Usually vans are only fast when tailgating you on the highway, but Ford's Supervans were capable of up to 170mph!
What do you get if you combine a Ford Transit van with the engine from a Ford GT40? No, this isn’t the beginning of a stupid joke, this actually happened! Ford’s Supervans proved such a perfect tool for marketing for the company, that they built three generations of these crazy cargo carriers. Carfection’s latest video lifts the veil on these forgotten vans that were capable of putting supercars to shame.
Ford has built a few punchy promotional vans over the past few years, one based on the first-generation Ford Focus RS, the other on a newer Focus ST. Interesting, quick, amusing, but a far cry from the Supervans that inspired them.
The Supervan story begins with Supervan 1, a vehicle that has been lost with no record of where it went. Back in its heyday, the first Supervan was effectively a Ford GT40 chassis with a Transit van shell. Instead of the rear cargo bay being full of building materials, it housed a 5.0-liter V8 engine that could get it to 150 mph. It also pinched a set of ventilated disc brakes from the GT40 to bring that performance under control.
Supervan 2 used a similar ‘shell on borrowed chassis’ method for its construction. A fiberglass MK2 Transit body was created and placed on top of a Group C racing chassis. A Cosworth supplied engine enabled this van to go even faster than its predecessor with a top speed now reaching 170 mph.
Supervan 3 was the ultimate incarnation of these mad machines. It actually wielded the same 630 hp Formula 1 Ford HB V8 engine found in Benetton racers during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Combined with slick tyres and its huge rear wing, this was a seriously fast vehicle when out on track. A Cosworth V6 engine was later fitted to Supervan 3 as it was easier to maintain than the F1 motor.
Check out the video for some rare footage of these curious vans in action.