Ford Transit turns 45

Described as ‘iconic’ by the manufacturer, the Ford Transit was first launched in 1965 and since then has become synonymous with the ‘White Van Man’ in the UK, selling 2.1 million units in total and 23,000 in 2010 alone.

Over 600 different models have been produced by Ford, including the £542 short-wheelbase version first introduced in 1965.

To celebrate the milestone, Ford has released a list of events which happened in 1965 – the year the Transit was first introduced, including TV debuts for Tom and Jerry and Thunderbirds, the release of the Sound of Music, the invention of the miniskirt and the year Jim Clark won the F1 World Championship.

In the following years the van has spawned its own film, named Ford Transit, in 2002, entered several languages as a generic name for LCV, and variations of the van are used by businesses and emergency services across the UK.

Ford has even created a special limousine version of the van to celebrate being named International Van of the Year. The van was labelled the Transit XXL.

Ford has also released a special edition ‘Sapphire’ model to celebrate the success of the van, whose production will move to a Turkish facility when a new model is released for 2012.

Southampton, the UK home of the Ford Transit and one of six worldwide plants producing the van, will continue to make chassis for Ford’s flagship van. Engines for the van are produced in Dagenham and transmissions are built in Merseyside.