March 19, 2019
The Ford Transit van has been a staple of the UK new van market for more than fifty years, Vansdirect traces the iconic large van back to its roots and looks at how the Transit van has evolved over the years!
With a facelifted Ford Transit van set to join the range, gaining hybrid technology for the first time, we trace the Transit van back to where it all started and look at the evolution of the iconic Ford van through the years!
Although the Transit van is thought of as a British institution, you may be surprised to find out that the first Ford vans to wear the iconic Transit badge was built in their plant in Cologne, Germany. This model was loved by drivers in Europe at the time who enjoyed the impressive storage space. This German model was not widely exported and ceased production in 1965, but played a large part in the Transit van we all know and love today.
In 1965, the first generation Transit van, this model had the longest production run of any Transit van to date, remaining largely unaltered during its twelve year lifespan. This model was initially built in the brand’s Langley facility in Berkshire, England, however demand exceeded the capability of the plant, with production moving to Southampton where it stayed right up until 2013.
The Mark II Transit van was launched in 1978, a heavily facelifted version giving the van significant engineering and cosmetic improvements. The future of the Transit van was ensured by providing greater reliability and comfort than its predecessor, this popularity amongst hosts of different customers is still felt even today.
The fact that the Transit van didn’t get a massive overhaul for more than 20 years spelt out its consistent appeal over this period of time. The second generation Transit van was launched in 1986 and built upon the durability, versatility, longevity and value for money qualities which made its predecessor so popular. The exterior of the Transit van was modified to look more like the model we now see on our roads, however the most significant modification came in the form of a new bodyshell which changed the slope of the bonnet.
In 1994 the second generation Transit van gained a major facelift with a new nose and dashboard, also introducing features which we take for granted in today’s models but were a revelation at the time, including: air conditioning, central locking, airbags and electric windows.
In 1995 the Transit Hallmark model was launched to celebrate the 30th anniversary of a van which had already developed into a British legend, Only 600 units of the Hallmark model were made, making you incredibly lucky to get your hands on one of these very rare models.
In 2000, the third generation Transit van was launched, sporting some rapid advances in engineering technology, with perhaps the most noticeable feature of the new model being how much of a car-like feel it had when driving. The new van was becoming more efficient and easier to control, whilst also being perfect for carrying heavy loads as ever before, the third generation model gained a top speed of 90 mph and a diesel engine shared with the Ford Mondeo. This model also claimed the International Van of the Year crown in 2001.
The fourth generation Transit van which was launched in 2006 involved the van receiving a facelift to the body with new front and rear lights, a new front end and a new interior which featured the gearstick on the dashboard and the brand’s new corporate radio design. Powertrains of the Transit van were also revised, whilst a Sport model also joined the range in 2006.
The official launch of the fifth generation Transit van took place at the North American International Auto Show in 2013. In a break from the previous generation Transit, there were now two distinct Transit body forms available: Medium size front-wheel drive, this is the introduction of the Ford Transit Custom van to the market and Full size rear-wheel drive, the full size Transit van designed using New Edge styling with an interior taking inspiration from the Ford Focus.
The Ford Transit van range as we know it today has something for absolutely everyone’s requirements ranging from the Ford Transit Courier and Ford Transit Connect small vans to the UK’s best-seller the Ford Transit Custom and the full-size Transit van, with a new model for everyone’s needs.
It’s nearly time for yet another Transit van to join the market, the model which was first revealed at the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hannover will join the large vans market later this year and will boast hybrid technology for the very first time. The Ford Transit van remains just as popular as it has ever been!
Looking for a new van? We have a huge selection of Ford vans for sale at Vansdirect including the Ford Transit van range, from the Transit Courier to the full-size Transit van, with cheap van finance options available including van leasing, contract hire and van hire purchase. Interested? Simply fill in a contact form or call us on 0800 169 69 95 to find out more!