There are certain vehicles that can be used in various situations, whether as an everyday mode of transport or to carry goods. The Ford Transit is a versatile vehicle that has been popular in the UK for decades. Over the years it’s fulfilled a range of duties, acting as a police van and ice cream truck. We’re looking into the history of the Ford Transit to see why it’s one of the UK’s most utilised vehicles.
The first Transit was introduced to the UK in 1965 as a replacement to the Ford Thames 400E. Ford was looking to create a bigger vehicle that could appeal to the widest possible audience. The Transit was different to other European models because it took inspiration from American motors. This was seen in the broad track that gave it a generous carrying capacity.
Another reason why the Transit became successful was the volume of styles. This ranged from pickup trucks to minibuses, which showcased the Transit’s versatility. The Mark I had a 1.7-litre Essex V4 engine and production was carried out in Berkshire. But demand soon outstripped supply and production moved to Southampton.
In 1977, the Mark II came out and it featured a major restyle. It had a new interior, longer nose section and a Pinto engine. The second Transit was available in six styles: Van, Parcel Van, Bus, Crewbus, Chassis Cab and Kombi. All of the variations could be combined with a range of engines, which led to a lot of sales.
The third version of the Transit appeared in 1986. Codenamed VE6, the vehicle had a one-box design that meant the windscreen and bonnet were at the same angle. It came with fully independent front suspension and a 3.0 Essex V6 engine. Another facelift occured in 1994 and the Transit came with a 2-litre DOHC 8-valve engine.
The modern day Transit has retained a similar look. This demonstrates the inherent popularity of the Transit because there’s not needed to be any major changes. UK motorists enjoy the Transit because of its performance, cargo space and versatility.