- Written by webmin
Even though we now – finally – get the cool little dealie, we normally wouldn’t pay any attention to the doings of something like the Transit. But over the course of six million vehicles, interesting things happen. Especially when you build the ubiquitous cheap commercial vehicle of the swingin’ Sixties and Seventies in England. See above.
So, basically, this is an excuse for a huge gallery of entertaining photos, below the jump. Thanks for the vicarious memories, White Van Man!
FORD TRANSIT: 45 YEARS OF SUCCESS
Transit is one of the most successful Ford nameplates in the world. Ford Transit is exported to virtually every country in the world. Since its launch in 1965 more than six million Transits have been built at 22 factories across the world. The innovations through its long and distinguished career include:
· £3.6 million worth of pre-orders were placed before Transit came off the line at Langley, Berkshire on 9 August.
· The first Transit was packed with innovations like a printed circuit in the instrument panel, an optional steering lock, a side loading door and seat-belt attachment points. Soon after launch, more innovations such as halogen headlights, tubeless tyres and weight-saving minimum leaf springs were introduced. Original Transit is powered with a 73bhp 1.7-litre or an 85bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine. The first diesel is a Perkins 4/99 with 43bhp.
· Engines for Transit are built at Ford’s Dagenham plant.
· At launch, in October 1965, the cheapest Transit, as short-wheelbase, petrol-engined van with a 12cwt (610kg) payload, cost £542. The most expensive Transit listed at that time was a 15-seat Custom bus which cost £997 plus £159 15s 10d purchase tax.
· In Britain one of the features that made the Transit so popular with builders was that for the first time a standard 8ft x 4ft sheet of building board could be laid flat on the floor between the wheel arches. French undertakers, the celebrated Pompes Funebres, also took to the Transit because at last it was possible to get standard coffins side-by-side between the wheel arches.
· Transit immediately pushed Ford’s share of the medium commercial vehicle market from 15 per cent with the Thames CWT series, to 20 per cent and market leadership in the first year.
· Perkins 4/99 diesel replaced by Perkins 4/108. Transit is offered as a long wheelbase version as well as short.
· 100,000th Transit comes off the line at Southampton.
· A car-like grille is introduced, as well as new model nomenclature to reflect the change to metric. Model numbers now describe the payload in kilogrammes, divided by ten.
· Transit Supervan I made its debut at Brands Hatch It was based on a Ford GT40 sports racing car and, powered by a 5.0 litre V8 engine, could reach 150mph.
· The Perkins powerplants used from launch are replaced with a range of high-speed York engines with 54bhp or 61bhp on offer.
· Transit gains disc brakes at the front for the first time, with ventilated discs for the new top-weight model, the 190. The millionth Transit is sold and production begins at the Southampton plant.
· The new 3.5 tonne model arrives to take full advantage of the 3.5 tonne legislative breakpoint affecting the fitment of tachographs, drivers hours and operators licences. New steel tyres and ventilated front disc brakes become standard to cater for the increase in weight. Self adjusting rear brakes introduced.
· One millionth Transit produced in Southampton.
· Transit receives its first significant facelift with a streamlined and lengthened bonnet to accommodate petrol and increasingly popular diesel engines.
· New, more fuel efficient 1.6 and 2.0 litre OHC petrol engines and Ford’s C3 automatic transmission and a more powerful heater with car-like ducting.
· Cathodic anti-corrosion programme announced.
· Thermo viscous fan announced for diesel models.
· Braking further improved, overall specification uprated, variable venture carburettor and thermo viscous fan introduced for petrol-engined Transits.
· Cylinder head developed for use with liquid petroleum gas introduced as an option for the 2.0 litre DOHC.
· New steering box reduces steering effort, larger steering wheel fitted.
· Transit gains Ford’s own Dagenham built 2.5-litre direct-injection diesel with its rotary fuel injection pump, which increased power over the York engines while cutting fuel consumption by up to 24 per cent.
· Supervan II, based on another Ford ex-Le Mans car, the C100 and powered by a DFY Cosworth V8, was clocked at 178mph at Silverstone.
· Two millionth Transit produced in Southampton
· An all-new Transit, code named VE6 – ‘V’ for van, ‘E’ for Europe and ‘6′ for the project number – featured streamlined cab styling that, with a drag coefficient of just 0.37, bettered many cars. Fuel economy also improved by up to eight per cent. The new nose aids frontal collision safety by providing a crumple zone. Load space increases 11 to 13.5 per cent depending on model.
· Always mindful of customer needs, the Transit also gains a wider bonnet for better engine access, larger cab doors, deeper windows for better vision, wider and taller rear doors and larger side doors to accept a one-metre pallet.
· High roof available on both short and long wheelbase models.
· Cab specifications updated and improved on all models.
· Nine-seat Transit minibus launched.
· MT75 five-speed gear box launched.
· Power steering becomes an option on long wheelbase models.
· Executive minibus and low roof 12-seat minibus introduced.
· Power steering available on short wheelbase.
· The best year for Transit production to date: a total of 173,059 vehicles rolled of the production lines at Southampton, Genk in Belgium and Azambuja in Portugal.
· Silver Jubilee model introduced, based on 100 Standard with metallic silver paint and unique wheel trims.
· Transit code name VE64 receives a turbocharged diesel for the first time. Derived from the 2.5-litre DI, the new engine contains another commercial vehicle first in its drive-by-wire engine control, the first offered in a medium duty vehicle.
· Transit also gains a naturally aspirated version of the 2.5L DI and an uprated petrol engine with 97PS on offer. Big steps on the safety front, too, with a redesigned underbody structure that means Transit passes tough 30mph crash barrier tests. The new structure is also strong enough to restrain a triple seat and its occupants.
· Launch of a new heavyweight derivative, the Transit 230. Its gross vehicle weight is 3,995 kg and was developed by Ford’s Special Vehicle Engineering in response to a demand for a heavier chassis.
· New Transit Specialist Dealer network launched to provide more efficient and specialist Transit customer service.
· Transit is updated with a number of exterior and interior changes including the distinctive Ford family oval grille. The new model features interior noise reduced by 70 per cent, as well as comprehensive upgrades to safety and security features including central locking, a perimeter alarm, double-locking capability and an electronic passive anti-theft system. Also added are three-point seat-belts and an all-new, more car-like, interior and dashboard. Other improvements include a new climate control system, a 2.5L DI diesel with improved emissions and a new 115PS DOHC petrol engine.
· Driver’s airbag introduced as an option.
· Three millionth Transit produced in Genk Belgium.
· Transit ‘high cube’ introduced with its extended length and high roof the load space is 12 cubic metres, a 19 per cent increase on the previous model.
· A short-wheelbase Transit carrying half a tonne of payload was driven by journalist Simon Harvey around one complete lap of the M25 London ring-road at an average speed of 50.02mph and an average fuel consumption of over 40mpg, as verfied by the RAC.
· Supervan III appears with a totally new bodyshell and powered by a 3.5l, Cosworth HB F1 V8 engine producing 650bhp at 13,000 rpm.
· The Transit 17-seat minibus makes its debut. It has comfort plus the highest level of safety of any other of its kind including: three-part inertia reel lap and diagonal seatbelts throughout, tested to M1 passenger car standards, high-backed rear seats with fixed head restraints, driver and outer front passenger airbags fitted as standard, anti-lock brakes fitted as standard.
· Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Traction Assist are introduced along with an enhanced immobilisation system and improved steering column locking.
· Autoclutch system is introduced. Gears are selected in the normal way and the lever operates in a conventional gate. The clutch automatically disengages as the lever is moved and re-engages when the sensors in the system tell the control unit that the next gear has been selected. Autoclutch replaces the clutch pedal and its actuating cable with an electronically controlled hydraulic system linked to an accelerator position sensor.
· Ford’s first dropside model for 25 years arrives. Supplied fully bodied and ready for the road it is based on the single rear wheel derivative of the 150 medium (3.2m) wheelbase chassis cab and combines overall compactness with a tight turning circle and a 56KW (76PS) 2.5Di diesel engine.
· Transit’s ‘Safeguard’ engine immobiliser system is enhanced with encrypted keys and the steering column locking improved to comply with the latest legislative requirements, making it more difficult for a would-be thief to force the lock and drive the vehicle away.
· Service intervals on Transit petrol engines increases from 10,000 miles to 12,500 miles.
· The Dagenham-built 115PS direct injection diesel engine with turbocharger and inter-cooling is introduced.
· For the first time, Ford Transits of varying specification are converted to run on liquified petroleum gas (LPG).
· The biggest step-change in the history of Transit happens. The first all-new Ford Transit for ten years offers three wheelbases (short, medium and long) from one common platform, giving the widest range of commercial vans, buses and chassis cabs of any truck or van product on the market.
· The all-new Ford Transit goes on sale in Britain with a standard three-year/100,000 mile manufacturer’s warranty, the first time this has been offered on a Ford vehicle in the UK. Driver’s airbag becomes standard.
· Following a $345 million investment in plant and equipment, the Ford plant in Southampton produces the new front-wheel drive Ford Transit. It shares the same platform as the all-new rear-wheel drive Transit. The front-wheel drive Transits have state of the art 2.0-litre, double overhead cam, 16 valve, turbocharged direct injection diesel engines built at Dagenham.
· The Ford World Rally Transit is built with a carbon-fibre front air splitter and rear aerofoil, a rally interior featuring steel tubular roll cage, carbon-fibre bucket seats, racing harnesses, internal fire extinguisher system and Pi System 2 on-board data-logging system. It has an uprated version of Transit’s acclaimed 2.4-litre Duratorq DI. With an available 165PS and 410Nm of torque, Ford Rally Transit can reach 60mph in less than eight seconds, onto a maximum speed of 130mph. A revised exhaust system, revised brakes and lowered McPherson strut suspension complete the Ford World Rally Transit package, finished in striking Ford Martini World Rally colours for maximum visual impact.
· Ford Transit receives the prestigious International Van of the Year award.
· A 17-seat Transit minibus joins the Transit range with industry- leading levels of safety and security, including the standard fitment of driver and outer front passenger airbags, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution.
· Formula One-style gear change technology comes to the new Ford Transit range with the advanced Durashift EST automated transmission. As well as an automatic mode that delivers the fuel economy and performance of a manual box, the system provides push-button manual gear changing at the driver’s fingertips.
· The Ford Transit wins the prestigious Arctic Van Test of 2001, held in Lapland.
· The Transit family gets bigger with Tourneo Connect and Transit Connect. Transit’s renowned durability and commercial vehicle design pedigree comes to the light van and sub-one tonne sector for the first time. Competitive fuel economy, extended service intervals, low insurance ratings and Transit security features are key contributors to low cost of ownership.
· The new Transit Connect comes with a choice of petrol and diesel engines, including fuel-efficient common rail diesel technology built at the Centre for Diesel Excellence, Dagenham.
· The new 125PS, 2.0 litre common-rail turbo-diesel engine, the Duratorq TDCi, is now available on front-wheel drive Transit models and in all Ford Tourneo Minibuses.
· The range expands with 12- and 17- seat Transit minibuses introduced.
· Total Transit sales in the UK total 1.5 million.
· Transit Connect gets off to a flying start as International Van of the Year.
· Ford Transit has another industry first – anti-locking brake system (ABS) becomes a standard feature.
· The first bi-fuel Transit Connect is introduced running on petrol or liquefied petroleum gas
· The Transit range extends with a new low floor platform for front wheel drive two tonne models.
· A new 85PS engine is available, built at the Centre for Diesel Excellence, Dagenham.
· New 135PS, 2.4-litre TDCi engine introduced. The most powerful engine yet to appear in Ford Transit with 375Nm of torque. New 115PS TDdi Transit engine introduced for 3.5 tonne models. Both engines are built at Ford’s Centre for Diesel Excellence, Dagenham.
· New six-speed gearbox introduced with 135PS engine.
· Ford engineers have fun with Transit Connect and create a new lean machine, Connect X-Press – a hybrid of Transit Connect and Focus RS.
· Transit Double-cab-in-van joins the range to simultaneously carry five people and goods.
· Five millionth Transit produced at Southampton.
· Ford creates special edition Transits to mark 40 years of success: Leader Hallmark, SilverBlue and LX Plus.
· Concepts of Transit Connect Crew Van, Ranger Tipper and Transit Transfer Bus are unveiled.
· 9 August 2005 – Ford Transit has its 40th birthday.
· The Ford Dagenham plant has been producing engines for Transit since 1965.
· The Ford Southampton plant produces its 1.8 millionth Transit.
· A totally new Ford Transit takes the CV world by storm at the same great value as the prior Transit range. One in four models were available at the same price as the prior model including the most popular van in Britain: 280 SWB 85PS panel van (at £13,650).
· The latest generation Transit has distinctive new front end styling and exterior detail changes, improved driving dynamics, re-designed interior with new dashboard and fascia-mounted gear lever, new range of high-tech features for the driver, upgraded safety and security features including sector first re-charging key, seven all-new engines, all Euro IV emissions compliant, six new diesel engines to be built at Dagenham Diesel Centre.
· The new Transit was designed and engineered in Dunton, Essex, SWB models to be assembled in Southampton, with transmissions built in Merseyside.
· The new Ford Transit is awarded the prestigious title of ‘International Van of the Year 2007′.
· Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) is standardised on all diesel Transit panel vans and buses. Standardisation for dual rear wheeled vehicles, 17-seat minibus and chassis cabs with diesel powertrains follows. ESP was previously a £250 option.
· Ford’s Commercial Vehicle development team, based at the company’s Dunton Technical Centre in Essex, celebrates International Van of the Year 2007 and record sales for the UK in 2006, by creating an unusual one-off limousine – the Transit XXL. It uses ‘off-the-shelf’ Ford Transit components throughout and is based on two short wheelbase Transit Tourneo models which have been joined together to deliver a bespoke ‘limo’ that carries the driver plus seven passengers in full VIP comfort.
· Two new people-movers in the Transit range cater for operators who want to carry any group from eight to 17 people. The new nine-seat Shuttle Bus offers dedicated luggage space alongside passenger comfort. The new high roof 17-seat minibus means easier access for passengers.
· A Ford survey reveals the real White Van Man: 71 per cent think of themselves as careful and considerate drivers, he wants to look good: 24 per cent are into designer clothes brands, he likes to be healthy: 62 per cent do not smoke and 73 per cent try to eat healthily.
· New five-cylinder, 3.2-litre, 200PS, common rail diesel engine for Transit introduced.
· New 4.6t Transit panel van and chassis cab models introduced, aimed at conversion and emergency services market.
· New SportVan line-up launched: Transit SportVan, Transit Connect SportVan and Fiesta SportVan.
· A limited edition of 500 Transit SportVans go on sale with unique Performance Blue paintwork, wide bonnet stripes, 18″ alloy wheels, twin exhaust pipes, leather seats and spoilers. Powered by a 130PS TDCi Duratorq engine.
· Two new three-way Transit Tipper models and two new Transit curtainside models available.
· ’Aux-in’ socket allows Transit drivers or passengers to plug their MP3 portable music devices for the first time.
· Transit One Stop Shop introduces: 3.2- litre 200PS flagship diesel powertrain, 350 Heavy Duty range and 103-litre fuel tank.
· New five-cylinder engine for Transit.
· Ford introduces an ‘intelligent’ all-wheel-drive system to Transit line-up with 2.4-litre 140PS Duratorq TDCi diesel engine and six-speed manual transmission.
· Following the announcement of the most powerful Transit engine (200PS), the largest Transit (4.6 tonne) and a heavy duty series, the Transit range now comes with a new six-speed transmission, more models with electronic stability programme (ESP), hill launch assist (HLA) and optional coated diesel particulate filters. ESP extends to dual rear wheel drive and incorporates hill launch assist.
· New Double Cab-in-Van model on a medium wheelbase platform with low roof available.
· Chassis cab with converted rear compartment for safe storage introduced and Thatcham alarm option available on double chassis cab.
· Shift indicator light introduced for optimum driving economy
· Transit Chassis Double Cab Utility introduced as a Special Vehicle Option (SVO) featuring unglazed second row cab doors with the rear seats removed. An additional dealer option means customers can also combine this new style of cab with a panel van bulkhead to form a secure load area for valued equipment. Consequently, a bed-mounted box is not required which would otherwise take up load space, add weight and thereby reduce payload.
· Transit SWB panel van defies all cost of living trends costing less in 2009 than it did in 1995. This model not only costs less but also includes safety and electronic features that were options on a 1995 Transit which started out at £12,270. To specify the 1995 model up to the 2009 model you would have had to spend a further £3,860 on optional extras. A similar 2009 Transit model cost £14,920.
· Ford’s ECOnetic low CO2 technology comes to Ford’s most popular commercial vehicle icon: Transit ECOnetic is based on the front-wheel-drive Transit 280 panel van with short wheelbase and 2.2-litre 115PS Duratorq TDCi engine. Target fuel economy is 39.2mpg, while average CO2 emissions are a best in class 189 g/km.
· A limited edition of 80 frozen white Transit SportVans arrive: 260, short wheelbase with front wheel drive, 140PS 2.2-litre TDCi diesel engine and a six-speed transmission. The styling includes wide performance blue bonnet stripes, 18in alloy wheels, twin exhaust pipes and spoilers.
· Ford introduces an ‘intelligent’ all-wheel-drive system to the 15-seat Transit minibus. The AWD system automatically provides stepless torque flow to the front wheels when traction loss at the rear is detected and requires no special driver training.
· 150 Ink Blue SportVans launched. Britain’s van buyers love the SportVan and all of the previous editions are sold out.
· The 6,000,000th Transit is produced at the Kocaeli Plant, Turkey. The Southampton Plant creates the special edition Sapphire, to mark the occasion.
· A limited edition of 1,150 Transit Sapphires go on sale to mark 45 years of sales leadership in Britain. It has a silver grille, mirror caps and rear light guards with new ‘Ink Blue’ metallic paint.