White Van Man gets a new model to lust after

White Van Man gets a new model to lust after

If you happen to see this particular white van on the road, you might want to think twice before attempting to blow it away at the lights. You see, this is Ford’s one-off Transit SuperSportVan (SSV) – the mutant offspring of engineering project designed to showcase what’s possible after rummaging around in the Ford parts bin.

The SuperSportVan is the latest chapter in the story of fast Transits that has become something of a Ford tradition, beginning in 1971 with Transit Supervan I, powered by a 5.0 litre V8 Ford GT40 engine, which made its debut at Brands Hatch and could reach 150 mph (in 1971!!).

The Supervan heritage continued with three subsequent models;

  • 1984 Supervan II – based on another Ford ex-Le Mans car, the C100 and powered by a DFY Cosworth V8, was clocked at 178mph at Silverstone.
  • 1995 Supervan III – with a totally new bodyshell and powered by a 3.5-litre, Cosworth HB F1 V8 engine producing 650bhp at 13,000 rpm.
  • 2000 The Ford World Rally Transit – built with a carbon-fibre front air splitter and rear aerofoil, a rally interior featuring steel tubular roll cage, carbon-fibre bucket seats, racing harnesses, internal fire extinguisher system and Pi System 2 on-board data-logging system. It has an uprated version of Transit’s acclaimed 2.4-litre Duratorq DI. With an available 163bhp and 410Nm of torque, Ford Rally Transit can reach 60mph in less than eight seconds, onto a maximum speed of 130mph. A revised exhaust system, revised brakes and lowered McPherson strut suspension complete the Ford World Rally Transit package, finished in striking Ford Martini World Rally colours for maximum visual impact.

2011 Transit SuperSportVan (SSV)

For this special project, the largest has been partnered with the smallest – Ford’s range-topping, five-cylinder 3.2-litre, 197bhp Duratorq TDCi engine has been shoehorned into a short wheelbase Transit, for maximum power-to-weight ratio. The engine, normally to be found in bigger Transit models like the 4.25 tonnes Transit Jumbo, delivers 470Nm at 1700-2500 rpm and mates with a six speed gearbox. Under the striking livery, the rest is fundamentally the base SportVan.

Normally the production Transit SportVan is based on the popular 260, short wheelbase model with front wheel drive, a 138bhp 2.2-litre TDCi diesel engine and a six-speed transmission. The exterior features Le Mans-style bonnet stripes, twin exhausts, alloy wheels, low profile 235/45 tyres, front and rear lower spoilers, side skirts and extended wheel arches. Standard safety features include ABS, ESP and driver and passenger airbags.

Power deadlocks, rain-sensing wipers, auto headlights, front fog lights and a load area protection kit similarly come on every SportVan. Optional are leather seats, Satellite Navigation FX system with 5in colour screen, LED cargo lights in rear and LED daytime running lights.

The SuperSportVan takes centre stage at this year’s Commercial Vehicle Show, at the NEC, Birmingham, but is strictly a limited production of one.

Steve Clary, commercial vehicles director, Ford of Britain, explained: “Transit has a strong reputation for its robustness and practicality. We wanted to add some contemporary fun and also showcase our engineers’ skill and enthusiasm. SuperSportVan demonstrates just how far you can go with a white Transit van by mixing and matching regular technology in a different way.”