Home » You Can And Should Buy This Grumman KubVan, The Iconic LLV Postal Vehicle’s Weird Predecessor

You Can And Should Buy This Grumman KubVan, The Iconic LLV Postal Vehicle’s Weird Predecessor

Grumman Kubvan Topshot
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The turn of the 1980s was a weird time for cars. Downsizing was in, oil crisis anxiety was high, and efficiency was the name of the game. From the rise of Honda to the existence of diesel American sedans, every segment was going greener, including delivery vehicles. Not only is this Grumman KubVan, up for sale on Facebook Marketplace via Facebook group Obscure Cars For Sale, the daddy of the LLV used by postal workers across America, it features a weird German connection.

Grumman Kubvan 1

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Vidframe Min Bottom

Instead of being based on a ladder-frame rear-wheel-drive Chevrolet S-10, the KubVan went even more efficient on fuel and packaging by using the 1.6-liter diesel engine from a Volkswagen Rabbit. Now, Rabbit Diesels aren’t exactly known for their straight-line prowess, so I couldn’t imagine how leisurely the KubVan must be when loaded up with parcels. However, as an urban delivery vehicle, the diesel powertrain makes some degree of sense. Not only was the Rabbit renowned for its efficiency, front-wheel-drive lets a van have an incredibly low cargo area step-in height, and more floor-to-ceiling space for a given vehicle height.

Grumman Kubvan 3

If a Grumman KubVan wasn’t enough of an oddity, this particular example should draw stares with a two-tone red and silver paint job. You don’t typically see such dashing paintwork on vehicles that look like they were designed with just a pen and a ruler, plus it gives some delayed gratification as viewers start to notice just how many Rabbit parts are on this unorthodox delivery vehicle.

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Grumman Kubvan Speedometer

In addition to the diesel engine, the transmission, running gear, and even the speedometer show signs of Germanic origin. Or Pennsylvanian origin. Look, Westmoreland was a whole thing. Still, how weird must it be to sit at the wheel of an American vehicle with a tiny European diesel engine clattering away and a VDO speedometer hovering around 35 mph? Oh, and it should do 35 mph for a very long time, thanks to a claimed recent engine refresh consisting of major fuel and timing components, a fresh clutch, and an engine re-seal.

Of course, we would never use diesel to power a small delivery van these days, for the electric revolution is nigh. However, Grumman thought of this 43 years ago with the Kurbwatt, a trial run of all-electric KubVans. Despite rocking heavy lead-acid batteries, its aluminum construction made for a curb weight of just 2,650 pounds, according to KurbWatt.com. Top speed? A hair-raising 55 mph. Double nickel, baby.

Grumman Kubvan 2

So how rare is the Grumman KubVan? Well, The Truth About Cars estimates that only 500 KubVans were built, and the estimated number of survivors is much lower than that. Considering this example’s reasonable asking price of $6,500, it seems like a fair way to confuse Volkswagen and United States Postal Service fans alike.

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(Photo credits: Facebook Marketplace Seller)

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Sundance
Sundance
8 months ago
Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
8 months ago

Always thought one of these with a GTI power train swap and polished bare aluminum would be fun.

When I lived by Tompkins square park in the late 80s there were three of these always parked on the street.

DadBod
DadBod
8 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

Was it the FBI spying on anarchists, or mobile drug labs?

James Davidson
James Davidson
8 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

Those three little cans probably represented the entire fleet of WEEDeliver! Just a quick call to find out what’s on the menu and get it delivered!

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
8 months ago

The only choice for the Van-lifer with distinguished taste.

John Beef
John Beef
8 months ago

I love it. It reminds me of my old Honda Element, only less fancy!

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
8 months ago

Saw one of these at a Cars and Coffee in Dayton last year and had a quick chat with the owner. Guy had a pretty interesting story about where it came from and how he got it. Wish I could remember what it was!

3WiperB
3WiperB
8 months ago

This ’63 Grumman Kurbside is really cute. Since it’s an aluminum body, it could be polished and look amazing. 1963 Chevrolet Grumman Kurbside – Commercial Vehicles – Janesville, Wisconsin | Facebook Marketplace | Facebook

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
8 months ago

$8500 for that thing? HELL NO. It’s a $2500 vehicle at most to me. Don’t care if it’s rare. this is another of example of “Rare but not THAT valuable”.

Alexk98
Alexk98
8 months ago

To some VW people it would be worth that. I agree it doesn’t seem worth it, but if you’re into weird VW adjacent cars, the near impossibility of finding these, especially in decent shape, I can absolutely see someone buying this for $7,500 or so

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
8 months ago

Grumman SLV 😛

It even inspired the Toyota Yaris GRMN, even though we didn’t get the GRMN over here.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
8 months ago

Didn’t know these existed. I could see quite a few uses for a KubVan, an opinion not shared by automakers in the US market where small cargo haulers have been abandoned.

Sid Bridge
Sid Bridge
8 months ago

What is that?
Grumman Kubvan.
Kummin Grubman?
Grumman Kubvan.
Gummin Cuban?
Grumman Kubvan.
Grubbin Kumpan?
Grumman Kubvan.
Gorman Rubstan?
It’s a Rabbit.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
8 months ago

If I was wealthy, I would have the world’s weirdest car collection.

This would probably be in it along with the 3-wheeler I saw that was made from the back ends of two Chevy Citation notchbacks joined together.

FuzzyPlushroom
FuzzyPlushroom
8 months ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

I want to believe that the creator of that 3-wheeler put it together out of what was left after building a pushmi-pullyu from the two Citation front halves.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
8 months ago
Reply to  FuzzyPlushroom

I dunno, but it looked surprisingly well constructed in the photos on Craigslist. The ad even said the AC worked!

I didn’t go look at it because I know my weaknesses. If I had, I probably would have succumbed to temptation. My wife, bless her, if I had brought that home to be my daily driver, she’d have sh!t a kitten.

And all our kids wouldn’t fit in it anyway…

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