Zip Vans and the Mailster
Frank Murtinger of Minneapolis writes that the 1963-1964 Studebaker Zip Van (shown here) was surprisingly similar to the currently in use LLV in design.
"I had a chance to drive a restored one of these and they seemed well built and performed well. These Studebakers were actually the last trucks to be produced by the brand, and Studebaker built these especially for the U.S. Postal Service," Murtinger says.
According to the article, "Its compact size and maneuverability were ideal for getting around recently developed suburban areas. By the end of the 1950s, one-third of the USPS fleet was comprised of this vehicle. While higher-ups in the postal service were more than enthusiastic about the Mailster's potential, the people actually driving the Mailster hated it, according to Nancy Pope of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum."
It goes on to say, "Complaints from letter carriers assigned to Mailsters ranged from the front wheel getting stuck in trolley tracks to constant breakdowns, Pope says, and even one report of a massive dog toppling the vehicle. After many complaints and malfunctions, the postal service opted for the more reliable and sturdy Jeep to serve as the centerpiece of its fleet."
To read the entire article, click here.