This Jeep Was the First Commissioned Mail Truck

As the United States Postal Service begins transitioning its fleet of Grumman LLV trucks to Oshkosh NGDV mail trucks, it’s worth it to look back on the first commissioned mail truck by the postal service. The Jeep DJ, also known as the “Dispatcher,” was a mail truck that served the USPS for a number of years. It was essentially the two-wheel-drive version of the CJ, and for USPS it was made to be right-hand drive. While the postal service did have vehicles in its fleet before the DJ, this truck was the first to be commissioned by the agency. 

What is the Jeep DJ?

Although the Post Office Department was created in 1792 and the first modern automobile was built in 1886, it would not be until the 1950s that the USPS would get its first dedicated mail delivery vehicle. Known as the Jeep DJ, this vehicle would serve the postal service until the introduction of the Grumman LLV. 

The Jeep DJ, or Dispatcher, is a right-hand drive vehicle that was based on the CJ. It utilized two-wheel drive and was constructed from thin sheet metal to help deal with day-to-day use. This vehicle had to handle long mail routes, and it was important that it could stand up to the abuse. Another feature of the DJ was its sliding door, making it easy for mail carriers to enter and exit the vehicle. 

When was the Jeep DJ replaced?

The Jeep DJ was replaced in 1984 by the Grumman LLV. The LLV was commissioned by the USPS to be a dedicated mail truck. It is also 2WD, but offered more modern features and efficiency than the old mail Jeep. Multiple companies competed to build the new mail truck, but ultimately Grumman won the bidding process. 

The Jeep DJ is an old USPS mail truck, here it has postal service livery.
USPS Jeep Mail Truck | IFCAR

Even though the Dispatcher was replaced, it did not mean that mail carriers would no longer be relying on a Jeep to deliver the mail. According to MotorTrend, the Jeep Wrangler was available as a RHD vehicle, making it ideal for postal workers who need to deliver the mail in rural areas. 

Is the USPS getting a new mail truck?

The last Grumman LLV rolled off the production line in 1994, and it is now time for a new mail truck. After years of consideration, the Oshkosh Next Generation Delivery Vehicle was selected to replace the aging LLV. While its gas engine is only slightly more efficient, the mail truck will offer modern features to help make delivering the mail an easier task. 

The Oshkosh NGDV is the next generation of USPS mail trucks.
Oshkosh Next Generation Delivery Vehicle | Oshkosh

And although they are only making up a small percentage of current orders, the NGDV can be equipped with an electric powertrain. And that will help with the environmental impact of these trucks. To some, an EV mail truck may not seem practical, but when you consider that these trucks often run dedicated routes, it is easy to see how EVs are an ideal option. Plus, they show just how far automotive technology has come. From the carbureted engines of the Jeep DJ to an electric powertrain, the USPS is ready to enter the modern era. 

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