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The History of Ford Transit

The Ford Transit is a popular commercial vehicle for many businesses. With its ability to be upfitted, this model is versatile and practical. Ford first introduced the Transit back in 1965, and it has been known primarily as a cargo van.


The First Generation

The first generation of the Ford Transit is also the longest-running version to date. During these years, very few changes were made. The nose was revised with a longer bonnet, which then became a facelift in 1971 with a more rounded rectangular grille.

This first model was mainly built in the UK and had an Essex V4 engine, which was compact enough to allow the Transit to have a shorter length in front of the driver. Another innovation for the Transit was an alternator when other British models used a dynamo.

The Ford Transit developed a bit of infamy during this time when Scotland Yard estimated that most bank robberies used this model as their getaway car. It became known as Britain’s most wanted van.

A major facelift occurred in 1977 with a longer nose, which meant a larger engine as well as the 1.6L Ford Kent cross-flow engine. Other engines were available for more power. There were six body styles and five engines to choose from.

Second Generation

The second-generation Ford Transit went into production for the 1986 model year. New engines were introduced with an independent front suspension. A minor facelift was completed in 1992 with a new floor plan to increase payload.

A major facelift was adopted for the 1995 model year of the Transit. This model showcased a new nose and dashboard. Powering this model was the 2.0L DOHC engine while the Transit now offered air conditioning, central locking, airbags, and electric windows and mirrors as options.

Third Generation

The third-generation Ford Transit was introduced in 20000 with a new design. The van was now available in either front- or rear-wheel drive. An automatic transmission made handling easier while a new instrument cluster allowed you to keep track of vehicle data, which was introduced in 2003.

A 2006 facelift was introduced with new lights on the front and rear, a new front end, and an updated interior. Powertrains were revised with this model to meet new legislation for emissions. During this period, the Transit was recognized as the International Van of the Year 2007.

Fourth Generation

Introduced for the 2013 model year, the Transit fourth generation debuted at the 2013 North American International Auto Show. This model was the first to be sold in the US and Canada.

There were three wheelbases to choose from with the rear-wheel Transit as well as single and dual-rear-wheel axles. MacPherson struts were introduced with this model with a live leaf-sprung rear axle. The standard for this model was the 3.7L V6 engine with 275 horsepower. Another option was the 3.5L twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 for 310 horsepower. All engines were paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, then later the 10-speed transmission for 2020.

The 2020 model year saw a new front fascia and dashboard. Buyers could also choose an all-wheel-drive model along with power-sliding doors and five-passenger seating.

To find out more about the newest Transit model or any of the previous years, visit Premier Autos of Dallas. Stop in today for a test drive.