Ford Transit

Make & Model Family

The Ford Transit is a range of light commercial vehicle produced by Ford since 1965. Sold primarily as a cargo van, the Transit is also built as a passenger van (marketed as the Tourneo since 1995), minibus, cutaway van chassis, and as a pickup truck. Over eight million Transit have been sold, making it the third best-selling van of all time and have been produced across five basic platform generations (debuting in 1965, 1978, 1986, 2000, and 2013 respectively).

The first product of the merged Ford of Europe, the Transit was marketed through Western Europe and Australia; by the end of the 20th century, it was marketed nearly globally with the exception of North America until 2013; it replaced the Ford E-Series in 2015. The Transit has been the best-selling light commercial vehicle in Europe for 40 years, and in some countries the term "Transit" has passed into common usage as a generic term applying to any light commercial van in the Transit's size bracket. While initially designed for European consumption, the Transit is now produced in Asia, North America, and Europe for worldwide buyers.

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The Ford Transit is a range of light commercial vehicle produced by Ford since 1965. Sold primarily as a cargo van, the Transit is also built as a passenger van (marketed as the Tourneo since 1995), minibus, cutaway van chassis, and as a pickup truck. Over eight million Transit have been sold, making it the third best-selling van of all time and have been produced across five basic platform generations (debuting in 1965, 1978, 1986, 2000, and 2013 respectively).

The first product of the merged Ford of Europe, the Transit was marketed through Western Europe and Australia; by the end of the 20th century, it was marketed nearly globally with the exception of North America until 2013; it replaced the Ford E-Series in 2015. The Transit has been the best-selling light commercial vehicle in Europe for 40 years, and in some countries the term "Transit" has passed into common usage as a generic term applying to any light commercial van in the Transit's size bracket. While initially designed for European consumption, the Transit is now produced in Asia, North America, and Europe for worldwide buyers.

Unlike the British-built Transit "family", the first production Ford to wear the "Transit" badge was a van built in Ford's Köln (Cologne) plant in Germany. It was introduced in 1953 as FK 1000 (Ford Köln carrying 1,000 kg) with a 1.3 litre inline-four engine from the contemporary Taunus. In 1955 the engine capacity was enlarged to 1.5 litres. From 1961, this vehicle was called the Ford Taunus Transit. Production of this model ceased in 1965.

The German vehicle was not widely exported, and the "Mark 1" tag has commonly been applied, retrospectively, to the 1965 to 1978 British model. While there have been five basic Transit platforms since 1965, the various facelifts and upgrades over the years have been referred to using a conflicting range of "Mark" numbers, with some sources counting a facelift as a new "Mark", some not. Ford's own historical look back at Transit production, published for the launch of the 1994 model, avoids the issue by referring to generations of Transit by years produced.

The first generation Transit, or the Transit Mark I in the United Kingdom, was introduced in October 1965, taking over directly from the Thames 400E, and has been in continuous production in three basic generations to the present day.

Transits have also been produced in Ford's Genk factory in Belgium and also Turkey. Transits were produced in Amsterdam for the local market from the mid-1970s until the end of 1981. This factory had ample capacity, since the Ford Transcontinental produced there had little success (total production 8000 in 6 years). Although the Transit sold well in the Netherlands, it was not enough to save the factory, which closed in December 1981.

The engines used in the UK were the Essex V-4 for the petrol-engined version in 1.7 L and 2.0 L capacities. By using relatively short V-4 engines Ford were able to minimise the additional length necessitated to place the engine ahead of the driver. Another popular development under the bonnet was the equipping of the van with an alternator at time when the UK market competitors expected buyers to be content with a dynamo. A 43 HP diesel engine sourced from Perkins was also offered. As this engine was too long to fit under the Transit's stubby nose, the diesel version featured a longer bonnet. The underpowered Perkins proved unpopular, and was replaced by Ford's own "York" unit in 1974. For mainland Europe the Transit had the German Ford Taunus V4 engine in Cologne 1.3, 1.5, and 1.7- or Essex 2.0-litre versions. The diesel version's long nose front was also used to accommodate the Ford 3.0 L Ford Essex V-6 engine (UK) for high performance applications such as vans supplied to police and ambulance services. In Australia, in 1973, to supplement the two Essex V-4 engines that were available the Transit was released with the long-nose diesel front used to accommodate an inline 6-cylinder engine derived from the Ford Falcon.

In March 1978, a facelifted version, commonly known in some markets as the Transit Mark II, debuted with a restyled nose section, lifted from the US third generation Econoline, new interior, and the introduction of the Pinto engine from the Cortina in place of the Essex V4. Many fleet owners experienced premature camshaft wear in early Pinto units in the Cortina and for two years the Transit 75 was available with the 1.6 L Ford Kent cross-flow engine. High-performance versions intended for police or ambulance use used the 3.0 L V-6 version of the Essex engine, Australian variants had 250 cubic inch inline 6-cylinder engines.  In 1984, the York diesel engine was redesigned into the 2.5 L "DI" (direct injection) unit. At this time this generation received a minor facelift including a grey plastic front grille with integrated headlamp surrounds, wraparound indicators, longer bumper end caps and multifunction rear lights incorporating fog, indicator, reversing and side lights for the panel van. This facelift did not commonly result in a new "Mark" number.

In late 1982 a four-wheel drive version was added to the German market. This was developed together with a Ford dealer in Stuttgart. The 4x4 Transit was later offered in other markets as well.

The third generation Transit platform appeared in January 1986 and was notable for its all-new bodyshell which was of "one-box" design, and the front suspension was changed to a fully independent configuration on SWB versions. The engine range was carried over largely unchanged from the last of the 1978–85 generation models, although in 1989 the high-performance 3.0 V-6 petrol was replaced by the Cologne 2.9 EFI V-6. The third generation Transit was developed under the "Triton" code name. A subtle facelift in 1992 saw the fully independent front suspension adopted across the range, whilst a redesigned floor plan allowed the use of single, rather than paired, rear wheels on the LWB derivative, further increasing payload—these models are identifiable by the slightly more rounded front headlamps. In Australia, the third generation Transit did not go on sale until March 1994, after a 13-year absence from that market.

The fourth generation Transit, introduced in July 2000, was the third all-new design, and borrowed styling cues from Ford's "New Edge" designs, like the Focus and Ka. Developed by Ford in the United States, the main innovation is that it is available in either front- or rear-wheel drive. Ford nomenclature makes this the V184 (rear-wheel-drive) or V185 (front-wheel-drive) model. This model features the "Puma"-type Duratorq turbo diesel engine also used in the 2000 Mondeo and Jaguar X-Type, with the petrol versions moving up to the 2.3 L 16-Valve edition of the inline-4 engine. With this engine, the Transit can reach 60 M.P.H. in 20 seconds and reach a top speed of 95 M.P.H., returning it to car-like performance as claimed for the earliest models. A demonstration of this model's speed was shown on Top Gear in 2005, where German race driver Sabine Schmitz attempted to drive it around the Nürburgring in under ten minutes, matching Jeremy Clarkson's time in a turbodiesel Jaguar S-Type; she was unsuccessful, marking her fastest lap at 10m 8s.

The fourth generation Transit, received a facelift to the body, introduced in August 2006, including new front and rear lights, a new front end and a new interior featuring the gearshift on the dashboard and Ford's new corporate radio design. Besides the styling changes, the powertrains were revised. The old petrol engine was replaced with one from the Ford Ranger, the front-wheel-drive diesel went from 2.0 to 2.2 litres capacity, and all diesel engines gained high-pressure common rail (TDCi) systems. The powertrains were changed to meet new emissions legislation. The new version (Ford nomenclature V347 for front-wheel drive and V348 for rear-wheel drive) won International Van of the Year for 2007 despite tough competition from several all-new rivals. This Transit arrived in Mexico to replace the Freestar after the 2007 model year. This was the first Transit having a five-cylinder engine.

The fifth generation of the Transit was officially launched in January 2013 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

A OneFord globally developed vehicle, the new-generation Transit was designed by Ford of Europe and co-developed with Ford in North America. In a break from the previous generation of the Transit, there are two distinct body forms:

Mid-size front wheel drive: now a distinct model, branded Transit/Tourneo Custom. It is intended to compete with vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz Vito/Viano and Volkswagen Transporter T5.

Full size rear wheel drive: a full size version, to enable Transit to better replace the outgoing 40-year-old Econoline/E-Series in the North American market. While the front-wheel drive V347 Transit was sold alongside the E-Series in Mexico starting in 2007 (replacing the Freestar minivan), this generation of the Transit is the first to be officially sold in the United States and Canada. As part of the development cycle, Ford loaned examples of the previous-generation (V347/348) Transit to high-mileage drivers in the United States for evaluation purposes and durability testing.

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