Right Hooker: 1974 Postal Scout

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Over the years, any number of right-hand drive ex-postal service vehicles have ended up in junkyards or for sale on craigslist. I’ve seen old Jeeps and Subaru Legacies, primarily, which is why this 1974 International Scout here on craigslist caught me by surprise. Have you ever seen a postal carrier version of the company’s popular 4×4? 

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I’d love to know how many of these trucks were originally made. It has to be a rare find, as even if a few thousand were built, how many likely remain? I often wonder why the postal vehicles somehow escape the fate that other “not for public use” vehicles receive, which is usually death by crushing. I’ve seen numerous intact Subarus and Jeeps in scrapyards or for sale.

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The Scout is said to have run well before being parked about eight years ago. This solitary shot of the interior makes it look reasonably sound, but the body is rough. The seller says there is evidence of old bodywork, so that will likely be the biggest challenge for the next owner as the mechanical components will still be easy to source replacements for.

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The Scout will come with its original hardtop, though it’s been taken off the vehicle for at least a little while. If you’re a purist, the original seats are long-gone so whatever is inside and soaking up the rain will likely be tossed anyway. This unusual Scout has a clean title and is in Sumter, South Carolina, where it’s been since new. Anyone feel like building an true postal carrier recreation?

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Comments

  1. whippeteer

    Postal vehicles have never been designated as “not for private use.” They’ve always been sold as surplus with titles.

  2. Dave Wright

    This one as most postal scouts I have seen is a 2 wheel drive. AMC engine, most were used well beyond their normal lifespan. These vehicles were not owned by the USPS but by postmen that bid on rural routes and used there own vehicles. This is best a parts vehicle.

  3. Todd Zuercher

    We had one in my hometown of Prescott, AZ. It was a blue 1980 model and one of my neighbors used it as a carrier. Another friend used it on his route years later. I’d be curious if it still exists. I believe it may have had the Nissan diesel.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Todd. It’s interesting how the diesel powered Scouts weren’t all that popular in the day but they’re gaining in demand today. If one wandered over into the Chinook Belt I’d be tempted to go for it. I work in the diesel business every day so a truck so-powered would (sort of) play right into my hands.

      • Dave Wright

        The Nissan diesels used in the 80’s Scouts and Dodge cars was junk. We had many in marine use as well. No parts availability and few people that could or would work on them. Earlier IHC used Perkins that is a great motor even though the ones they used were a little under powered. I have 4 marine Nissans in my yard that have no value, they will go to the smelter with my next run. They were all removed and replaced with Cummins 6BT 210 hp marine engines. It was cheeper to repower than repair the low hour Nissans.

  4. Mark

    When I was growing up our mail carrier (contract carrier on a rural route) had 1 of these. I wonder if maybe they were never actually used by the United States Postal Service but instead were manufactured and sold for this use?

    • Dave Wright

      They were on the IHC option list at the dealer.

  5. Skip

    First one of these I’ve seen in some time. My longtime best friend, long since deceased, Jimmy Logan had one when we lived in Lubbock. It was the Postal model with right hand drive. I got to drive it a few times, and learning that right hand drive was quite the challenge.

    Jimmy and I were both part of a REACT team and volunteer ambulance service back then, and he had a big detachable beacon on top and small siren under hood. Made for a neat, if not unusual, first response vehicle.

    Sometime after he married in the late ’70s he traded the Scout off, much to my chagrin. I would’ve liked to have had it, and he apologized for not thinking about that when he traded it. It was a fun little truck while it lasted.

  6. John K

    Wow I’m getting old. When I was growing up I remember one of the nearby Post Offices (central Maine region) had a few of these. I clearly remember them being RHD, although I’m hazy about them being 4×4.

  7. Paul

    You can still buy a RHD Jeep for carrier use. These are purchased by the carrier for use on their route where they must supply the vehicle. The PO only supplies the vehicle on some routes, the mail carrier does so on others and is paid per mile. Hence the RHD Subarus, etc. You can also buy conversion kits to make your LHD into a RHD on most any car. There is a linkage to a second wheel and pedal assembly.

    • roselandpete

      In my area, rural carriers used to use their own vehicles but they were all assigned those little trucks (LLVs) a few years ago. I guess the PO figured it would save on paying the carriers mileage.

  8. Rustowner

    Cool! I had one of these years ago. Bought it during the very late 80’s in Poughkeepsie NY from a Vassar college student from Maine. V8, 4wd with a full top on it. Got LOTS of looks driving down the street and even more questions at the gas station. The line sheet was still in the glovebox along with all the original manuals. As was said above, this was a factory option.

  9. Howard A Member

    This is a pretty sorry excuse for a Scout. The Scout was a great vehicle. Of the so called “modern” IH trucks, I feel was one of the best 4×4’s to come down the pike. The original SUV, as it were. This one, however, embodies almost none of those qualities, being a 2 wheel drive, and RHD complicates the issue( unless you are from England, of course) Living in a rural area, I never saw an IH postal truck, they were usually the owners cars, AMC Eagle wagons, and Subaru Outbacks were pretty common. This, I’m sure, was a city rig, as 4 wheel drive is imperative in the country. I’d say parts on the IH postal truck.

  10. Terry

    A buddy of mine had one of these in the 80s. Late one night we were headed to a swap meet when a cop pulled us over. He walked up and shined a light into the “driver seat” where a guy was sleeping soundly. The guy woke up and rolled down the window. Cop told him he had a taillight out and asked for his license! Guy made a steering motion and gestured to where the wheel should be. Poor cop was really confused for a minute. Fun times.

    Like 1
    • Neal

      That’s FUNNY!

  11. Mike

    There is a Guy that to this day drives a Postal Scout, out of the Park Hills, Mo Post Office, he is a rural carrier and bought the Scout With Right Hand steering, he bought it through the Postal Service, brand new. I see it ever so often headed out of town. It has got some rust issues, but he only has 4 more years till he retires, and then he will park it for the last time.

    Like 1
  12. chad

    Dave Wright
    They weren’t Isuzzus?

    • Dave Wright

      No they were Nissans……

      • Dave Wright

        Earlier ones were Perkins…..

      • Neal

        Don’t think Scouts ever came with Perkins diesels, though. I’ve seen ads for some other/earlier light-line trucks (pickups and Travelalls) with the Perkins, but I thought Scouts only came with Nissan diesels, and only after ’76.

  13. chad

    I meant the late yrs…Scout II? The ‘bigger’ guys w/a 6cyl.

  14. Dave Wright

    They were Nissans

  15. chad

    …too.

  16. chad

    trouble is…the converted RHD usually blew out the fnt end (linkage, knuckles, etc), most get rid-o-them after just a few mi..

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