Jeep and Dodge Postal Vehicles
In 2003, Jeep Wranglers returned to postal duty, complete with right-hand-drive. Built in Toldeo, Ohio, the new Jeeps let postmen easily put mail into rural mailboxes without leaving their seats. They had an automatics with full doors, a hard top, and rollup windows, with the six-cylinder (4.0) engine. Amenities 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 postal Jeep.
Bill Cawthon noted: “I believe many rural route carriers buy their own vehicles, for which the Post Office reimburses them a certain amount. Our letter carriers drive different vehicles. One has a red Jeep Cherokee, one has a Honda CRV, then there is one who drives one of the standard postal trucks.”
Early Jeep and Dodge 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 It was based on the CJ3A Jeep Universal of 1949, and was available until 1964, still equipped with an outdated but cheap flat-head four-cylinder engine. According to Randle Blankenship, some were made with the Chevy Nova four cylinder engine and Powerglide automatic during the 1950s.
The DJ5 Dispatcher lasted until 1983, with a CJ5 base and various improvements for postal use. Until 2001, a specially adapted Jeep Cherokee was available for postal use.
Fageol: Dodge Truck-based postal vehicles with GM transmissions
Raymund Duque sent this 1956 example of a Dodge-based postal vehicle with right hand drive and a flat-head six cylinder engine and 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.
According to Randle Blankenship, 3,000 of these were made as a Post Office trial design which was rejected in favor of the fuel-sipping Jeeps. They had GM automatics because those had been proven in truck use while the Powerflite was not. The pushbutton automatic on some models suggests that they also tried Borg Warner’s three speed, which would have been cheaper than the GM.
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 was used by the postal and telephone services; in fact, these were kept going “on demand” after they were supposed to be phased out.