How Would You Modify A Retired U.S. Postal Truck?

When the USPS retires the Grumman LLV, how will you mod one?

7w ago

If you live in America or have visited America in the last 33 years, you've probably noticed the cute little boxy trucks delivering mail here. Those trucks are Grumman LLVs, and the USPS will be retiring them soon, as soon as they determine what they will replace them with. Now, one of the nice things about America is that you can buy surplus or retired government vehicles from auctions. And if we can buy retired police cars and Humvees, I think it's very likely we'll be able to buy these mail trucks as well once they're retired! And although these Grumman LLVs aren't much fun to drive stock, they do have a lot of character, which should make them fun candidates for project vehicles.

As far as modding potential goes, the Grumman LLV may actually be surprisingly good. It's powered by GM's Iron Duke four-cylinder, which is not particularly exciting, but the truck is based on a Chevy S10 Blazer chassis, and there is a huge aftermarket for those. The chassis of the LLV does differ slightly from the normal S10 chassis in that it's been widened at the rear, so some aftermarket parts may or may not be compatible without modification, but there's still a lot you can potentially do with it. People build all sorts of things out of Chevy S10s. You can get parts to improve the handling if you want to go canyon carving in your truck, you can build dragsters out of them, they're popular in the mini truck scene so there's plenty of parts for building lowriders out of them... And all of this theoretically applies to the LLV as well! It's a perfect blank slate you can turn into whatever you want, and it'll look cute and charming doing it.

If I were to buy one as a project, I think I'd go the hot rod route with it. First, I'd ditch the Iron Duke and swap a Chevy 350 V8 in there so it can get out of its own way. Then I'd give it airbag suspension so it can get nice and low, and put it on a set of these:

Then probably chop the top, because why the heck not? This thing is so boxy it's probably one of the easiest vehicles you could possibly lower the roof on. And then paint it black with a flame job :)

Or, of course, I could go the complete opposite route and build it into an off-roader to intimidate postal Jeeps. Who knows?

How would you modify your retired mail truck?

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Comments (65)

  • #stancenation

      1 month ago
  • My immediate thought was to chopping and raking the windshield, but then I had a better idea. Raking the windshield, chopping, and making the front the back and vice versa. See, the windshield when raked looks like a '70s take on an old-fashioned '40s bubbleback of some kind, and if you take the nose down far enough to leave spots for four headlights and put a new windshield in over the new nose, you have something really unusual.

    The back axle width being greater - you put in a front truck axle already designed to mount to leaf, and you either use an S10 4wd front axle or (better) a narrowed 9".

    That way it's stable. Stick absolutely whatever engine you want in the front, or if you're feeling perverse, a Toronado drivetrain, forget the truck axle, and make it FWD bigblock. Or RWD/rear engine. Either way, a long-hood '40s-as-viewed-by-70s mescaline atrocity.

      1 month ago
  • C8 Corvette drivetrain in the cargo area. Like an American take on the Transit Supervans.

      1 month ago
  • Keep it in the family of course. Grumman makes rocket engines.

      1 month ago
    • :-D

        1 month ago
    • I approve of this plan. I believe they also made airplane engines during WWII, which could be swapped in the back for something slightly more street legal...

        1 month ago
  • I'd just put in a slightly bigger engine but otherwise would leave it as it is.

      1 month ago
    • Ah, you're going the sleeper route I see ;)

        1 month ago
    • Yes, if the engine wasn't very dreary I'd just leave it stock. I think leaving old cars as original as possible is the best thing one can do. (Of course restoring them true to the original is good as well)

        1 month ago