - 105 net Hp @ 3600rpm.” The wheelbase of the truck is 95 inches, and the rear door opens like a minivan hatch.
Jeep apparently made a run of six-cylinder Cherokees for postal use, complete with right-hand drive - and two wheel, rather than four wheel, drive - in the 1990s.
In Britain, the Commer/Dodge Spacevan (we only have one photo and it’s shown on the right) was used by the postal and telephone services.
We are looking for more postal vehicle information and would appreciate your mailing it to us or using the allpar fleet/squad-car forum to post it.