50 years of small trucks: How the “express freighter” became the Ford Transit

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Like from the "Express freighter" the Ford Transit became

50 years of small trucks: How the "express freighter" became the Ford Transit-VW

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Source: Autodrom Archive / Sp-X Archive

50 years of small trucks: How the "express freighter" became the Ford Transit-VW

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50 years of Ford Transit: Alfred Haesner’s express freighter Ford FK 1000 from 1953 became Taunus Transit. It should stand up to the VW Transporter, also from Haesner had been developed.

Source: Autodrom Archive / Sp-X Archive

50 years of small trucks: How the "express freighter" became the Ford Transit-America

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The 1965 transit also carries heavy loads.

Source: Autodrom Archive / Sp-X Archive

50 years of small trucks: How the "express freighter" became the Ford Transit-Great Britain

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The Tremeloes: The Transit was used as a tour bus by various rock and pop groups.

Source: Autodrom Archive / Sp-X Archive

50 years of small trucks: How the "express freighter" became the Ford Transit-Great Britain

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In 1967 there was even a Miss Transit for the Ford van.

Source: Autodrom Archive / Sp-X Archive

50 years of small trucks: How the "express freighter" became the Ford Transit-Alfred Haesner

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Automobile history: a Ford Transit from 1994, a Transit 1978 and a Transit Diesel from 1972 (from left to right).

Source: Autodrom Archive / Sp-X Archive

50 years of small trucks: How the "express freighter" became the Ford Transit-Transit

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A Ford Transit from 1975 on an airy advertising tour.

Source: Autodrom Archive / Sp-X Archive

50 years of small trucks: How the "express freighter" became the Ford Transit-VW

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1978 Ford Transit on a Ford test site.

Source: Autodrom Archive / Sp-X Archive

50 years of small trucks: How the "express freighter" became the Ford Transit-Alfred Haesner

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The Ford Transit from 1985 almost looks like a VW bus.

Source: Autodrom Archive / Sp-X Archive

50 years of small trucks: How the "express freighter" became the Ford Transit-Transit

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Popular with craftsmen: the Ford Transit Service Line from 1985.

Source: Autodrom Archive / Sp-X Archive

50 years of small trucks: How the "express freighter" became the Ford Transit-Transit

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Race transit: Ford Supervan II from 1985.

Source: Autodrom Archive / Sp-X Archive

50 years of small trucks: How the "express freighter" became the Ford Transit-Great Britain

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Motorsport: The 1996 Ford Transit Supervan III did its laps on many racetracks.

Source: Autodrom Archive / Sp-X Archive

50 years of small trucks: How the "express freighter" became the Ford Transit-Transit

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Also popular as a moving van: Ford Transit from 2000.

Source: Autodrom Archive / Sp-X Archive

50 years of small trucks: How the "express freighter" became the Ford Transit-Transit

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Bulli competitor: The 2003 Ford Transit Nugget was also used as a camper van.

Source: Autodrom Archive / Sp-X Archive

50 years of small trucks: How the "express freighter" became the Ford Transit-America

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The Ford Transit "Five million edition".

Source: Autodrom Archive / Sp-X Archive

50 years of small trucks: How the "express freighter" became the Ford Transit-Alfred Haesner

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The Ford Transit Sport Van with rally stripes.

Source: Autodrom Archive / Sp-X Archive

50 years of small trucks: How the "express freighter" became the Ford Transit-Volkswagen

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Ford Transit versus VW Transporter: 6.5 million units sold in the all-time list of the best are only enough for second place behind the ten million bestseller from Wolfsburg.

Source: Autodrom Archive / Sp-X Archive

50 years of small trucks: How the "express freighter" became the Ford Transit-Volkswagen

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Electric age: Ford Transit Connect Electric and Transit Electric complement the modern age portfolio in 2011 as electric prototypes.

Source: Autodrom Archive / Sp-X Archive

The competition between VW and Ford began half a century ago. Both manufacturers put vans on the road that became customers.

D.he Ford small truck is considered a veteran of this vehicle division and is therefore also an eternal rival of the VW Transporter. Both vehicles were developed by Alfred Haesner, so they had the same father.

The first Ford Transit was initially built under the cryptic model name FK 1000 in 1952/53. Before that, designer Alfred Haesner had moved from VW to the Rhine. Around a decade later, 50 years ago, the Cologne express freighter FK 1000 mutated into the Taunus Transit. Its task was clearly defined: it should shorten the gap to the VW transporter that was storming away from it in the registration figures worldwide. Almost at the same time, Henry Ford II gave the go-ahead for the development of a successor under the project name "Little Red Riding Hood “made history.

Even the progenitor of the current Transit Transporter could throw versatility into the scales: The "The Cologne small lorry, known as the “express freighter”, with a payload of 1,000 kilograms outperformed its Wolfsburg competitor by no less than 250 kilograms of payload. Thanks to its front engine, the Ford clearly outperformed the competition with VW Beetle technology in the load volume discipline. For this, the drivers of the Ford freighter had to make do with the chassis disadvantages of a commercial vehicle: rigid axles at the front and rear as well as a clear top-heaviness due to the engine positioned very far forward prevented car properties.

A total of around 256,000 units were produced by the Ford Eillastern, enough to take second place in the sales statistics. Nevertheless, this number was nothing more than a respectable success compared to the 1.85 million units that rolled off the assembly line of the first generation of VW vans.

When the European Ford subsidiaries could not agree on a common successor for the German Taunus Transit and the British Thames van, the corporate management from Dearborn took action near Detroit. Henry Ford II hired the American engineer Ed Baumgartner to lead the development team "Little Red Riding Hood "(English: "Redcap ”), which already in 1963 presented a van concept with an independent platform for an unprecedented variety of variants and with a short hood design for better noise isolation and more favorable crash test results.

While the VW primarily had to maintain its legend, which was co-founded by the Beetle, the Ford shone as a new quick-change artist with around 50 different extension and body variants, including a luxuriously equipped luxury bus with glazed roof and a mobile home with a fashionable polyester folding roof. Since then, the Transit has also celebrated cross-border success as a tour bus for legendary rock and pop groups.

The Transit with powerful V4 engines from the passenger car range and a British 2.4-liter diesel engine that released up to 62 hp became the first Sprinter among the vans that were mostly underpowered at the time. In 1971 a 75 hp 2.0-liter V4 petrol engine made its debut, accelerating the 125 km / h Transit FT 125 to the top speed in the Eillaster Club.

Scotland Yard even declared the nippy Ford to be the most wanted van in Great Britain in 1972. "In 95 percent of all bank robberies, the perpetrators opted for a transit with the mileage of a car as the ideal choice, ”explained a police spokesman.

By the first facelift in 1978, over 1.2 million units had been sold. However, this was not quite enough to jump to the top of the European sales rankings, so the expectations of the new Transit development presented in 1986 were correspondingly high. With the best aerodynamic value in its class of Cd 0.37 and unprecedented passenger car comfort, but above all thanks to a further increase in the number of variants and engines, the Transit actually wore the crown of the best-selling van in Europe for the first time.

The Transit is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a total of around 6.5 million units produced from plants in Great Britain, Turkey, Vietnam, China and, earlier, Belgium. This was made possible from the start by relatively low prices and a unique variety of options for bodies and conversions in combination with the option of choosing between front-wheel, rear-wheel and all-wheel drive.

The leap into the future and also to America, on the other hand, should only succeed with the fifth transit generation announced for 2012 and the new electric drive.

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