(first posted 11/18/2011) Anyone whose been here longer than a few days knows I have a thing for boxy vehicles, as well as practical ones. And multipurpose ones. And odd ones. So yes, this purple box caught my attention at Home Depot one day. How could it not? And I’m falling for it already.
This AM General ex-postal van is about as close as it gets to being a cube on wheels. Has there ever been a vehicle whose width was so close to its length and height?
Oh yes, I can think of one. But things can be taken to an extreme, even in France. I’ll pass.
Anyway, there’s just something endearing about a vehicle this short with so much room. Perfect really, for me, as my old-house maintenance vehicle. Keep the tools inside; big enough to haul a hot water heater, or whatever. Rack on top for lumber. I’m liking this more and more.
The right hand drive might be a bit off-putting, but its not like I’m going to be passing folks. And one can get out at the curb so nice and handy! Where do I find one?
I have this weird idea of taking a vintage milk van and converting it to a mini motor home. The purple mail van may be too small for that.
I’ve been having similar weird ideas like that for many decades. They never seem to end.
The Grumman P-10 ice cream van is not as noted as it’s sibling the P-30 StepVan. The P-30 is most often used as a delivery van and now has been eclipsed by Utilimaster (originally owned by Ford and GM had a similiar offering). More common uses of full size vans are UPS and FedEx (now seen using Sprinter conversions).
This is not a P10 or P series of any kind this is a AM General. The reason you don’t see many of the P10 and P 20 models is that they were discontinued back in the 70’s.
The only completely built by one company true step van was the IH Metro and even it in it’s early years was built by the Metropolitan body company, that IH eventually bought. They also made their own “stripped chassis” the MS series for Multi Stop.
At one time you could buy a P series from GM ( chev P X0, GMC PX5) Ford (P X50) and Dodge (Px00).
Dodge got out of the business first concentrating on MH chassis.
GM sold the P 30 line to Navistar who soldiered it on for a couple of years while they designed a new chassis from scratch. The new version is the Wx2 series.
Ford is still in the business with a couple of offerings E-X50 which is pretty much a Econoline sans body and the F5X.
Isuzu offered a stripped chassis version of the NPR called the NRR it was hideous since it was a tilt cab chassis they are almost impossible to do anything to the engine. They have a new from the ground up version the last I checked.
Freightliner offers the MT-X5 series of stripped chassis.
Grumman and Olsen merged a few years ago to form Grumman-Olsen. Utilimaster is a up and coming brand with a unique cantilever cab. UBC is another smaller player. There is also an outfit out of Canada who’s name is escaping me right now.
FedEx is not buying anymore Sprinters and if they need a engine, trans, or Turbo they go straight to the crusher, according to our Jasper rep whom we by lots of engines and trans for P30s in the fleet I maintain. Kinda of strange that they won’t allow them to be sold since they will let the step vans be sold.
UPS sends all of their trucks directly to the crusher, the only things they allow to be removed are the tires, batteries and fluids and they require photo documentation of the complete vehicle going into the crusher from the local yard they send them too.
The reason I know so much about walk-in trucks as they are called now is that I maintain a fleet of over 100 trucks the majority of them walk-ins. The owner of the company has finally stopped buying Sprinters, besides costing too much to buy maintenance and repairs way more than eat up the fuel savings. Plus the drivers hate them as it adds another hour or two to their day and they are paid on commission not by the hour. (which is why Sprinters are no longer a FedEx approved vehicle)
In addition to the Sprinters and P30s there are some F53s and E350, NRR and walk-in trucks built on International School Master chassis and cowls and a lone Ford B600 (B= school bus) based truck.
You could always hook it on the back of your pickup as a trailer it comes equipped I see.
And think of how easy it would be to check the mailbox on the way home!
I remember when the post office was selling these and the old Jeeps in the late 80s starting from $100.
So Paul, did you leave one of those ‘if you ever want to sell this….” notes under the wiper?
I think Barney the purple dinosaur owned that truck.
I think Borat’s ice cream truck was the same model.
gotta love the gauge pod made out of a coffee can! I learned to drive in one of these- and yes, it did come from the post office in the late 80s/early 90s for about $100. However, it was an automatic and had a ‘garage door’ style rear door. It also had the unique option of needing a spoon rather than a key to start. I remember it was only used by the newspaper I worked at to take the papers to the post office to be delivered by bulk, so it was still fulfilling its basic purpose. In 1993, it was replaced by a Volare, which did not handle the load so well, but was much better than the reputation led me to believe.
I was saddened by the loss of the mailvan because I too thought it would be perfect for a mini motor home- and yes, it is long enough to sleep in. Instead, I ended up with a ’65 Corvair coupe for my first car, so I probably shouldn’t complain.
As an aficionado of Post Office rubber, I can say that the more desirable breadbox van was the Kaiser predecessor. It had a flat windshield, helpful in keeping greenhouse heat down, and also GM powertrains.
That said…those were interesting little boxes, charming in their minimalism; but when shopping for one, the buyer needed remember: These were GOVERNMENT-ordered products, which meant the aim was not user satisfaction but compliance with contract.
One can hardly go wrong with a 232 six-cylinder; but most of them were equipped with Warner “Mickey-Mouse” transmissions. And those were a major factor in the limitations of their service life.
There once was, for sale, a perfect bare-metal blank slate Step Van sitting in a supermarket parking lot. This was in high school. My gang wanted it so bad! We hung around it talking about the stunts we could pull with all that space and the big back door. Then it disappeared…and popped up at the police station, all dolled up as an “Incident Command Vehicle.”
Small-town cops, small-town teenagers: bored minds think alike.
A grand will get you one in OK…
You can check out my custom Am General that we use for advertising on facebook.
It has a 350 bored .30 over 16×31 mickeys. Has been chopped 7 inches, lowered 5 inches and body lengthened 11 inches because the tires used to rub on the bumper.
More pics on the facebook site.
Sorry facebook site did not come up in first try.
That’s it thats my Bertha
Here is another cool Post Van chilling in back lot of the university in Missoula.
I’m with Paul here ;
Very basic and utilitarian , males the endearing .
They still pop up from time to time in the local Self Service Junk Yards , few are beyond salvage but really who wants one needing total re paint and driveline repair no matter how straight it is ? .
I used to do maintenance on our local LLVs and always wanted to hot rod and chop the top on one.
They are based on an S10 chassis so it wouldn’t be hard to do, I was thinking of doing a “in progress” show with a picture of Charlton Heston on one side with a spotlight shining on it and garnished with toy rifles and machine guns on both sides.
The next year have the top chopped and leave the picture and guns but chop them as well, a short wide picture with Moses head and feet on the wall along with cut and spliced rifles and machine guns.
Well I thought it would be funny.
‘Cmon. You gotta go with the original ..
The ’63 Studebaker Zip van. big plate glass
window on a tiny Lark chassis. And a 170 OHV engine, to boot!
143 inches in length on a wheelbase of 85 inches
I like that.
I had a “Mini Lindy” plastic model of one of these. (I may still have it) as a kid. Lindberg was a smaller maker of plastic models, which were usually quite simple in comparison to a Revell or even a Monogram. The Mini Lindys were HO scale (or slightly bigger?), I assume mostly made for model railroaders.
I have a few of those in the box yet.
I had a 67 IH stepvan for a DD back when. Loved driving with the doors open.
Used to deliver for Utilimaster when they were starting out. Drove a diesel stepvan to somewhere ritzy on the Mass coast from the midwestern factory. Alternator belt broke on the last day, good thing it was a diesel.