The iconic Grumman LLV mail truck is on its way out, and sadly, few of these ex-USPS trucks are making it into private hands. If we could get them, maybe we'd see more builds like this no-holds-barred, Mercedes turbodiesel-swapped LLV: a hot-rodded mail truck that'd make America proud.
The build was featured on YouTube channel Officially Gassed - OG, where its builder explains it was one of only a few LLVs sold to an entity other than the USPS. Pinewood Studios used it as a prop before selling it on eBay, where British custom car builder Autostyl purchased it.
While the LLV was based on the Chevrolet S-10, meaning it should have a healthy aftermarket, it's not a good platform for performance vehicles. It's tall, has a short wheelbase, and has a narrower front track than rear—meaning it could be awfully tippy. Autostyl's solution was to adapt a 1990s Mercedes E-class suspension, add airbags, and use most of the Merc's drivetrain.
That meant bolting up its 3.0-liter OM606 turbodiesel straight-six, a well-supported engine that bolt-ons carried to about 370 horsepower. Backed by a paddle-shifted Mercedes automatic, the result is a mail truck that looks like it should be a disaster like stanced cars—but apparently isn't.
Because most of its approximate 2,500 pounds are down low, and its suspension geometry is improved, its drivers in the video report it being more poised than its appearance would suggest. Its Mercedes diesel roars, puffing soot in a way that shows more power is on the table, but nevertheless fits the unhinged character of the truck. Its 0-to-60 time of 7.2 seconds isn't that quick, but fun is more important than fast.
As I've found behind the wheel of a V8-swapped 1950 Dodge pickup, old trucks of this nature can handle shockingly well with improved suspension. That a high-dollar LLV build comes out this well pleases the part of me that mourns never being able to build one to race at Pikes Peak. At least someone out there is building the kind of truck that I would, and the world is a happier place for it.
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