Goin’ Postal: 1976 Jeep DJ-5D

Tucked away somewhere in the woods of Vermont is this retired old postal Jeep.  Erroneously advertised here on Craigslist as a “CJ,” the seller lists the Jeep as being a 1976 model.  Based on that information I’ve taken the liberty of presuming it to be a DJ-5D model which, according to KaiserWillys.com were produced for the U.S. Postal Service in 1975 and 1976.  Although the seller’s advertisement is short on details he does manage to provide some cool photos of this old relic.  His asking price is $450 which doesn’t seem like a bad starting point for someone looking to begin a “Dispatcher Jeep” restoration project.

Described by the seller as “not to [sic] rusty frames [sic] in good shape” this Jeep looks to be in fairly solid condition.  The lichens have certainly taken a “liken” (sorry!) to the front end and the top, but my guess is that issue could be taken care of quite easily with a good cleaning.  There is a bit of surface rust on the sliding door but the worst spot looks to be just behind the rear wheel on the passenger side.  The front portion of the frame is visible in the pictures and from the look of things, the seller is honest in his description.  Further research on the DJ model, thanks to Wikipedia, reveals the reason the grille extends past the hood is to make room for the AMC 6 cylinder motor that was first introduced in 1971.

As far as interiors of old Jeeps found in the woods go, this one doesn’t look too bad.  Honestly, I was expecting to be able to see right through the floor pans to the forest floor, but that’s not the case here.  Since this DJ was used as a mail delivery vehicle, I’m surprised it isn’t a right-hand driver.  I wonder which were more common in the USPS fleet back in the day, left-hand or right-hand DJ’s?  The passenger seat was likely added after the Jeep was retired from the USPS, as mail delivery DJ’s were instead equipped with a tray for the driver to place letters and packages on.  Judging by the old beer can on the passenger seat, this Jeep’s “been settin’ awhile,” as they say.

The seller offers the old “it did run when parked” description of the straight 6, and I think he might be underestimating things a bit by saying it “is going to need some tinkering to run.”  These old mail Jeeps were two-wheel drive and came with an automatic transmission.  So if you were to dole out $450 for this DJ would you restore it to its original USPS mail Jeep specs or attempt to convert it to a 4WD trail buggy?  The latter has been done many times and for someone looking to tackle such a project, there seems to be plenty of help and resources available online.

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  1. Dick Johnson

    Jeepster. I’m too old for doing a major fabrication ( again, where are the pain med ads showing some ol’ bastard like me doing hammer and dolly work instead of shuffle board, eating at a buffet on a cruise ship, etc.) .

    But a Jeepster type mod really appeals.

  2. Kenneth Carney

    Had some friends of mine who delivered
    newspapers that bought these as surplus
    and used them as paper cars. Worked
    fine Monday-Saturday but not on Sundays. All the weight of those Sunday
    papers made them very unstable to the
    point that they would flip over. Saw one
    roll over after leaving our substation.
    No one was hurt, but OMG the mess!
    Hmmmmm. 4-wheel drive kit, mud tires,
    Just what I need to run roiute 2859!!!

    • Dick Johnson

      “You take the high road, an’ I’ll take the low road, as.. all, my, friends, drive lowriders.” Talk about a mixed metaphor.

  3. Classic Steel

    Wow this looks like the project I need once I get out of rehab for collecting junk 👀

    Okay I wish someone luck with the old “we deliver for Yule” two wheel drive basic vehicle…as I am sure it’s low mileage gov vehicle …

  4. M.Balmer Member

    Um,has someone checked to see if there’s still any undelivered mail in the back? Lol

    *(I’m a retired postal worker)

    • Classic Steel

      Good for you 👍

      My dad was a retired small town
      postaster and USAF retired veteran!

      This made me think of the old days..

  5. Steve R

    Does it even have $450 worth of parts?

    Steve R

  6. Steve S

    I seen 1 of these postal Jeep’s turned into a ratrod a few years ago and they kept it right hand steering and I don’t know what size V8 the person owned it put in it and it had a mailbox as an air cleaner andthey kkept the paint white with the red and blue stripes down the sides and it looked pretty neat

    • rancoracing

      Maybe this one

  7. Karl

    I read somewhere that when Jeep got the contract for building these vehicles for the us postal service they paid under 900$ each for them. They used these things for many years till Grumman came and got the bid! Interesting story.

  8. jackthemailman(ret)

    Run! Run far! Run fast! Away from this piece of junk. The only way these Jeeps beat the LLV which replaced them was in maneuverability. Too light to make even a good boat anchor.

  9. Lyman

    The best part of these DJ’s, were the fully boxed frames, if it comes with a title even better, rip off the cab and other sheet metal, and put your CJ body on that frame to replace that broken frame under that CJ, many have done it with great success but it is now registered as a DJ

  10. Metoo

    Does moss/mold count as patina?

  11. Wrong Way

    The steering position is easily answered! Right hand was for rural mail boxes, left hand drive was used in town!

    • jackthemailman(ret)

      Not so. I spent my postal career delivering “town” mail in a right hand drive vehicle. It’s known as “curbline” delivery.

  12. KawiVulc

    Weird – would have thought all the DJ’s were right hand drive but apparently some were used for something other than delivery or perhaps where the carrier’s route starting point was too far away from their station to walk to. Somebody was playing with it for a bit… the radio hole & front wheels wouldn’t be Postal.

  13. Mike

    If postal vans have the driver on the right side, then having lefthand drive means this truck did work in the UK, Australia and/or Japan? :)

    • jackthemailman(ret)

      Not all USPS vehicles are right hand drive; only those for curbline or rural type delivery.

  14. Kiwi Glen

    Kevin Costners old ride?

  15. CaCarDude

    If any of our BF members decide to take the plunge and want to bring this sad looking postal jeep back from the dead.. I have in my possession something you will need first off, a complete service manual. I acquired this from a neighbor who retired after some 30 years with the USPS.

  16. Howard A

    I knew someone once that bought one of these at an auction cheap, because they always wanted a 4 wheel drive Jeep. You can imagine their shock when I pointed out, no front drive axle. They thought all Jeeps were 4 wheel drive.

  17. Ben T. Spanner

    If it was worn out, then it rusted out. A person in Michigan, with a rusty Jeep addiction, recently purchased the remains of one of these. He writes on Jalopnik.com.
    These come up for sale here in Southwest Florida; usually semi running for $500 or so, but always just this wornout and rusty.

  18. Ike Onick

    Best solution.

  19. Bodyman68

    Probably a million miles on that junker . The govt wastes more on old junk then if they updated every 10 years . Good luck to the next owner and may he have deep pockets as hes goin to need them .

  20. Dirk

    Aren’t those things basically worthless even in “good” condition? Not even good for parts, two wheel drive, automatic, six cylinder. Not even the wheels are cool.

  21. Mark Evans

    I think the last time one of these came up someone said that the Supervisor vehicles were left hand drive while the carrier vehicles were right hand.

  22. Saul

    Wheels look like standard issue Ford Ranger/Explorer from the mid 80s to mid 90s, which would make sense as same bolt pattern. Looks like stock Jeep on the rear.

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