I know that, alas, the 2014 Chevy Impala was the last front-bench seat car to be mass produced. I am looking for a reasonably priced used (150k miles or fewer) car in good condition for driving on rural hilly, often icy roads in winter. My husband has a rural postal route, and is not provided with a vehicle. He has been driving his large GMC truck to do this, but it’s dangerous. He has to straddle the middle, driving with left foot and hand, navigating hills and turns, stopping at rural boxes, opening the passenger window and pulling the mail from a box in the back seat (truck has an extended cab) and . . . well, endangering himself. I realize it’s pathetic that the USPS hasn’t been giving enough funding to provide its workers with safe vehicles. We don’t need or want an SUV, and gas mileage matters because there is a lot of driving on these routes (about 100 miles/day of stop-and-go driving). We are NOT mechanical and can’t reconfigure existing vehicles (he has a 2005 Toyota Corolla). All help appreciated!
Have you thought about finding a car equipped with right hand drive? A quick search on EBay found a few cars with that configuration. Strangely enough, they all seemed to be Jeep Wranglers. Smaller than a SUV, but with 4WD for those icy roads. Might be a good compromise. And the prices didn’t seem all that rediculous.
What you really need is a right hand drive Jeep, Subaru or surplus postal truck. Google is your friend.
You’re better off with a right hand drive Jeep or Subaru even if you did find a car with a bench seat.
I agree that a right hand drive vehicle would be the best choice and second would be a right hand drive kit. I have installed those on several vhicles and it required less than 4 hours as I recall and can be easily removed and reinstalled on another similar vehicle. When installed the optional wheel can be removed and the pedals pulled up to allow a passenger to sit on the right while the original controls are used to drive from the left side.
The postal service does not have to be given any funding for new vehicles ! They just need to be left alone like other agencies but with no outside tax help !
The postal service is low on money to buy vehicles that are practical because some factions of the govt. want postal services strictly for profit, and when they controlled the legislature legislated that the postal service had to save out retirement for it’s retirees 75 years in advance. No one any where, private or govt. Is forced to do this. Those same peoples now borrow off that account, like SS making it in essence, part of the a real deficit and squelch any real advantage,if there ever was. No private for profit postal service would provide services to all areas which was an original concept in the bill of rights…equal opportunity for all, which the postal service helps provide. It still pays for everything by it’s rates for customers and not one tax dollar goes into it…but they have little money left for extravagances like enough proper working vehicles.
Unfortunately, the USPS stopped auctioning off surplus vehicles to be driven. Damned if I know why; as of 1995 they were still doing it.
I’d love to get me a DJ5 Postal jeep and do a head-to-head-to-head of it, a Crosley, and a Trabant!
I know an engineer who bought one of the surplus mail jeeps, and where it used to say “U S Mail” i painted, using the same colors and style “U S Male”
Look for an old DJ5 postal Jeep on Craigslist. They are right hand drive.
There are newer Jeeps with righ hand drive as well, with lower miles. And the prices don’t seem to be out of hand, maybe because they ARE RH drive, and there’s a low demand for them.
Around here all of the rural carriers are private contracts and they provide their own vehicles. I see different ones from mid size to small SUV types. Usually they are a little older. Depending on how rural and the terrain determines if they will use a 4WD or not. Don’t know which ones have bench seats anymore though.
check on federal auctions that may have old portal vehicles for sale. GSA has annual auctions.
Google “used postal vehicles for sale”.
The DJ5s are getting old and tired and there were several drive trains, some were not so good. The later models with ANC engines and MoPar transmissions are much easier to repair and parts are plentiful while the European drive trains were a big problem. And I recall the OP mentioning 100 miles per day which would be a pain in one of those on a good day. I have driven several and never felt too safe in one at speeds above 30 mph.
Toyota Avalon? Available with a bench seat and basically a big Camry.
Like I said, the USPS does NOT auction off their postal vehicles on one piece. If you buy one, you’re required by law to demolish it (or maybe they’re pre-demolished…dunno.)
It’s a shame…I really liked the sliding doors, and being able to drive “doors open” on a hot day! (The downside being a postal vehicle is one of the few cars you can actually run yourself over in…no seatbelt and fall out the open door!)
Bing Thank you. When I read OP’s comment that her husband was not provided a USPS vehicle and drove his own GMC I knew he was a contractor. I live on the rural border and have contract delivery. When I moved here 14 years ago she drove an old USPS mail Jeep with all USPS graphics removed. She now drives a left hand drive Prius from the right seat. I have steered a vehicle from the right seat while the driver was eating. It is easy but not really safe. I expect a bench seat conversion from separate front seats plus console would be difficult and expensive. What do you do with the shifter? Is there a pedal conversion?
meanjoe I think the ban on selling ex USPS mail jeeps is because of liability. They are not standard vehicles, and may not have currently required safety features. The same thing happened with military surplus vehicles. They were exempt from Federal safety requirements and fell under to much liability. From the mid 1990s they have been de-milled. Even if they are serviceable or brand new they are cut into pieces and sold as scrap. We need more lawyers (NOT)!
There are shops that will convert Subaru’s to RHD using parts imported from Australia…To move just the steering column, gas and brake pedals over is not too much money…The LF seat can be removed and a platform for mail trays installed…
I’m not sure why they don’t sell them anymore. They used to. Might be because people might try to impersonate postal carriers or something. Don’t know. Funny story that I won’t broadcast here but I had a guy working for me that drove an old postal jeep. Don’t remember if it was left hand or right hand. We were a little concerned about his propensity for violence and when my affirmative action officer saw him drive in with a postal jeep, she said “Oh my God he’s got a postal truck” and ran for the hills. She thought he was going to go “postal” because of what he drove. She decided I would just have to deal with him alone but she’d be happy to call 911 from afar. True colors.
Just to get off the point but she and I had a few disagreements before she finally left for Georgia. She would wear very very low cut tops to work and then challenge people not to look at her and time them to make sure they weren’t looking to long.
Back to the point, I noticed one rural carrier had a metal seat attachment that would slide back and forth along the bench seat. It was like a metal tray. So he could easily slide over to the wheel and drive and then slide over the the passenger side at the next mail box. I’m sure it wasn’t very comfy but saved wear on his pants.
an option for you: