Photography by Tony Matthews
Words by Josh McGowan
Post was originally transported by horse drawn carts, taking bag loads of mail from post office to post office as well as various sorting offices. As the need for more postal services increased, so too did the need to acquire a more reasonable and effective mode of transport. This happened to coincide with the rise of automotive vehicles, so eventually vans and trucks were purchased by postal services throughout the world to help with day to day duties.
While the need for horses has disappeared, many principles of transporting mail has not changed too much, with transport between various post offices and sorting offices still completed. The only different nowadays is that it is vans and trucks doing all the transporting!
Funnily enough, many post vans and trucks have become as obsolete as the horses that preceded them. Designs have change to suit improved technology and the evolving services provide by modern post offices. This leads to many older models becoming too old for their purpose, with newer models being purchased to replace them, yet this offers a unique opportunity for car enthusiasts.
One such enthusiast is UK based custom garage owner Ray Vern, originally from the United States of America. Having been in the custom car industry for over 35 years, Ray is one passionate customizer who decided to take his stateside talents and bring them to the UK, where he would come across a postal van perfect for some custom work.
Speaking of custom work, Ray has quite a few areas of expertise when it comes to modification, including bodywork, suspension and exterior/interior paint work. Hydraulic suspension proved to be an area that Ray excelled with, think of what lowrider cars are famous for, and Ray knew how to do this perfectly for various vehicles.
One vehicle in particular that his suspension work is notable is that of trucks, which is commonly referred to as body dropping. This involves the process of channelling the body of a truck or van so that it can sit lower on its original frame, allowing amazing lowering of the vehicle that goes well beyond the trucks original suspension.
As a native of the USA, Ray had much more natural exposure to forms of body dropping in his time working there. Having relocated to the UK to open his garage, Ray had the expertise and knowledge to bring body dropping to Britain, where it was virtually unknown.
Since he loves to work on hydraulics and looks for various projects including cars, vans and trucks, Ray is always on the lookout for some interesting models and makes to get his hands dirty with. He found what he was looking for during a visit to a hot rod show, where a Grumman Postal Van was available for sale.
He instantly knew he had to have the traditional United States Postal Service truck, and snapped it up, with plans to do some inventive body dropping. As evidenced by the finished product, that his latest project was a resounding success.
Seeing a modified postal truck is quite the sight to see, so when you look at the magnificent body drop work that has been performed, it goes without saying that Ray is one of the best in his field. We cannot wait to see his next project!
You can follow Ray’s projects on his Facebook pageÂ www.facebook.com/RayvernHydraulics