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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Morgan Olson is an American aluminum vehicle company that is the leading producer of aluminum walk-in vans. It was founded in 1946 on Long Island, New York, by Jimmy Olson, and is currently located in Sturgis, Michigan. Previously owned by Northrop Grumman and doing business as Grumman Olson for many decades, the company was then taken over by a group of senior managers. In 2003 Grumman Olson was purchased by the American company JBPCO, who also owned Morgan Corp., the United States then-largest manufacturer of truck bodies. Grumman Olson was renamed Morgan Olson in 2004.

Morgan Olson's leading competitor is Utilimaster Corporation.


The idea for the first aluminum walk-in van was originated by Walter Heingartner, owner of Kinney Motors Chevrolet in Brooklyn, NY. Heingartner was friends with Jimmy Olson, then Commissioner of the New York State Liquor Authority. Olson had no truck experience, but knowing there were ten independent laundry companies in Brooklyn alone, he saw a market. He knew an aluminum body would be lighter and less prone to corrosion. He also knew someone who could build it, "Jake" Swirbul, one of Grumman's founders.[citation needed] Grumman had no experience building commercial truck bodies. However, they decided to move forward with the concept and Grumman Aircraft Engineering was scheduled to produce the vehicle beginning in 1939. The concept was shelved due to the onset of World War II.

After the war, Olson and three partners formulated J.B.E. Olson Corporation on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn.

The company grew and prospered over the next many decades. The company purchased the Sturgis, MI facility, its current headquarters, in 1963.[citation needed]

In 1984, Grumman Olson was awarded the largest contract in its history. The United States Postal Service (USPS) awarded Grumman Olson a contract worth over one billion dollars. Over 150,000 Grumman LLVs were produced, of which the majority are in operation today.[citation needed]

After changes in ownership in the 1990s, Grumman Olson was faced with a declining market, and eventually declared bankruptcy in 2001. The company was purchased by JBPCO, a parent company whose sales are nearly one billion annually, in 2003. At that time the name of the company was changed to Morgan Olson. Since the acquisition of Morgan Olson by JBPCO, it has seen steady, profitable growth while placing a heavy emphasis on reinvesting back into improved manufacturing equipment and processes.[citation needed]

Today, Morgan Olson produces walk-in vans, dry freight box truck vans, and cargo van upfittings.


Grumman Kabmaster
Grumman Kabmaster
  • 1946-19?? Olson Kargo King
  • Olson/Grumman Kurb Side
  • Olson/Grumman Kurb Van
  • Olson/Grumman Kurb Van King
  • 195? - 1990 Olson/Grumman Kurbmaster
  • Olson/Grumman Junior Kurbmaster
  • 1955-196? Olson Olsonette (small, class 1)
  • 1965-1990 Grumman P-500/600/800 (only sold to UPS after 1980)
  • 1986-20?? Grumman LLV
  • 1990-20?? Grumman/Morgan Olson Route Star (7,600-14,000 lb GVWR)[1]
  • 1991-?? Grumman Olson Freight Star (Van/cutaway version of Route Star[2]


Morgan Olson's home plant and corporate offices are located in the southern Michigan town of Sturgis. Loudon, Tennessee became home of the second second production facility in 2015. The third and newest production facility, beginning operations in 2020, is located in Ringgold, Virginia. With well over 900,000 square feet under one roof the Ringgold facility is the largest of the three production plants.


  1. ^ Mele, Jim (July 1990). "The New Models for 1991: Mid-Range Trucks". Fleet Owner. Vol. 85 no. 7. FM Business Publications. p. 70.
  2. ^ Mele, p. 71

This page was last edited on 30 August 2020, at 20:55
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