Do you like building walls? Do you like kidnapping people? Do you get a funny feeling in your ‘special’ area when you’re watching The Sheriffs Are Coming? If you’re nodding along then rest easy, because we have the perfect vehicle for you. Yes, finally, we’re spending some time talking about the mighty Ford Transit. We’re not sure how it’s managed to skate below our radar for all this time. Maybe we had no hidden desire to kidnap anyone? Maybe all our walls were built? Who knows?
Anyway, now is the Transit’s time to shine. Or more specifically the fourth-generation Transit. Yes, you can get the third-generation for well under two grand, but it will be rotten and brimming with old copies of Zoo (no doubt with sticky pages). The second and first, well, they’re classics now, so you’ll only be able to afford one if the ransom on your kidnapee is paid. The fourth-generation, however, is affordable, modern and plentiful. Perfect.
Look at those construction fellows, all happy with their van and the dubious Photoshop job Ford’s press office did on the number plate. And happy they should be, because the fourth-generation Transit was nothing short of a panel-sided masterpiece. It was, when it was introduced in 2000, the culmination of years of development and of Ford actually listening to what its customers wanted. For example, the fourth-gen was the first Transit to be made available in front-wheel drive guise. In the grand scheme of things that might not seem all that special, but in van terms it’s huge. Keeping all the oily bits at the front meant the option of a lower floor with no intrusions from the drive-line. It made the Transit even more practical.
And that’s why we’re telling you a Transit is a good vehicle to buy. It’s the seemingly endless scope of possibility that only a Transit can bring. This is a van that, quite literally, is available in MILLIONS of configurations. It is all things to all men, women and kidnap victims. The only limit to what a Transit can do is your imagination.
You want to build a tiny home and live in it? The Transit is your van. Do you need a support vehicle for track days? Just get a Transit. Is your neighbour, Jeff, annoying you again? Kidnap him and throw him the back of a Transit. Want a vehicle that can be a mobile showroom? Yep, Transit. You can do anything with a Transit.
And there’s also a reason we’re looking at the fourth-generation version. The third, while still brilliant, was still very much a van when it came to the driving dynamics. The fourth Transit, however, is actually quite civilised and car-like. Buy one of these and there shouldn’t be too much a culture shock. In fact, we’d even go as far as to say they’re nice to drive. And with modern, frugal diesel engines (though there is a 2.3 and 2.0 petrol, too) you’re not going to go broke running one.
In fact, the sheer numbers in which the Transit has always been built means that parts are plentiful, and as such, cheap. Running a Transit needn’t cost you any more than it would a mid-size car. And if you think insurance is going to be a nightmare, it won’t. The rise of commercial vehicles being used for private use (looking at you, L200) means that getting insurance is a doddle. Just ask our sponsor, Adrian Flux.
See, there really is no excuse not to buy one. Well, okay, so if you buy one as pictured below, parking might be a bit of an issue, but so what? Just nudge other cars out of the way. You’re allowed*, you’re in a van.
*you’re not. Don’t do this
As for buying one, you have to be aware that you’re buying a vehicle that was more than like bought to work. As such, you cant go into buying a Transit in the same way you would a car. A Transit is going to have bumps, knocks and scrapes. They’re the very nature of this beast. That said, you can look for questionable repairs by owners who simply wanted to keep their van on the road no matter what. If something looks suspect, walk away. There is no shortage of old Transits.
The one to shoot for would be a 2.2TDCi front-wheel drive. The lower payload of the FF vans meant they generally lived easier lives, carrying less bulky items. So they should be in slightly better condition than, say, one used by a builder. Just use your head and you should be fine.
And then when you buy one, you can enjoy it. In fact, why not get the tools out and deck it out in the back? Rock and roll bed, little sink, small compartment for duct tape, cable ties and chloroform? Little television perhaps. Make it an adventure vehicle for the weekends, or just make it into a chill-out space, whatever floats your boat.
Honestly, buy a Transit and you’ll be glad you did. They’re the Swiss Army Knife of vehicles. They’re everything you want them to be and more. And if you buy a white one, it will be really hard for the Police to tie you to any kidnappings given the ubiquity of the damn things.