Looking Back on the Grumman LLV Mail Truck

After years of dedicated service, it finally looks like the United States Postal Service is on track to replace its aging fleet of Grumman LLV mail trucks. These trucks first entered production in 1987, with the final model rolling off the line in 1994. And although the LLV has become a bit of an icon on American roads, it makes sense that the postal service is ready for a new and more modern mail truck. The USPS has placed an order for thousands of Oshkosh Next Generation Delivery Vehicles, so it’s time to reflect on the impact the Grumman LLV has had. 

What is the Grumman LLV?

The Grumman LLV, or Long Life Vehicle, has been serving the USPS for many years. Its initial lifespan was set to be 24 years, but by 2009 it was realized that this vehicle could last up to 30 years. A vast majority of LLV mail trucks have been on the road for over 27 years, which is a truly impressive feat. 

The LLV was based on the 1982 Chevy S-10 Blazer and a fair amount of building was done by General Motors. But the body and final assembly were done by Grumman. If you have the opportunity to step into a Grumman LLV and you are familiar with this era of GM, you will likely recognize things like the gauge cluster being borrowed from the manufacturer. 

Is the Grumman LLV reliable?

In terms of reliability, this mail truck is a bit of a mixed bag. It has the ability to last a long number of years, but occasionally some models have caught fire and there have been other issues as well. One area that the Grumman LLV struggles particularly is in winter conditions or areas with rough terrain.

A Grumman LLV mail truck sits in a local neighborhood with USPS livery.
Grumman LLV | IFCAR

Because the Grumman LLV mail truck sits fairly low to the ground, it cannot necessarily function as well as it does in better climates when the road ahead gets tough. But, USPS still employs a huge number of rural mail carriers who handle delivery with vehicles from brands like Jeep. Allowing the mail to still be delivered in a timely manner. 

What is replacing the LLV?

After the USPS announced it was seeking a new mail truck, who the contract would be awarded to was a mystery. But now, Oshkosh Defense is building the next mail truck. Known as the NGDV, this vehicle may look funny, but it is still purpose-built.

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

Better yet, this NGDV could be an electric mail truck. While there has been some controversy surrounding this vehicle, now Postmaster General DeJoy has upped the order for EV models. Although a majority of Oshkosh NGDV trucks will be powered by combustion engines. Still, it is an exciting prospect that USPS is working to reduce its environmental footprint. 

While the Grumman LLV will certainly be missed after its years of service. Today’s mail carriers are likely to appreciate a new mail truck. According to MotorTrend, the NGDV will offer more safety tech and should be more comfortable than the outgoing delivery vehicle. Still, there’s something to be said about a mail truck that served the country for over 30 years.

RELATED: What Engine Does the Grumman LLV Have?