Europa 2013 - Postal Vehicles
A loyal Japanese member of the postal service The strangest thing is that the writer of these words is the same age as a long-standing and loyal Japanese member of the Faroese postal service. The Japanese referred to here is a “Suzuki”. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of cars knows that Suzuki is a Japanese car manufacturer.
Suzuki began making cars back in 1937, but it was in the year of my birth, 1968, that Suzuki began production of the vehicle that would become of great importance for many car owners around the world, including the Faroese postal service – the first Suzuki jeep. Suzuki’s first jeep was called “Suzuki Jimmy”. The Jimmy model was produced until the mid-70s. The next generation of Suzuki jeeps, the SJ 410, was introduced in 1982, followed by the SJ 413 in 1983. However, the model Suzuki began producing in 1985 became very visible in the Faroese landscape. At the time, rural postmen in particular used cars in their work – for the same reasons they do today. The more remote postal routes in Tórshavn and Hoyvík were so-called “car routes”. The moped routes used the Puch Maxi, which at the time was manufactured in Austria. Unfortunately, production of Puch Maxi mopeds stopped in the 1990s. The Puch Maxi was a very reliable moped.
A Puch Maxi was not going to win any races, but it did what it needed to do and the manual transmission made it much easier to manage on the slippery roads than the automatic transmission on the Italian Scarabeo scooters that came later in the nineties. The Italian scooters were faster, but they were not as good on slippery winter roads. There were also some walking routes around the Faroe Islands. For example, most routes in Klaksvík were walking routes. In Tórshavn, the routes closest to the post office in the city centre were walking routes. Some walking routes were in villages.
The best known of these was between Bøur and Gásadalur, where the postman walked across the fell with the mail three times a week. Many moped routes were converted to car routes because of the severe hurricanes in the winter of 1988-89. The Marknagils route in Tórshavn was originally a moped route, but it was converted to a car route after the postal service lost two mopeds in the hurricane. It was this route that became my first car route. The Suzuki cars had a good car radio.
A woman from Klaksvík, who still lives by Marknagilsvegin, said to me with a smile the first time I stopped in front of her house with the postal jeep: “It is like hearing the ice cream truck in the summer in Denmark, because it also always plays loud music.” It was probably a little hint not to wake up her baby sleeping in the pram outside. Using this link: http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=IqM8iyj8bZI you can see a short video clip on YouTube with a now former rural postman who comes out of a house in Oyndarfjørður after a good cup of coffee and discovers that his postal car has been stolen.
A short while later, a local man from Oyndarfjørður comes driving by in the postal car. The video clip was posted on YouTube as a thank you to the rural postman for 30 years of loyal service. This same rural postman was once reprimanded for using the postal car to get to church on time. He defended himself by saying that it should also be permitted to use it for church services, but that excuse was not accepted.
Another rural postman in Suðurstreymoy was once bitten by a dog when he got out of the postal car. The elderly woman who owned the dog was very upset and said to the postman: “It’s eight years old and has never bitten anyone.” After thinking for a moment, the postman replied: “That’s nothing! I’m 46 and I’ve never bitten anyone either!” Later, Suzuki introduced other models, but the memories of the little 1985 Suzuki Samurai are especially dear to those of us who previously worked at Postverk Føroya.
Heri Simonsen Since the theme of this year’s Europe issue is current postal vehicles, the two cars depicted on the stamps are newer cars that are used by the postal service today. The two cars are: a FIAT DUBLÓ MAX from 2012 (FO 765) and a Scania R420 from 2007 (FO 766).
Technical DetailsIssue Date: 29.04.2013
Printer: OeCd, Austria
Colours: 4 Colours
Size: 30 x 40 mm
Values: 7.00, 12.50 DKK