Off radar

The Fallen Stars
Ford Supervans

Fast deliveries. Superfast

Photo credit: Ford, Wheelsage

Try to imagine the starting grid of a Grand Prix made up entirely of familiar vans transformed into racing vehicles! How cool would it be to see them flying around the circuit at more than 250 km/h? Even better if there was a delivery to make at the end of the race with bets made on who will receive their parcel first!

Driving a van at 250 km/h around Brands Hatch is almost more exciting than driving an F1

OK, we’re joking but only a little because as you well know, passion and madness go well together and in 1971, Ford proved it when it brought a Transit van to Brands Hatch complete with wide wheels and a full race set-up. What’s it all about? You’d never say so but underneath it lies nothing less than a GT40, floorplan and 400hp V8 engine included.

The 1971 Ford Supervan with 400hp and GT40 mechanics demanded the bravest of drivers

These were the years in which, in addition to the Anglo-American Sport-Prototype, Ford dominated Formula 1 with the V8 Ford Cosworth DFV Engine. The idea was spot on: the Supervan gave Ford even more publicity than winning a Grand Prix possible could. 

Ford’s 1984 Supervan 2 did not hide its intentions: the large side air intakes gave away the presence of a V8 that pushed it up to 280 km/h

As a result, they decided to push on with the project and in 1984 took it a step further: built on the floorplan of the Ford C100 Group C and powered by V8 Cosworth DFL engine, a composite monocoque with more than a few appendages came to life. Its name was the Transit Mark 2. A giant leap forward in performance: 280 km/h in a vehicle that was less aerodynamic than a brick!

Irony within irony: a van must also be ready to pull a caravan. Ford’s Supervan 2 was no exception!

Ten years passed and in 1995, the third iteration of the Supervan series arrived: this time they went beyond all logical limits and installed the same Formula 1 unit developed by Cosworth for Benetton. The thing was so scary it seemed undrivable. 

Ford Supervan 3: a Formula 1 disguised as a pickup truck. The powertrain of the Benetton F1 made it so difficult it needed a power reduction

Ready to place your bets? With beasts like these, your ice-cream will surely arrive before it melts, and your pizza will always be hot!

Racing seats and 4-point racing harnesses contrast with the steering wheel inclined like a normal van
The Cosworth inscription on the front spoiler is the most convincing signature of the project: the engine by Costin and Duckworth wrote most of the history of English motorsport for over 30 years