The incoming Pro Electric SuperVan has some mighty big work boots to fill…
By PH Staff / Tuesday, 21 June 2022 / Loading comments
If we need to remind you what a Ford SuperVan is then remove yourself from the field of play and have a little word with yourself. Because we’re talking promotional silliness at its very best – hairy-chested seventies, eighties and nineties V8-based silliness. From Ford. In the shape of Transit vans. Honestly, if these weren’t dreamt up in the pub over a Rothmans-filled ashtray and a beer-stained pool table, then all the things our dads (and John Howell) told us were a lie.
Let’s put it this way: the original Supervan was built on a GT40 chassis, and powered by a mid-mounted 5.0-litre Ford V8. With an unaltered Mk1 Transit bodyshell plonked on top. It could do 100mph in second gear. In 1971. Supervan 2 was even sillier because it was 1984 and everyone was delirious from seeing the first Star Wars trilogy. It was constructed on a discarded Group C chassis (!) and featured a 3.9-litre Cosworth DFL V8. It also looked stupendous because it needed a) massive air ducts to keep the race engine chilled, and b) a prominent aero package to keep the thing on the deck at 176mph. Which it did.
Finally there was Supervan 3, which was actually built on the guts of Supervan 2 in 1994 to promote the then new Transit. Fortunately this wasn’t too tricky because the shell was only glassfibre, so could be tweaked to resemble the latest model. It was tweaked underneath, too; Ford swapped out the DFL for its successor, the prodigiously powerful 3.5-litre HB, designed by Cosworth primarily for F1 racing. (Ten years later, the manufacturer replaced the V8 with a more usable V6, before retiring it to the heritage collection.)
Now, more than 20 years since Ford apparently got into trouble for using the Post Office livery in its final outing (you couldn’t make this stuff up) there’s a new version inbound. Sure, we’ll be the first to admit that the some of the shine is wiped off by the fact that, as its name suggests, the Ford Pro Electric SuperVan is electric. But we can’t really blame the Blue Oval for that – its primary job is to promote the recently unveiled E-Transit Custom, which, as the all-electric successor to Europe’s biggest selling van, is quite a big deal.
So no race-prepped V8, then. Nevertheless, Ford insists the latest Supervan “has been developed to showcase the extremes of performance and productivity-accelerating connectivity made possible by a new generation of electric Ford Pro products” – which is, of course, another way of saying it’s going to be quite swift. And it really will need to be if the firm wants to live up the reputation (and enduring popularity with the public) it established half a century ago.
“Since 1971, Ford SuperVans have been about exploring what is possible with Transit and pushing the boundaries of performance,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports. “The new Ford Pro Electric SuperVan ushers in a whole new era of possibilities with an electrified powertrain and the enhanced connectivity of our new, all-electric E-Transit Custom.” We’ll know for sure what those boundaries and possibilities are when Ford pulls the covers off at Goodwood on Thursday.
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