A great release from GreenLight Collectibles in time for Christmas 2018, is a 1/64-scale Postal Jeep which they call a 1971 Jeep DJ-5, and actually represents a DJ-5B (see The DJ-5 Dispatchers on CJ3B.info.)
This is part of GreenLight's Norman Rockwell Series 1 (180K JPEG). The set of six delivery vehicles inspired by Norman Rockwell illustrations has a definite Christmas focus, with the possible exception of the "mobile dental office." Suggested price for the set is $30.
GreenLight is reportedly also issuing a model in the later white U.S. Postal Service livery. They also call this one a 1971 DJ-5, and theoretically it could be a '71 DJ-5B repainted in 1979, when the USPS made the switch to all-white. But the version built by AM General in 1979, with the AMC 4-cylinder engine, was designated DJ-5G.
These all-new DJs are a big improvement over GreenLight's 2017 stab at making a postal Jeep, in the form of a 1991 YJ Wrangler (130K JPEG).
This 1/24-scale "1954 U.S. Mail Truck" is based on a high-hood Willys CJ-3B. The 1998 model from the Danbury Mint's mail truck series is similar to a 1954 prototype built by Willys and rejected by the U.S. Postal Service.
Willys apparently produced six more high-hood prototypes in 1958, but the post office ended up waiting until well into the 1960s before finally replacing the aging DJ-3A with the new DJ-5A. (See more details in U.S. Mail Via CJ-3B on CJ3B.info.)
Steve Perialas provided CJ3B.info with some documentation on this model's background. RJ Studios, Inc., the company which actually created this Jeep for the Danbury Mint, took measurements from a CJ-3B restored by George Byam, which now belongs to Steve. They also measured Byam's DJ-3A Surrey, and a right-hand-drive postal DJ chassis which he located. See some of the photos taken by RJ Studios, with their letter to George Byam (70K JPEG).
This information suggests that the model's high-hood design may have been coincidental rather than intentional. The designers may not have been fully aware of the differences between various Jeep models, but it is still not clear why they decided to base the model on the CJ-3B.
The engine and interior of the model are detailed, as can be seen in Peter Pearson's photos with the hood open (20K JPEG) and door open (20K JPEG).
Further specs on the Mail Truck, priced new at US$129, are in a brochure: see the front (190K JPEG) and back (220K JPEG).
A USPS DJ was part of the 1/43-scale Diecast Jeep Colección for Latin America in 2016, from Ixo Models in China.
If this model represents a factory paint job, it would be a DJ-5G or subsequent version, built after 1979 when the blue and white USPS paint scheme was changed to all-white. See also a front view (100K JPEG) showing the distinctive protruding front grille, added by AMC to accommodate straight-6 engines in the 1970s.
The first Matchbox U.S. Mail Jeep in 1978 was an American release, labelled with the Roman Numeral "No.II" and the "Sleet-N-Snow" nickname from the U.S. Postal Service motto, on the baseplate. The original color was powder blue (40K JPEG); the darker blue came later.
Both the "No.38" (military Jeep) and "No.II" baseplates appeared on all versions of the flatfender Matchbox Jeep in any livery during 1978. The identical No.5 U.S. Mail Truck (25K JPEG) was first issued in 1979, and the "No.5" baseplate gradually replaced the other numbers on all Jeeps from 1979 onward. Variations of the No.5 Mail Jeep included black hubcaps instead of silver, and larger side windows (30K JPEG).
Variation photos courtesy of Christian Falkensteiner's website.
There is also a Mickey Mouse Jeep which has two variations based on this casting. One of the two variations has a "Mickey's Mail Jeep" tampo on the hood; see Cartoon Jeep Toys on CJ3B.info.
Siku (made in West Germany) issued a Postal Jeep based on its CJ-5 casting #1053. It was a white body with a white top, 66mm (2.5 inches) long. The rarer variation on the right in the picture is a pearl coat white body with the same white plastic top.
Playart (made in Hong Kong) did a U.S. Mail Jeep based on their CJ-7 casting. This version had the silver details on the lights and the bumper hitch, but another variation was a darker blue without the silver details.
Avon released a Mail Jeep in its aftershave series. It is blue glass with a white top and a blue cap on the back. The decals were included in the package, and you had to apply them yourself. The box it came in was a Rural Free Delivery cardboard mailbox (80K JPEG).
A tin Postal Jeep bank, made by Western Stamping Corp. in Korea. It is painted in the USPS colors with the U.S. Mail logo on the side doors. "Jeep" is embossed in the rear door. Windows are blue tinted. The bank/coin opening is on the top; the stopper on the bottom is the access to the coins. Plastic lights are are on front and back (orange and red top/bottom on back). It is 8-1/2 inches long and has rubber tires.
This casting from Banthrico is also a bank, with the coin slot in the bottom. Like the tin bank above, this model is actually based on the DJ-5A series of Jeeps we know as the Postal Jeep, rather than on an existing CJ toy.
This FC-170 Forward Control truck is a Comet casting which was distributed through Jeep dealers. For a long time we didn't know whether FC's were actually used by the U.S. Postal Service, until we saw this photo from a History of Mail Delivery in the Toledo Blade:
Caption from the Blade: "Frank Mrkva checks out one of the first 99 trucks ordered by the Post Office Department from Willys Motors Inc. in this Dec. 15, 1958, photo. The trucks, used for snow removal and mail box maintenance, cost $276,564 for the total order and were sent throughout the country."
A 1/25-scale 1953 Jeep Willys Panel Delivery truck bank by Liberty Classics. It is painted in U.S. Mail, Rural Free Delivery livery with the Post Office Department United States of America logo on the door. The rear doors open to reveal the coin slot.
From the box: "Although the Willys trucks came equipped with only a four cylider engine, they capitalized on the vehicle's efficiency, durability and versatility. Some of their more popular selling features were: big one piece hoods, roomy cabs, short turning radiuses, high clearance fenders and low operating expenses."
Like the Forward Control, the Willys Jeep Sedan Delivery was certainly not used as widely by the Post Office as the little DJs, but this photo indicates that the Utility Wagon version was at least tested for rural delivery.
The USPS was the main user of the FJ-3 Fleetvan which was first developed as a postal vehicle. The FJ is perhaps the iconic "mail truck" but this tiny Fleetvan kit may be the only toy version. Made by Lindberg, probably in the 1970's, it was about 2 inches long and came in a variety of colors. Thanks to John Vercoe for finding this photo.
See also the Lindberg FJ-3 collection of the late Bill Kriegbaum, including the USPS version. Another slightly larger model in the "Mini-Lindy" series was a Jeepster Commando; see the box and a front view (30K JPEGs).
Thanks to the late Mike Albright for starting this great topical collection of Jeep toys. Thanks also to John Vercoe, Christian Falkensteiner and Steve Perialas for photos. -- Derek Redmond
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