|Ford Transit Mk1 Van|
The Transit was introduced to replace the Ford Thames 400E, a small mid-engined forward control van noted for its narrow track which was in competition with similar-looking but larger vehicles - the BMC J4 and J2 vans and Rootes Group's Commer PB ranges. In a UK market segment then dominated by the Bedford CA the 400E failed to attract fleet users in sufficient numbers because of its restricted load area. With the Transit Ford switched to a front-engined configuration, as had Bedford with their well-regarded CA series vans in the 1950s.
The Transit was a departure from the European commercial vehicles of the day with its American-inspired styling—its broad track gave it a huge advantage in carrying capacity over comparable vehicles. Most of the Transit's mechanical components were adapted from Ford's car range of the time, the van drove more like a car than a commercial vehicle which added to its popularity. Another key to the Transit's success was the sheer number of different body styles: panel vans in long and short wheelbase forms, pick-up truck, minibuses, crew-cabs and more.
The Metropolitan Police reported on this vehicle in 1972 via a Scotland Yard spokesman that "Ford Transits are used in 95 per cent of bank raids. With the performance of a car, and space for 1.75 tonnes of loot, the Transit is proving to be the perfect getaway vehicle", describing it as "Britain's most wanted van".
This first generation Transit was introduced in October 1965 and had the longest production run of any Transit to date, staying largely unaltered for 12 years until the major facelift of 1978, with overall production lasting for over 20 years before finally being replaced by the all-new VE6 platform in 1986.
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French Riot Police
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