The Ford Transit has long been the identifiable white van, with its long history in the UK Ford has monopolised the new and used van market for years winning multiple awards and generating a huge following, while other manufacturers have entered the light commercial vehicle market in the last 50 plus years.
Ford originally launched the Transit range in 1965, the shape has largely stayed the same since its first inception, however, the cabin and technology available on the humble van has changed significantly and has been updated to fit to expectations of the early 21st century, modern changes include a camera system for parking and manoeuvring, blind spot warning, cruise control and a full electric van option.
1965 - 1986
The Ford Transit Mark I was designed to compete with the Bedford CA which had dominated the fleet market-beating Ford’s previous model the Thames. The success of the Transit was originally down to a front mounted engine that increased the loading capacity. The engineering of the Ford transit Mark I was as a result of Ford of Britain and Ford of Germany collaborating to produce a vehicle that used the best of both companies that previously refused to compete in each other markets.
1977 – 1986
The second generation of Ford Transit was available alongside the first generation until 1986. This change came with a distinctly different front end this model was also globally available with markets in the UK, Europe, Australia and America in various guises. High-performance engine models were designed specifically for the Police and Ambulance service, designed to take the extra weight required. Body styles available with this generation included a box van, combi, MPV and chassis cab for flatbed adaptation.
1986 – 2003
The new gen three Transit used many of the same engine configurations of the previous generations, the Essex V6 was replaced due to changes in emissions regulation to the Cologne 2.9 V6. Noticeable changes included the change of a squared bonnet to a long sloping bonnet that allowed plenty of engine room while not increasing the front end length. A minor facelift was released from 1995 that adjusted the front end while leaving the one box rear relatively untouched, new dashboard configurations and the introduction of the OBD II standard reader was installed. A list of modern conveniences was offered as optional extras.
Some of this generation Ford Transit are still on the road today approximately 34,000 still registered as of January 2018.
2000 – 2014
The Millennium saw a new generation of Ford Transit van and with it a whole host of options, in production up until 2014 and still in production today in China and Malaysia. Ford identified the needs of businesses and their customers and made this version the most versatile it possibly could. Body styles included pickups, 3 & 4 door vans, a minibus, crew cabin and chassis cabin. The engine remains to be front mounted while a front-wheel drive, four-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive options were available. All with a 5-speed manual gearbox until 2004 where it was increased to a 6 speed.
The current generation has been available in the UK since 2014 and builds on the success of the previous vans, offering a wide selection of shapes for every purpose, most popular models are the medium sized transit and the large box van. These model variants have been listed to compete with competitors such as Mercedes-Benz vans and Volkswagen.
The latest range of Ford vehicles offers more than ever before, features including integrated sat-nav, smartphone connectivity, adaptive cruise control and driver monitoring systems. Driver aids including a parking and lane-keeping assistance.
Some of the best selling vans from Ford today are available here: