Post Office Telecommunications - The Commer Van
Commer Utility 15cwt.
The magazine of the POEU - Post Office Engineering Union - June 1971 featured 'The Birth Of Your Van" a short article about the Commer 15cwt van.

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The Birth of Your Van

"There are something like 4,000 Commer vans in use by the Post Office and except for 24 used in postal engineering, they are all in use in telecommunications. Made at Dunstable (Bedford) under modern flow line technique, the golden yellow vehicles roll off the assembly lines destined for all parts of the country.

The essential difference between an ordinary commercial vehicle and one for use by the Post Office are the rigid specifications which both the Union and the Post Office insist upon. As an example, an Annual Conference proposition calling for a third safety belt, meant that Commers had to drive two vans into a brick wall to test the anchorage and then write the two vehicles off as scrap."

The Birth Of Your Van

"More than 50 variations to the standard model are insisted upon by the Post Office. These include such items as mudflaps to be fitted front and rear; a crushable sun visor, special rear bumper step with a rear towing bracket extended, external grab handles and many others. Production at Dunstable is essentially a feat of organisation as the hundred and one parts are assembled, tested and checked.

From start to finish assuming all parts are available, a Commer van can be produced in a couple of hours. And when they leave the factory storage area, they join the 61,000 other Post Office vehicles throughout the country. Last year (1970) the combined mileage of the total fleet - possibly the largest in the country - amounted to the astronomical figure of 524 million miles."

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Pictures: Commer Van  photograph, courtesy of the Post Office Vehicle Club © 1998-2007
Compiled by Light-Straw © 1997-2007