At $4,500, Does this 1964 Rand/Cushman Mailster Deliver?
Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Mailster offers mid-engine power, sliding door convenience, and three-wheel quirkiness. Even with all that, it’s hard to say just what someone might do with it. Let’s see if its price inspires any ideas.
There’s been a good bit of debate around here as to whether the Maserati brand can claim the same reverence as its sibling Ferrari or if it’s more akin to lesser cousin Alfa Romeo. I firmly believe that owners of the marque’s machines feel the former about it while those who don’t necessarily aspire to the Maser lifestyle tend to go the latter route if they care at all.
Yesterday’s 2005 Maserati GranSport could go both ways. Its style and presentation certainly looked upscale and almost exotic. Its $23,800 price tag, on the other hand, was pretty much Kia money. That discordance resulted in a 64 percent No Dice loss and thus will engender further debate over Maserati’s social station.
The United States Postal Service abides by the famous creed that “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” When you think about what the Postal Service actually does — delivering correspondence door to door all across the nation for well under a dollar a piece and taking typically just a couple of days — you have to marvel that it gets done at all.
One way in which the Postal Service accomplishes its herculean task on a daily basis is through staged delivery. Mail is collected at regional centers where it gets sorted for delivery. Bundles are then shipped to local post offices where they are further sorted by destination and are put on trucks that the Postal Carriers drive along a prescribed route, delivering to the recipient’s mailbox.
Those Carrier trucks have long been some of the most iconic and identifiable of all vehicles on the road. While a new, very snouty mail truck is apparently delayed, the trucks that are currently on the road are very familiar. The most common of those is the Grumman LLV, a boxy van based on the frame from Chevy’s S-10 pickup. Before that model, the Postal Service employed a special version of the Kaiser Jeep DJ-5A which at one time was as common as a stop sign on America’s streets.
Before the Jeep, however, things were a little trippier.
From the late 1950s through about 1968, fully one-third of the U.S. Postal Service fleet was comprised of small, maneuverable three-wheel box vans known by the wonderful name “Mailster.” There were several companies building these little trikes, including Westcoaster and Cushman/Rand, the maker of this 1964 Mailster.
Almost all were powered by a 7.5 horsepower Onan air-cooled flat twin which gives the Mailster a moped-shaming 35 mile-per-hour top speed. Just make sure to slow down when hitting a corner since these trikes do tend to get tippy in the turns. A manual transmission with “three-on-the-tree” shifting helps make the most of that meager power, driving the rear wheels through a live axle.
This one comes in wonderfully patina’d old-school Postal Livery, including posters on each side that strictly warn against parking too close to a Mailbox. For egress, there are two sliding doors in the front and a pair of barn doors in the back. Those lead to a small load area that, per the Mailster’s specs, can hold up to 500 pounds of letters, bills, and Victoria’s Secret catalogs. The two sliders up in the front open into a central seat cabin with the rearview mirror set to one side of the windscreen and a fan mounted to the other. It’s all cheerful and cool and the seller claims it to be roadworthy and to carry both a clean title and current (motorcycle) tags. There are 55,000 miles on the clock.
What might someone do with this wonderfully quirky little ride? Could it be a fun parade participant? A Cars and Caffeine contender? Who knows. After all, it will be up to the eventual buyer to be the master of their Mailster.
Making that transformation from non-Mailster owner to Mailster maven will require $4,500 as that’s the seller’s set price. What’s your take on that amount for this three-wheeler with a Postal past? Does that $4,500 asking seem fair considering its history and condition? Or, does that price have you marking it return to sender?
Des Moines, Iowa, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.
H/T to Glemon for the hookup!
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