DaimlerChrysler’s Chrysler Group has re-introduced a special right hand drive “Postal Unit” version of the Jeep Wrangler for the US postal service.
Built at the Stickney Avenue assembly plant in Toldeo, Ohio, the new right-hand drive Jeep derivative positions the postman on the kerb side, enabling him to place mail into rural mail boxes in drive-on-the-right America, without leaving his seat.
The petrol-powered four-litre automatic 2003 Wrangler Postal Unit is a hard top with full metal doors and roll up windows to keep the mail secured, while the interior has a removable rear seat providing ample space for bulk mail and packages.
Standard features include cloth-trimmed front seats and a four-speaker radio-cassette unit [do US postmen not have CDs?].
A Dana 44 heavy-duty rear axle with Trac-Lok, P215/75R15 Wrangler all-terrain tyres, full-face wheels and a full-size spare tyre are also specified for postal use.
US retail price is $20,253 plus a $610 “destination charge” and the vehicle is offered in a choice of 10 colours.
RHD Jeeps have been sold to US postal services since immediately after World War 2. Army-surplus and standard production versions were used from 1945 but it was not until 1955 that Jeep built its first model specifically for postal service use – the Dispatcher (DJ3A).
Based on the Jeep Universal (CJ3A) introduced in 1949, the Dispatcher was available until 1964 and was equipped with a flat four engine to cut costs. The two-wheel drive model featured a hard top and sliding doors.
The second Dispatcher (DJ5) model, produced from 1965-83, was based on the standard US market Jeep CJ5 with improvements to power output, axles, transmission and seating comfort.
The last Jeep built specifically for postmen was the 2001 Jeep Cherokee.