The Westcoaster Mailster was a small three-wheeled vehicle used for mail delivery by the United States Post Office Department during the 1950s and 60s. They could haul 500 pounds of mail, including large parcels, versus the 35-pound limit of a foot carrier, and once represented one-third of the delivery vehicles used by the Post Office. The number of Mailsters in use peaked in 1966, at about 17,700.
Often known as “mail scooters”, Mailsters worked best in areas with warm climates and flat terrain. The two cylinder gasoline-powered vehicle had a safe top speed of 35 miles per hour and a 7.5 horsepower engine. A Mailster could be rendered useless in just three inches of snowfall. Mail carriers often complained of frequent breakdowns ranging from clutch failure to broken front axles. If a Mailster rounded a corner too quickly, it was also prone to tipping over.
At least seven different companies produced Mailsters, including Cushman. The Mailster was eventually replaced by more reliable mail delivery vehicles, such as Jeeps.
Back in April, I saw an ad for 1964 “Cushman” Mailster. It was located in Roundrock, Texas. The Seller’s father bought it about 15 years earlier, but it sat outside his shop and was never touched or started. The father died about 10 years ago, and the seller inherited it. He didn’t have room for it, so he put it on a friend’s trailer and had it stored outside at a storage lot. He wanted to sell it quick as he hadn’t paid the storage lot for quite some time and they were going to take the Mailster and his friends trailer. He owed a little less than $500. I met him at the storage lot with my truck and trailer, paid the bill, winched the Mailster with three flats onto my trailer, got the title and headed home.. The seller left with his friend’s trailer.
When I got it to my shop, we aired up the tires and rolled it out of my trailer, and into my shop.
Those of you with a keen eye will noticed that this is not a Cushman, but a 1964 Westcoaster. A battery, starter relay, fresh can of gas gravity fed, spark plug, some wiring, and about five hours time, and the Mailster was running and driving. Happy that the drive train was good, I decided to disassemble to freshen up.
It took better than a day to separate the body from the Chassis by carefully drilling or cutting out about 40 rivets.
As you can see, the frame needed some serious cleaning up.
The chassis was blasted with fine crushed glass, an then hit with with primer. The floorboard is eaten up by tinworm. I have a piece of 1/16″ plate ready to have holes for the pedals cut out. Then I’ll paint it gloss black.
Next, the motor will then be cleaned up, and repainted.
The body was pressure washed and scuffed with 400 grit. I’m still not sure if I am going to paint it USPS or do something something incredibly stupid. Making it a Taco Wagon, a hearse, Cheech & Chong’ Potcentric Sweet & Low van, psychedelic Hippie shaggin’ wagin’, or???
Stay tuned, and I’ll report back further Progress.