Junkyard Find: 1982 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1982 am general dj 5 mail jeep

AMC got a (brief) new lease on life in the early 1980s when the French government, via Renault, invested in the staggering Wisconsin car company. Meanwhile, huge purchases of DJ-5s by the US Postal Service also helped prop up the once-proud automaker. The Postal Jeep was a common sight on American roads (and junkyards) for a decade or so after the USPS phased it out, but its bouncy-box-on-wheels ride and two-wheel-drive configuration doomed most examples to The Crusher. Here’s one that I spotted in a Denver self-serve yard last week.

You couldn’t get much more spartan than this: a simple body to keep the rain off the mail, a sorting tray instead of a passenger seat, and sliding doors on both sides.

The pushrod Iron Duke engine ruined just about every vehicle it touched, but it’s perfect for the DJ-5. Who cares that it’s noisy and weak? Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night could stay the Iron Duke from the swift completion of its appointed rounds!

This former Fedmobile appears to have spent years, or maybe decades, sitting in a field somewhere, and it still has almost all its USPS gear installed. Perhaps it was bought at auction during the late 1980s and then sat, awaiting the Hell Project upgrades that never came.

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  • SoylentGreen SoylentGreen on Jan 30, 2012

    I used to be a rural carrier. These were before my time, but I think they died because they were too small. We had a few carriers who still used them (most rural carriers drive their own cars), but for most routes they wouldn't have held enough mail. Increasing automation meant more time delivering mail and less time sorting mail, hence bigger routes. I delivered mail in a 92 Saturn, with my right leg on the passenger side, the left left working the gas and brakes, steering with the left hand, and stretching as far as I could to reach the mailboxes. I would have killed for a right hand drive vehicle, but not one of these.

  • GHARB GHARB on Sep 22, 2015

    I have one of these. Probably cleaner and better shape than the one shown in the photos. Any idea of the current value?

  • El scotto My iPhone gets too hot while using the wireless charging in my BMW. One more line on why someone is a dumbazz list?
  • Buickman yeah, get Ron Fellows each time I get a Vette. screw Caddy.
  • Dusterdude The Detroit 2.5 did a big disservice by paying their CEO’s so generously ( overpaying them ) It is a valid talking point for for the union ) However , the bottom line - The percentage of workers in the private sector who have a defined benefit pension plan is almost non existent - and the reason being is it’s unaffordable ! . This is a a huge sticking point as to have lower tier workers join would be prohibitive ( aside from other high price demands being requested - ie >30% wage gain request ) . Do the math - can a company afford to pay employees for 35 years , followed by funding a pension for a further 30 years ?
  • El scotto Human safety driver? Some on here need a human safety thinker.
  • Carlson Fan Stupid vehicle, that can't do any of the things a truck should be able to do. If I want something fast/quick and sporty I'll get a corvette or a 4 dr sport sedan. Taking a truck & neutering it to try and make it into something it's not is just pointless. But maybe that's the point of this road disaster