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Old Delivery Trucks: Keep on Truckin'

Learn all about the hidden uses for these old used delivery trucks and how to find one for a good deal.

| March/April 1971

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    Old delivery trucks can find new uses in a countless number of ways, from a great home on wheels to a mobile DJ business.

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A small step-in van, I believe, is just about the handiest vehicle there is. We've had ours for nearly two years and—in that time—it has probably paid for itself (I'll tell you how to arrange that), been our transportation and home-away-from-home, provided rides for thousands of hitchhikers and given us more fun than three Volkswagens.

The best places I know of to get one of these trucks are from the Post Office or bakeries, milk companies and other businesses that keep a fleet of delivery vans. Our pride and joy is a '61 Dodge one-ton mail truck (Dodge makes really good trucks) and, since everyone we pick up wants to know how we got it, here's the details.

The General Services Administration is the U.S. Government agency that actually sells old mail vans. The trucks are sold at a closed bid auction . This means that all bids are submitted in writing by a certain due date . The bids are then opened by the GSA and the highest price offered on each vehicle wins.

Mail truck auctions take place several times a year at different P.O. garages, depending on which ones have a supply of overage vehicles. Your first step, then, is to find out when and where the vans are being sold. Write or call the GSA for this information. The agency's local number and address is in most large city and state capitol phone books under "U.S. Government." Ask to be notified of mail truck auctions in your area and GSA will send you a list of vehicles being sold at each garage that has them. This list will give the year, manufacturer, mileage and condition of each truck and will usually list one-quarter, three-quarter and one-ton vans.

Now take someone who knows about cars and trucks (if you do, so much the better) to a garage that has the kind of van you want. The person in charge there will give you keys to the ones in which you're interested and you can then drive the vehicles around the lot to get an idea of the shape they're in.

Be particularly observant of the transmission in an automatic shift truck. This is one of the worst things to fix yourself and it's expensive to have repaired. I think a standard shift—if you can get one—will present far fewer maintenance problems, be more fun to drive and give you greater control of the van.

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