These Trick Pulley Systems Are What Mail Carriers Use to Make Their Cars Right-Hand Drive11/10/2020
When we think about hauling the mail in a right-hand-drive car, we probably have visions of R34 Skylines dancing in our heads. Yet we also need to get our mail, and neither snow nor rain nor heat nor a left-hand-drive car should stop the delivery of those overnighted parts.
Problem is, mailboxes are on the right side of the road, but people still carry the mail in left-hand-drive cars anyway. Not every postal worker gets a trick Grumman LLV anymore, especially now that those mail trucks are long past their expected lifespan. Regular vehicles like Jeeps and Subarus are a pretty common sight on rural mail routes thanks to their bad-weather capabilities.
Fortunately, companies have developed a delightfully simple workaround to convert a left-hand-drive car to a mail-side-drive one using a giant pulley and a spare set of pedals.
Several companies offer left-hand drive to right-hand drive conversion kits that make it look like your car has two steering wheels. Some move the stock steering wheel to the other side of the car, and others simply add an aftermarket wheel to the right side. All of them rely on a giant pair of pulleys which move each other using a toothed belt. One pulley is on the right-hand-drive steering wheel, and the other goes on the stock steering column.
Some conversions involve removing more from the car’s interior than others, such as this custom right-hand-drive conversion, which routes levers that control the pedals behind the dashboard:
Others, such as the Pedal Pros kit, use a series of wires to move the stock pedals.
Vantastic Mobility’s kit even includes an extension lever to make using the turn signal from the right side easier.
Some kits are specifically designed for certain common mail-carrying models, but others are universal—just in case you have a Mail Lambo lying around you should use someday.
The turn signal lever clamps onto the stalk itself to make it easier to reach from the right side of the car. All bets are off for using the wipers without pulling over, though.
While these kits may look kind of janky, it’s worth noting that they’re perfectly legal as long as they meet NHTSA guidelines, according to Bryant Motors. Part of that means that the button in the middle of these aftermarket conversions needs to be a horn. While I wouldn’t particularly want to take one on a race track, that’s fine. These are for mail carriers that move at slow-to-normal speeds between mailboxes. In that context, the pulley seems sturdy enough.
The lone downside is that they aren’t particularly cheap. Postal Things’ kit starts at $1,950 excluding installation, and that seems to be roughly the going rate. Sometimes they show up used, though, such as the Facebook ad that made the viral rounds through car groups recently for a $769 used conversion kit.
So, while you could still disassemble your car to rebuild using JDM right-hand drive parts or engineer a trick sliding steering wheel, that takes way too long. The mail needs to be delivered now.
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