New Transit prompts Ford to Focus on the Past

| 24 Apr 2012

The launch of a new Transit is always the perfect excuse to look at pictures of old ones. And, with a 47-year-and-counting lifespan, there are plenty to look at.

In that time the Transit has done everything from moving elephants at Regents Park Zoo to maintaining Switzerland’s railway network and transporting bands such as Brian Poole and the Tremeloes.

The motoring icon has also done its fair share of promotional stunts, most notably the series of mid-engined Supervans, which kicked off with Supervan 1 in 1971. It was powered by a five-litre V8 scavenged from a GT40.

Supervan 2 followed in the ’80s powered by a Cosworth F1 engine, before the pièce de résistance arrived in the form of the 650bhp, (probably) 200mph Supervan 3, which was launched in ’94.

During its long life a Transit has also jumped 15 cars in the hands of stuntman Steve Matthews, and entered the annual Malden Raft Race.

News of Ford’s new Transit comes as the Transit Van Club announces signing up its 1000th member.

Darren Kempton, who owns two classic Transits – one of which is still in daily use – was presented with a commemorative certificate from club founder Peter Lee.

Lee said: “I never imagined the club would reach 1,000 members so quickly. I think that says everything you need to know about the Transit and its place in people’s hearts.”

Anyone interested in the new Transit called the Custom (we think) can find out more here. Meanwhile why not feast your eyes on some more of the pictures Ford used to promote it.

The one millionth Transit, produced at Southampton, was destined for Africa.

Penthouse magazine sponsored a team of racing Escorts and naturally chose Transits for support vehicles.

A 1995 Supervan 3. Same rolling chassis as Supervan 2 with a Cosworth HB V8 3.5 litre engine which developed 650 bhp at 12,000rpm. Top speed was estimated at 200 mph.

Ford engineers built a floating Transit to take part in the Annual Maldon raft race.

Transit arrives on the moon...

 A 1965 Transit in action at the docks.

A Transit being used in Swizterland for railway maintenance work.