Finding and Acquiring Right Hand Jeeps in
the United States.
Though not a common sight in the United States, a right hand drive Jeep is really a necessity for some people, particularly rural mail delivery drivers, who require a right hand drive (RHD) Jeep to do their job. The United States Post Office (USPS) contracts out mail routes in rural areas to individuals who use their own vehicle to deliver mail. Drivers are compensated for their time and reimbursed for their mileage, but a normal car is not really sufficient for the job. In order to access mailboxes on the right side of the street, a rural mail delivery driver needs a car that has the steering wheel, accelerator and brake on that side of the car. Furthermore, a Jeep is a great vehicle for this job since it provides a large cargo area and usually 4-wheel-drive needed for the inclement weather and rough roads typically found in rural locations.
The problem for someone trying to find a right hand drive Jeep in the United States is that buying one is not as simple as heading over to the neighborhood car dealership or scanning the local classifieds. They do not hit the market often since supply for RHD Jeeps in the U.S. is limited, and fortunate drivers who already own one know that they have a scarce vehicle. However, there are a number of different options for acquiring an RHD Jeep.
In the United States, right hand drive Jeeps were once used extensively by the U.S. Postal Service, and a decommissioned model is a possible option for rural delivery drivers. The Post Office began using Jeeps in the 1950s and continued to do so for over thirty years. Jeep first provided the Dispatcher (DJ3A) to the U.S. Postal Service and later upgraded to a new model, the DJ5A in the 1960s. The Dispatcher was used until 1983 and this white, postal Jeep was a common sight on the roads for many years thereafter. Eventually, the USPS phased out the Jeep and private individuals could purchase used mail Jeeps directly from the Postal Service, though this practice was eventually suspended due to safety concerns.
Once the U.S. Postal Service quit using the Dispatcher, Jeep discontinued manufacturing a right hand drive model until the 1990s. This included the Jeep Cherokee through 2001 and began again with the Jeep Wrangler in 2003. Jeep continues to manufacture right hand drive Wranglers in limited numbers and these are available for order through Jeep dealerships with a wait from 6-8 weeks.
For rural delivery drivers not interested in a new RHD Jeep Wrangler, there are a host of other options available. Decommissioned U.S. Postal Service Jeeps are still available from private individuals, though these Jeeps are becoming increasingly rare and collectible. Still, they are often available and can be found on online auction sites as well as Jeep classified boards and forums.
Pre-owned right hand drive Jeep Cherokee and Wrangler models also become available through similar channels, as well as used car dealerships that specialize in right hand drive Jeeps. These outlets generally allow for a greater selection than can be found locally though it is usually not possible to test-drive the Jeep beforehand, and there is an added expense of shipping the vehicle to another location.
It is also possible to buy a converted Jeep or have a normal Jeep converted to RHD. There are two different types of conversions. The more expensive option modifies the Jeep by removing the left hand drive components completely and the finished product looks and functions just like a manufactured right hand drive Jeep. The alternative consists of a conversion kit that keeps the left hand drive components in place to which a second steering wheel and pedals are attached using drive pulleys and mechanical levers. The companies that perform these conversions can also be a good source for other specialty items needed for a rural mail delivery driver's job such as mail trays, signs and flip windows.
The right hand drive Jeep in the United States is certainly a unique vehicle and its appeal is limited to a small audience. Nevertheless, for rural delivery drivers it is really a necessity. The demands of this postal job require a versatile car with right hand drive, plenty of cargo space, reliable service and oftentimes four-wheel-drive. A RHD Jeep fulfills these requirements and is really the perfect vehicle for the job.
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