Cliff Clavin Would Want The New Mail Truck


Normally Art of Gears focuses on performance vehicles, race cars, or collector cars. We’re not elitist but sometimes you forget about the service vehicles in the background that make life easier and take care of us in relative silence.

Buses, garbage trucks, big rigs (unless The Snowman is driving), and delivery vehicles are the anonymous soldiers, the grunts but now the U.S. Postal Service is updating their fleet.

The U.S. Postal Service recently announced that they have awarded a 10-year contract to Oshkosh Defense to produce 50,000 to 165,000 postal vehicles and the deal with have an initial investment of $482 million. The new trucks will start delivering mail in 2023.

Known as the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) it will be a right-hand drive purpose built vehicle for mail delivery. The NGDV will have either an internal combustion engines or a battery electric powertrain that can be retrofitted for technological advances.

“Our fleet modernization also reflects the Postal Service’s commitment to a more environmentally sustainable mix of vehicles,” Postmaster and USPS Chief Executive Officer DeJoy said. “Because we operate one of the largest civilian government fleets in the world, we are committed to pursuing near-term and long-term opportunities to reduce our impact on the environment.”

The NGDV will have features and technology that would make Cliff Clavin jealous.

For safety there is advanced braking, traction control 360-degree cameras, front and rear-collision avoidance systems with automatic braking.

The Next Generation Delivery Vehicle is technologically advanced.

The USPS has not updated their fleet in three decades.

On the streets of North America the Grumman Long Life Vehicle (LLV) still delivers mail to us and our Canadian neighbors. The model name, LLV, is apt for a vehicle that was produced from 1987-1994 and the USPS has roughly 140,000 of them in their fleet. Specifications for the LLV will not make a car connoisseur salivate:

Engine: 2.5-liter inline-four “Iron Duke” engine with fuel injection that produced 90hp.

Transmission: Turbo-Hydramatic three-speed automatic transmission. 

Wheelbase: 100.5-inches

Curb Weight: 2,700lbs 

The chassis was based on the 1982 Chevy S-10 truck and the LLV has a 1,000lbs cargo capacity.

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To put this in context, the “Iron Duke” was an engine option for the 1982 Chevrolet Camaro and that model made Time Magazines “50 Worst Cars of All Time” list. The list noted that it “had 0-60 mph acceleration of around 20 seconds”.

It’s safe to assume that the upcoming NGDV will not be a track-day option but it will be a safer option on the road and with a battery electric powertrain option it is better for the environment. Ultimately the NGDV is progress.