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There’s something special about seeing the mail truck pull up to your house. Whether you are expecting an important document or a gift from a loved one, the United States Postal Service has been making deliveries since 1792, when the Post Office Department was established by the Post Service Act. Although, USPS can trace its history back to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress. 

Since the 1950s, USPS has employed a variety of different vehicles to deliver mail in a timely fashion. And one of the most iconic of these models may be the Grumman LLV truck. But, what is this vehicle’s story and can you buy a mail truck for personal use?

The Grumman LLV was developed to replace the Jeep DJ

A USPS mail truck sits in a local neighborhood.
Grumman LLV | Joel Moisa

Starting in the 1950s, USPS started to use the Jeep DJ to deliver mail. But, by 1984, it was time to phase out this aging delivery truck. USPS opened up bids on which company would be able to build the next mail truck, and there was a range of entries, including from American Motors. But ultimately, the Grumman Long Life Vehicle was selected and became the first dedicated USPS vehicle.

The Grumman LLV saw production from 1987 until 1994, and USPS bought plenty of models. Making this vehicle one of the most iconic on American roads. In today’s world of digital living, a mail truck represents a tangible piece of communication. Something that many crave to have. 

Requirements that Grumman had to meet were a truck that had at least a 500-pound payload, a tight turning radius, and most importantly, be cheap and reliable. The Grumman LLV was able to meet these guidelines.

What engine does the Grumman LLV use?

During its production, most LLV models came equipped with a 2.5-liter engine, known as the “Iron Duke.” It is paired to a three-speed transmission because understandably, most of the driving of these trucks is done at slow speeds. Later models were outfitted with a 2.2-liter engine. 

In terms of power and efficiency, the Grumman LLV is not the best. But it is important to remember, that this is a vehicle that is purpose-built. It was not a truck converted to meet the needs of USPS, it was designed from the start to handle its job. 

Can you buy a USPS mail truck?

A United States Postal Service mail truck sits outside.
USPS Mail Truck | IFCAR

Oshkosh is Making the New USPS Trucks Look Weird

Unfortunately, buying the Grumman LLV is not as easy as visiting your local used car lot or post office. The best way to find one, according to Tire Meets Road, is to check out government auctions. Although, it’s not like these trucks go on sale often.

In 2021, the Federal government announced that a new fleet of USPS trucks would be built by the Oshkosh Corporation. So, maybe retired Grumman LLV models will start popping up for sale. But to be clear, this is not a comfortable or even technically a good truck. Yes, it has been delivering mail for decades, but that is what it is meant for. And, if you do buy this old mail truck, remember, impersonating a mail carrier is a serious offense.