This Grumman LLV postal van has a modern LS V8 under the hood.

This LS-Powered Mail Truck Delivers Loads Of Fun And Big Smoky Burnouts

David Stacy is a diehard gearhead with wheels always turning about what to build next. He’s a regular sight at Holley LS Fest, the high-octane festival of V8-powered fun, having attended ten years straight. After pulling away from the 2018 event, he was really thinking about what kind of cool contraception could be assembled for the next year’s event.

Then it finally hit him – and almost quite literally. “My wife and I racking our brains as we drove home. We kept trying to think of something unique to put together and then a mail truck pulls out in front of us,’ laughs the enthusiasts, who lives in La Porte, Indiana. “That’s when I decided I wanted to make one faster.”

Military supplier Grumman was contracted to build the LLV. (Photo by Matt Avery)

The Plan Must Go Through

With a goal in mind, the next step was tracking one down. From the late 1980s into the mid-1990s, the United States Postal Service used these boxy brutes, called Grumman LLVs. David soon found they had a cruel irony. While they were everywhere to be found, at the same time, they were nowhere to be found. The mail service still has them in commission but they seldom, if ever, come up for sale for public consumption. Just like the USPS, David’s plan had to go through and he resolved to keep after it.

After a two-year hunt, one finally turned up in the spring of 2018 in a most unlikely of places – right in his own neighborhood. One was parked across town next to a barn. “I’d go out of my way to drive by it every day,’ recalls David. “I’d even go by at different times of day and sure enough, it wasn’t moving.” David’s a bit shy and not one to break the ice with a stranger.

Thankfully for him, his uncle isn’t. When the relative came to town, David told him about his desire and together they went and knocked on the property’s front door. The only problem was, the truck was gone. “We talked to the couple who lived there who said they had done work on a mail truck for a friend,’ said David. “Thankfully, not only did she live just a few houses down but the truck was for sale.”

Unbeknownst to David, for many years this very truck delivered mail to his house. (Photo by Matt Avery)

Having A Ball On Campus

David reached out to the owner who filled him in on her, and the truck’s, situation. She had purchased the vehicle from Ball State University, in Muncie, Indiana. There, it had delivered mail around the campus to the various dorms and office buildings.

After retiring it in 2005 it was sent to auction. She purchased it and being a mail carrier herself, put it to use on her rural route. In a twist of fate, she used the truck for many years to deliver mail to David’s house. She was set to retire that December and was ready to part with her four-wheeled workhorse.

David made her an offer and on December 19th, became the proud new owner. “One of the funny stories about the truck is the story of the front panel,’ laughs David, looking at a stretch of Bondo filler near the passenger side headlight. “She was so proud of her near-perfect track record of not hitting anything while performing her duties on her route. She sheepishly told me after years of care, she ended up hitting her own mailbox and denting the truck.”

The seller’s near-perfect driving record was smashed with a slight run-in with her own mailbox. (Photo by Matt Avery)

An LLV Delivered

With an LLV in hand, David set about the next task, making it faster. The stock four-cylinder is perfect for around town putting but not big smokey burnouts or clicking off low ETs. To get that kind of delivery, David wanted LS power. He purchased a 2009 Chevy Silverado 2500 and yanked its modern 6.0L V8. After a bit of fabrication, he shoehorned it under the vehicle’s stubby little nose. Other upgrades include goodies like an LS3 camshaft and an intake from a Camaro SS.

David installed a 2009 Chevy Silverado’s LS V8 engine underhood. (Photo by Matt Avery)

Heading to Holley LS Fest

A grand unveil was planned for the 2019 Holley LS Fest is Bowling Green, Kentucky. A couple of bugs and gremlins prevented optimal performance at the debut but those issues couldn’t mask the spectator’s and participants’ massive enthusiasm for the unique build. “Everyone loved the truck,’ gushes David.” Everywhere we went we were a hit.”

David has left the interior stock, which is still right-hand drive. (Photo by Matt Avery)

After some dialing in, a month after the big event, David was back at a track and ready for action. The first couple of passes he managed a best of 13.2 seconds at 98 mph. Now, thanks to some tuning magic by Hicks Tuning, David reports the LLV delivers 12.8s ‘all day long’. Many more modifications are in the works, including adding an LSA blower, underdrive pulleys, and an upgraded torque converter.

The stock single-piston disc brakes are also going to be swapped out for a Wilwood system, sporting six-piston calipers up front and four-piston in the rear. A roll cage is also getting installed. All of these modifications should be completed by spring and David is aiming for somewhere around 750 horsepower at the rear wheels.

This Grumman LLV postal van has a modern LS V8 under the hood.
The unassuming wheels don’t reveal the truck’s capabilities. Soon Wilwood Brakes will be installed. (Photo by Matt Avery)

Hauling Happiness

The enthusiast has been more than pleased with his little runabout and simply loves the attention it garners. “Everyone asks if I’m going to paint it and that’s not something I’m looking to do,’ explains David. “I don’t want to alter the character of the truck and want to keep it as is.”

The enthusiasts displayed it at the 2020 Race and Performance Expo, in Schaumburg, Illinois, and stayed busy all three days of the show, answering questions about the radical rig.

The cargo area of the truck hasn’t been touched and packs loads of storage. (Photo by Matt Avery)

That spirit of preservation, albeit one wrapped in horsepower, is appreciated by someone else, too – the previous seller. David has brought the truck to his town’s local cruise-in where she’s attended. “The first time she saw it after all the work she took one look and said,’Well at least it’s not getting beat up no more.”