It took taking a walk over to the east side of town to see this Uplander doing postal service. There’s none over on my side of town; it’s all Caravans, Promasters and of course the Grumman LLV, which is still the most common one in my immediate neighborhood. I didn’t realize these Uplanders were still in the service, but then they’re young compared to the LLVs, which were all built between 1987 and 1994. A genuine curbside classic!
What’s delivering the mail to your house?
Nice one, I don’t see too many Uplanders these days, they’ve all gone upland I guess. Or more likely downland…
Canada Post uses a lot of little Ford Transit vans to haul local mail around. The Amazon guy who frequents our neighborhood has a white Grand Caravan.
A Grumman stops at our house daily.
The Uplanders in postal livery are few and far between. I’ve seen one or two at a large post office in Kansas City and remember there being one at the post office when we lived in St. Joseph, about an hour north of KC.
This reminds me about having actually driven an Uplander long ago. It was in the fleet at work, assigned to the attorney. It’s still there, rarely driven and nearly fifteen years old.
“It was in the fleet at work, assigned to the attorney.”
*Everybody* hates lawyers. 🙂
Our local post office runs a fleet of Grummans, an older (4th generation) Caravan, and a Ford Focus, which I assume is used for non-delivery travel, or by a postal inspector.
I haven’t seen an Uplander postal vehicle in a few years — there’s a repair shop near me that must have a USPS contract because their lot often contains various postal vehicles. The most unusual one I’ve seen recently was a 1980s-era Dodge pickup… looked like it was still in active service, though obviously getting repaired for something.
It’s hard to kill a Dodge pickup of that vintage. It’s likely got another ten to fifteen good years left in it.
ALL still Grummans in MA.
I have seen those Uplanders around here and there. More surprising is the occasional postal Windstar, but surely those have to be gone by now.
An LLV here. Six days a week I here the distinctive drone of an S-10 4 cylinder straining against the torque converter as our postal carrier hits the gas to advance to the next grouping of mailboxes. These have to spend 95% of their time in first gear.
I just found the 1997 news announcement when the USPS heralded the Windstar as the solution to its problems.
Hindsight truly is 20/20.
Hey there were still a lot of Windstars running around in Seattle, which is mostly walking routes, until they started getting the Promasters. So ~20 years. Some of them were still able to move under their own power when put up for auction which is rare for this area.
LLV here as well. I ponder whether or not I will outlive the LLV, a decade ago I was surer of it. Talk about cockroach of the roads…
Like many others here, we’re served by the Grumman LLV, although it’s a facelifted version of the original. The rear door no longer has the USPS logo on it either. It’s just plain white.
The LLV makes itself known several minutes before it shows up at our mailbox due to its throaty exhaust. I don’t even have to look out the window to know when it shows up. The rear cargo hatch also squeaks like crazy, so I know when myself or a close neighbor receives a package.
And now that I think about it, we’ve also had the same driver for at least sixteen years now. I remember getting acquainted with him when I was anticipating my college admission letters back in 2004.
That exhaust note in the LLV is SO recognizable…no question that hte mail has been delivered. My mail carrier got his hand slapped for installing a fan that blew on his face, he was told it’s non-standard equipment and a hazard in the event of a collision, so no more fan.
Earlier LLVs are powered by GM/Pontiac Iron Duke 2.5L fours, which have a distinct burble I recall from a 1982 Phoenix. Some later LLVs switched to the newer GM 2.2L four which was quieter.
The LLV itself is a hazard in a collision. They are horrible in snow too. No one who drives one likes them. No one.
All the dogs in the neighborhood know that sound so well
Uplander…your mail must be perpetually late lol.
Mostly LLV’s in my part of California, occasionally a ProMaster, less frequently a Caravan or Windstar, though I haven’t seen the Ford in several months. I’ve seen Uplanders fairly recently, but not in my town.
I live in a smal rural town, so the USPS driver’s us their own cars. They usually use an older Jeep Cherokee in the winter and a Buick Lesabre in summer.
Those are the rural carriers. Part of the contract is that they supply their own vehicle. I thought there was a limit to how old it can be but that can’t be correct, given that some of them are still delivering mail in the Jeep Dispatcher that they quit making in 1983.
There is no limit to how old or what it is, just as long as you can fit all the mail for the route + big packages and it does not break down.
Usually it’s a Grumman LLV here in Tualatin. In Portland I see a number of Uplanders, Promasters, and some 5th generation Dodge Minivans. Wonder how close to death these USPS Uplanders are?
I’m sure if I visited the post office in Kenton Portland I’d see a 4th generation Dodge Minivan and some other rarer vehicles. I’ve even seen a Dodge Magnum with USPS stickers instead of license plates. When I moved here in 2013 I remember a few Windstars still being used, but not anymore. I’ve seen a few Aerostars in private hands around town that used to be owned by the USPS.
Still some Uplanders here in Chicago, but the Promaster has started to take over.
Must suck to deliver mail in a LHD car/van/whatever, but at least you’re getting some exercise.
Around here they only use those for walking routes, where the mailbox is on the house. And yeah you get some exercise, The carrier that did the area where I used to own some duplexes told me that he liked a walking route and kept it even though there were times when he could have taken a motor route. Of course he had an LLV anyway.
The Grummans were common around here until a few years ago, but now my neighborhood is serviced by a Ram Promaster – a long and tall one. The mail guy told me the nature of mailed items has changed drastically over the last decade, with most of the van now filled with packages ordered from online vendors, and fewer thin envelopes due to increased electronic communications for billing and such replacing postal mail. The smaller Grummans just won’t do anymore, and those old Jeeps would be way to small for modern use.
I don’t recall seeing any Chevy vans used as postal vehicles, though a few Dodge Caravan C/Vs did, alont with some Transits and Mercedes Sprinters.
One of the literal 100-million+ Honda Super Cubs out there.
Occasionally, however, we get a postie (postman) on the round who likes riding his pushbike. Lovely fellow.
Our Grumman LLV looks like the one pictured below.
My dog Molly starts barking as soon as she hears that Iron Duke….
At my primary residence we have the old stand by LLV. However at our other place it is a Step Van since they have massive clusters of boxes. I’ve went into town to the store and came back to see the person still there.
For the mini-vans used on walking routes around here they were mainly Windstars and to a lesser extent Caravans, but I do think I’ve seen a Uplander or two. Most if not all were replaced with Promasters in recent years.
Guess I should have went and taken a look before I finished that post. But you too can have your very own Postal Uplander. https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?fa=Main.Item&itemid=11518&acctid=6250 As with most of the vehicles sold by the USPS in my area it has a major issue.
Wonder if that Uplander really only has 65,000 miles on it.
Most of those vehicles don’t actually have to travel very far, and they practically never go on a long trip. But keep in mind those are 65,000 very hard miles, most likely why the transmission is shot.
Around here the vans are used for park and walk routes, so this most likely suffered from never fully warming up for its entire life. A couple of miles to the first stop, get out and walk a loop of a couple of blocks, end up back at the truck drive it a few blocks and do another loop and repeat. Maybe if they bring their lunch and it is cold or hot let it idle while they eat.
This is older but I doubt that much has changed as far as the average miles per day and the mix of routes. https://greatbusinessschools.org/usps-long-life-vehicle/ Which shows that at least for the LLVs they average 18 mi per day.
For this if you figure it was in service ~300 days per year for ~12 years. 65,000/3600 = 18.3 miles per day or right on average.
Good points you two.
Grumman LLV are the usual ones seen driving around. There are a few Caravans, but those are rarely used on the Carrier’s daily route.
Had to look up when the Chevy Uplander was built (2005-2009). Never understood why GM kept playing change the names game. A friend & I drove a then new Uplander from Chicago to North Dakota & back, easy to remember the date of the trip as it was during the Hurricane Katrina debacle, but the Uplander was very forgettable.
The audio signature of the LLV has to be one of the most distinctive internal combustion sounds of urban life, along with unmuffled Harley’s and 2 stroke leaf blowers. When I hear it, I know our mail is coming soon, and when I hear the distinctive beep of the carrier scanning the barcode inside our mailbox, I know it is here. Though usually just junk mail addressed to the ten-years-gone prior owner.
This oddball shows up in my neighborhood for a few weeks at a time. It is driven by our regular USPS employee letter carrier. I think it must be a spare that they bring out on occasion. Anyone else ever see one painted like this?
Well Bias Ply, considering that one has license plates I wonder if it is privately owned. You can buy them used.
Good catch on the license plate. I had never noticed that the postal trucks don’t have plates. It must be privately owned. Thanks Teddy.
4251982 on the roof was this LLV’s USPS vehicle number. It has been stripped of all other USPS graphics. This LLV is privately owned.
That is a rural carrier that got put on swing shift for city assistance. They are using a civilian model Grumman that was sold on private markets (note the emblem under the side windows)
Something like this.
Mostly LLVs & a few rusty Caravans in Green Bay. The small town of Algoma on the shore of Lake Michigan has an Uplander.
John Prine wrote many of his early songs “in his head” as he was delivering mail in the Chicago area. Then he would write them down when he got home. Don’t know what he was driving.
My mail is delivered by a rural contract driver. She has a very CC worthy RHD XJ Cherokee. The backup guy has a Saturn Vue, and when that isn’t running he rents a U-Haul GMC Savana which he drives from the passenger seat.
Gosh, that must be hard on his hip, driving a GMC Savana from the passenger seat. The rural carrier when I was growing up did the same with a 94 Caravan and needed hip surgery.
Grumman LLVs here too. I’ve seen uplanders in Chicago but overwhelmingly the old standby remains, Iron duke power(to my discerning ear) and all. It will be a strange day when I stop seeing them, they’ve been the mailtruck through my lifetime
I assume there was some shady political deal behind the Grumman LLV. Or was a defense contractor really more qualified to build a mail truck than Ford, GM or Chrysler?
Grumman has been building its Grumman-Olson step vans since WW2. And aluminum canoes. And a number of other business lines other than defense.
Building high quality aluminum (long life) vans for over half a century did make them rather more qualified to build the LLV than Fod, GM or Chrysler, by a long shot. And GM provided the chassis anyway. This is how step vans have been built for almost forever.
My area throughout Batesburg-Leesville & Saluda, SC used to use Ford Rangers & XJ Jeep Cherokees for most of the main delivery services. Now most of the vehicles are TJ or JK Wranglers (especially 4-door Unlimited models) with an occasional Patriot thrown into to the mix. It seems logical to use Jeeps for rural delivery as the Grumman LLV’s predecessor for that role was the Jeep DJ, the 2WD version of the CJ series. I’ve lately seen an ’80s-to-’90s-vintage Toyota Land Cruiser making mail stops also. It’s likely the only one in the entire fleet.
Get closer to Columbia and THAT’S when you’ll see more of the LLVs, (Grand) Caravans & ProMasters. Then there are also larger trucks that resemble the LLV in basic shape but are longer & are based on a step-van chassis (The LLV uses the frame from the Chevrolet S-10). I think FedEx uses this setup too. They look like this:
Those are 1/2 tons. They are used for large parcel routes and downtown routes with extremely large mail loads (offices and bulk mail).
Jeeps/Land Cruisers whatever you are seeing are used by rural carriers and are their own personal vehicles, the USPS does not provide them and they have no association with the USPS.
After living in an Uplander year round in western Canada and doing amazing mountain day hikes, YouTuber Foresty Forest finally sold his in December. Gone but not forgotten. One blown transmission aside, this may be the best publicity Uplanders ever had.