I’m not sure it’s still for sale, but a couple of months back I stumbled into this veteran Jeep DJ5 Dispatcher not far from my house. I bet it’s got a few miles under its belt.
$1500, OBO. With new tires and a rebuilt transmission; what a deal.
And with right hand drive, of course. Maybe someone from the UK is interested? Roger? I bet there’s no others over there.
It’s still got the US Mail signs on it; presumably it was used by a contract carrier after its days with the USPS were over. Robert Kim wrote one up that was still hauling the mail a few years back. And I saw one about a year ago still at it too. These things are hard to kill.
This has the longer, protruding nose, which indicates that an AMC six is under the hood. The ones from the Kaiser Jeep era had the old F-head four. Simple and rugged; these are about as an ideal long-life vehicle as it gets. But who would want to drive one, except for the purpose intended for it?
I once read that this model was the only right hand American car ever built.
No cars for export to Japan or the UK
Don’t know if they’re still available but, a few years ago, I saw a brand-new, right-hand-drive Patriot for sale on a Jeep dealer’s lot.
WE have plenty of RHD Jeeps here Fiatsler has been selling them here for some tears now, even the old models came in RHD they just were quite expensive and not popular compared to the competition from Nissan Toyota and Landrover.
IIRC, Saturn built a RHD that was exported to Japan where less after 4 years of sales only 4324 cars were sold and Subaru (in their Indiana joint venture plant?) that were also popular with rural mail carriers.
SPORT COMPACT CAR reported that Honda built RHD Accords in Ohio that were sold in the U.K.
I’ve often wondered how hard it would be to re-body one of these DJ Jeeps….are they unitized or B-O-F?
Up to 1997 the Accord wagon was ONLY built in Ohio, and exported to Japan as well as UK/Ireland and Australia/NZ.
If you go back to the early 1900s, there were some US manufacturers that placed the wheel on the right. However, this was all in the early days of the industry.
There were American cars built for export with RHD, such as an Auburn I saw at the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, Indiana. However, it seems a lot of the time any conversion was made by a third party upon arrival in the country it was to be sold.
Um…what? No. There have been numerous American cars built with right-hand drive for export to LH-traffic countries and special-service domestic use, going back many decades. Just off the topic: Ford Taurus, Chrysler Valiant, Vision, PT Cruiser, Voyager, and Neon; Chevrolet Cavalier and Cruze, Jeep Cherokee and Wrangler and Grand Cherokee, Dodge Dart and Polara and Caliber, and many, many more.
GM built full-size A and later B-bodies for export, mainly in the Oshawa, Ontario plant to take advantage of Commonwealth tariff preferences. As a rule the factory built RHD cars used a variation of the first year (’55, 59, 61, 65) Chevy dash across all divisions and through the whole design cycle. They were mainly replaced by the Holden Statesman which was branded a Chevrolet outside Aus/NZ.
I guess you’re right, they are tough to kill. It may have been because of the variety of Navy mechanics that were working on it or the variety of drivers, but I had one that was easy to wound and put temporarily out of action. In 1978 I went to Guam and took over the security branch of one of the stations there. Our security vehicle was one of these postal jeeps and our problem with it was that it wouldn’t keep running. Slow patrols except for bank runs once a week. Due to down time I managed to talk the motor pool into swapping and got a late model Dodge pickup out of the deal.
IIRC that was a 318 and it seems that nothing stopped it. That truck set the picture in my mind of Dodge pickups being right at the top. 4 decades later Dodge still gets slack that other brands might not get.
As with all such Jeeps, useful space looks pretty limited; did postal carriers complain about that? The Grumman LLV’s larger size implies to me this was an issue, or else it was the revolution in parcel delivery since the Jeep’s introduction.
I’m pretty sure that the United States Postal Service handles more parcels than it used to. Their flat-rate packaging supplied at no extra cost helps. I do around 5-10 packages a week with USPS. I suspect that ebay may be a big factor in USPS business volume in general.
Apparently, Jeep Wrangler Unlimiteds can still be ordered in RHD for postal duty. Late in the Dispatch’s run. customers not opting for the AMC straight 6 got Jeeps powered by GM’s Iron Duke.
The Dispatches were all two-wheel drive and reportedly were the last domestic vehicles with front drum; brakes, according to Wikipedia.
That thing would look sweet restored in the white top/blue lower half with the red stripe as a divider around the middle,as the USPS had,when I was a kid.
i learn something new everyday. i didn’t know the extended snout meant a 6 cyl. how light were these? should be pretty peppy unladen with an 6 no? as mr stern mentioned above i too heard that some jeeps, and suburbans could be special ordered with RHD for domestic use. there is no law in any state prohibiting registering or operating a new or used RHD car.
I’d give $1200 for it. It would be ideal for me.
In ’75 a friends mother down the street bought a used ’69 Kaiser era DJ5 to deliver mail. I should say his father did after she banged up and knocked the right mirror off the family’s73 LTD. It had the flat grill and was powered by a 153 cid. Chevy 4 cyl. and power glide trans. Oddly enough I’ve seen them in marine use and Dispatchers but not actual ChevyII / Nova.
I had a friend who owned a 69 or early 70 version and I know that it had the Chevy 4 mated to a PG. I am not sure when Kaiser Jeep started using the Chevy four, but they finished out their run with them.
As lightweight as the thing was, it was far from underpowered.
Neat little trucklet .
The Feds gave L.A.P.D. a whole bunch of these free in 198? . , all were the mid 1970’s versions , everyone but me , hated them .
Tough little buggers, they seem to just soldier on. I have seen 3 powerplants for these, the AMC 199/232 with a Borg automatic, the Iron Duke with a glide, and a Teledyne-Continental branded diesel with the Borg behind it. The diesel was an official Post Office experiment, the owner had all of the P.O. paperwork and parts books for it. He used it on a rural route for years. It ran well and was super efficient with plenty of power.
I saw one or two DJ5s, stripped of their PO finery, in the student parking lots when I was in college in the late 70s, so they were auctioning them off before the LLV came out.
From my pic file, spanky new DJ5s on the line in the former Studebaker Plant 8 (service parts warehouse) in South Bend.
I remember that one of the TV news shows of the late 70s or early 80s did a hitpiece on how dangerous these were. Lots of folks had bought them as cheap second wheels from Postal Service surplus, and (surprise) they lacked a lot of safety equipment, and were not very good places to be in crashes. They were also tall and narrow and could be a little tippy under the wrong conditions.
But I don’t remember the story having any serious legs, and folks kept driving them. I do believe that the Postal Service stopped selling surplus vehicles to the general public at some point. Can anyone confirm this?
I remember that one of the TV news shows of the late 70s or early 80s did a hitpiece on how dangerous these were.
Probably picked up the ball after 60 Minutes did it’s hitpiece on the CJ5. If anything, the DJ5 had a lower CG than the CJ5, especially the way the CJ was being lifted at that time.
I do believe that the Postal Service stopped selling surplus vehicles to the general public at some point. Can anyone confirm this?
I don’t think I have ever seen an LLV in civilian use, though I haven’t seen an early one with a Grumman badge on it in postal use in a very long time. Of course, i don’t hang out on college campuses, like I did when I saw people driving DJ5s back in the day.
Repurposing postal vans might be a lost art.
That’s a sad end .
I never knew the blue ones were made at the same time as the white ones…
Anybody know if this DJ5 is still for sale?