From a space revelation to a van fit for all adventures

It was 1965 when production of the vehicle similar to the one we recognise today as the Ford Transit van first began. Now 58 years later, whatever the needs of the customer, the Ford Transits of today are there to meet them. So, let’s head back in time to 1965 and see where it all began for the UK’s most popular van. 


1965: The First Generation – The revelation of space!

Buyers in the UK were both surprised and delighted to have the chance to buy a vehicle with space. Talk about a revelation! The wide body design of the ford transit van offered far more space than other contemporary vehicles of the time, and the square shell gave the Ford Transit a distinctly American feel. It was a hit with UK buyers, and demand soon began to outstrip supply. After originally being manufactured in Berkshire, demand for the vehicle meant a new plant was opened in Southampton. The choice now available to UK buyers was not something they’d previously had in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) market. The van came in a wide variety of configurations, including pickup trucks, panel and crew vans and even minibuses. And buyers were also able to choose from a petrol or diesel engine. The Ford Transit van was off to a flying start.

A little over 12 years later, the Ford Transit underwent some major updates. The Mark II made its debut after having undergone work on its looks and engineering, which helped to improve both the reliability and safety of the vehicle. With this revamp, much thought was also given to the vehicle’s internal comfort. The first ‘fast’ transit was also introduced with a V6 engine, and an automatic transmission was also available. 


1986: The Second Generation – A brand new look! 

The second generation of the Ford transit van saw the exterior given an overhaul to look much more like the version we see on our roads today. Changes were also made to the suspension, which served to improve the handling of the vehicle. Central to the Transit’s major overhaul was maintaining the vehicle’s versatility, durability and great value for money, which had made it a popular and top seller from the outset. Additional changes to the second generation model would arrive in 1994, with the aim of introducing more comfort to the vehicle. Whilst no doubt considered standard today, in 1994 updates such as electric windows, airbags, air conditioning and a central locking system were taking full advantage of the technology available at the time.


2000: The Third Generation – A big comfort boost!

The third generation of the Ford Transit arrived in the year 2000, and was more car-like in its performance, drive and comfort than ever before. For the first time ever, the Transit came in front or rear wheel drive, and buyers had two height options to choose from. In 2006, the van was given a slight exterior makeover and a few more ergonomic improvements. 2006 also saw the introduction of an exciting Transit ‘sports van’ complete with racing stripes and alloy wheels.


2013: The Fourth Generation – A van for every adventure!

The fourth generation of the Transit would offer buyers the convenience and choice they needed all in one van; it certainly wasn’t a one size fits all approach here! There were different height options to choose from, three choices of wheelbase lengths (medium, long and extended) and the fourth generation van improved on the previous generations with the introduction of larger loading bays. Decades after its successful debut in 1965, the Transit range now features the Transit Courier, Transit Connect, Transit Custom and of course the full size Transit van. 

Ford Transit Vans at Summit Vans

After decades of evolution, carefully crafting and curating the Ford Transit over the years, it’s safe to say the market now has a vehicle fit for purpose and it’s hardly surprising that when it comes to buying a van in the UK, the Transit remains the most popular choice. It’s tried and tested, and remains the best selling van in the UK since its launch way back in 1965. And that’s why at Summit Vans, we are invested in the Ford brand, and offer high spec, quality Ford Transits and Ford Rangers for sale and for lease. Check out our available Ford Custom Transit vans and Ford Rangers available on our popular flexi-lease deals here.