I’m struggling to find an exact year when Subaru first started selling RHD versions of the Legacy in the US specifically for rural mail carriers, but I do know they stopped doing so in 1999, to the consternation of that market. That’s led to all sorts of Rube Goldberg solutions, but back in 1993, Jeep decided to jump in too, with this Cherokee.
And Jeep will still sell you one today, although quite a few carriers are buying 25+ year old Japanese imports instead. A new Wrangler ain’t exactly cheap (over $40k).
Somebody might know at subaruoutbackdotorg 🙂
It’s a long shot but Subaru of America has some reputation for answering questions also.
I may be wrong but my memory tells the RHD postal Subarus were discontinued in 2009, to free up production capacity for the 4th gen Outback in Indiana. This would imply that the postal wagons were made there and not imported from Japan. Were the postal wagons lifted Outbacks or were they ‘normal’ Legacy wagons, or both?
When we had kids, my wife used to have a hankering for a RHD vehicle like this. Her hearing has never been great, but her right ear is the worst – which made it difficult to hear people talking when she was driving. She saw one of these as a great solution that would make conversations while driving so much easier.
I cannot recall if I knew about these or not. I wish I had known then about the 1963 “Rural Route” version of the Stude Lark, which was also RHD. That would have been a happy solution for both of us. 🙂
I wonder what magazine the Jeep ad came from? The only publication I can image is the magazine of the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association. Great ad!
Subaru began selling the RHD Legacy wagons in the spring of 1991 – press release photo is below. I believe they were standard Legacy L wagons, all in white, just with right-hand-drive.
That time sounds correct. The first one I saw was rolled into Bellevue Subaru (VW/BMW too) early summer of 1991. I got to drive it from out front to the back, before PDI, before the shipping stickers were peeled off. Everything was mirror image from what I was used to. From memory, it was built in Japan, with a different new car smell. All the LHD Legacy sedans and wagons on the lot were built at SIA.
I live in rural Tennessee, and RHD Jeeps are still a regular sight. When they’re not at work, they still catch my attention, but probably not most people. The Legacies weren’t uncommon, either. I remember a maroon one lingered on a used car lot for a while. A few Saturns, too. There’s someone around here who delivers mail with a JDM Honda minivan these days, but she’s not my carrier so I only rarely see it. I can tell an ex-Japan Jeep from one originally sold in the US as RHD by the turn signal repeaters and very tall JDM headrests.
My rural route carrier drove her own RHD Cherokee for years. I was aware of her desire to get a new RHD padded dash cover from Jeep, as her Jeep’s dash top was badly cracked from the sun, however she couldn’t justify the cost, as it was around $800 from Jeep. Since I was a frequent visitor to the UK for car and spare parts buying visits, I was aware of how popular the RHD Cherokee was in England, because they were visible all over the London area.
In 2008 I was in England again, and while wandering around a local breaker’s yard [junkyard] I saw a totaled RHD low mileage Cherokee with a beautiful dash top that had been mostly removed by someone to access the A/C evaporator assembly. I knew the yard’s owner and he always lent me tools to pull various parts I needed. I had it out within about 15 minutes [instead of a couple of hours work], and added the dash top to the various vintage parts I was shipping back to America.
Cost me 10 Pounds. I made her day when I left that big box out at the mailbox, addressed to her [without postage]. And as always, I had excellent mail delivery until I sold the farm and moved.
That was nice of you to help her get that. Keep her truck nicer for her.
I found a video on YouTube many years ago with old Top Gear testing a 4.0 Cherokee. When i first found it, I commented that the DVLA indicated it was still on the road. It isn’t now, but it sure lasted a while over there.
I love the old Cherokees.
Another unusual vehicle from Jeep .
The small town I grew up in (rural NW Illinois) has a Jeep dealer and they started selling the Cherokee RHD models early on. We had a lot of the rural mail carriers who loved them because of the room, ground clearance, 4X4 and being able to get it in the RHD. When Jeep stopped producing the Cherokee, that dealer had lots of customers who still wanted one, so they began to convert Wranglers and even a few Liberty’s over to RHD. They built a huge nationwide business out of that and still sell a lot all over the country. However, I think you can now order the RHD Wranglers from the factory, so they just sell them and no longer convert from LHD to RHD. I think the company (separate from the dealership) is called Postal Pete?
Apologies for being off course, but Saab used to do RHD 9000 CS units for the Swedish Postal Service.
As an Australian, this RHD Jeep looks perfectly normal to me. The drivers certainly sitting on the ´right and correct side’. For Australians like myself, the unusual models are the LHD versions. Interesting ad, nevertheless.
One of the minor annoyances of using a JDM right had drive car is that the turn signal and wiper control stalks are reversed from LHD or even UK RHD cars. You need to use the left stalk to signal and the right stalk for the wipers.
I have no problem when I get a UK spec RHD drive car as a rental, but I’m constantly turning on the wipers when I try to signal with a JDM RHD car. A postal carrier would presumably get used to their vehicle, but I’ll bet it still get frustrating if they also routinely drive another LHD car.
Also sold in the UK…..
We typically see LHD street/gutter sweeper trucks, but the postman has to make do with RHD and legs.