The Ford Econoline van is a series of full size vans produced by Ford Motor Company. Introduced in 1961 as cargo and passenger van, this popular vehicle is still produced today.
Also known as a Ford Club Wagon, the van was introduced to compete with the popular Chevrolet Corvair Sportvan and Volkswagen Type 2. The early models of the van had the traditional flat nose look because Ford placed the engine in between and behind the front seats.
Ford used a 144 CID 6 cylinder engine with an automatic transmission. The early vans were quite versaltile as utility vehicles and became of staple of phone and electric companies across the country. They were so successful in fact, that over 45,000 were produced in the first year alone.
By 1968, Ford again came up with a redesign that turned traditional van design on its ear, by moving the engine all the way to the front. These would give rise to the popular C Class van cab motorhomes that most people recognize today.
In 2001, Ford changed the name from the Econoline to the Ford E-Series Van. The first of these was the Ford E-150 Traveler which Ford developed for large families or large groups traveling together such as church groups. With a high floor and seates that are bolted in the full size van has room for 15 passengers plus baggage and towing and payload capacity comparable to that of a full-sized pickup truck.
The Ford Crown Victoria was first introduced to the American public in 1955 and was the first rear wheel drive full size car produced by Ford Motor Company.
A down shift in full size car popularity began in the early eighties and most major competitors began to leave the full size market. By 1996 the Crown Vic (as it is commonly known) has enjoyed a near monopoly of the full size market. However, even with little to no competition, the Crown Victoria has seen sales slide continously since 1983. Beginning with the 2008 model year the Crown Victoria became available solely through fleet sales.
Long a standard on police forces throughout the United States, the police version of the Crown Victoria received a name change beginning in 1999. Police versions through 1999 had previously been styled as the Crown Victoria P71, however the name was officially changed to Police Interceptor and received a its own rear badging. Previously the model had simply received the civilian Crown Victoria badge. Due to its popularity as a police vehicle, Ford has plans to keep the Police Interceptor model in production as a fleet model well into the future.
Civilians are still able to purchase Crown Victoria’s from dealerships from time to time although most are only available when ordered as a fleet directly from Ford Motor Company. However there is still enough demand for them that used Police Interceptors or Special Service vehicles are still hot commodities at various auctions. This also helps to ensure that enough of the vehicles circulate in society that Crown Victoria parts are not difficult to come by in salvage yards around the country.
The Ford Country Squire is what most people remember as the traditional station wagon. A true family vehicle, the Country Squire was produced by Ford from 1950 through 1991. It featured the ever present imitation wood panel. This feature earned it the nickname, “Woody” among the surfing subculture of Los Angeles in the 1960′s.
The Country Squire station wagon could carry 9 passengers with its side facing seats in the cargo area. These seats could be folded down to utilize more cargo space in the rear. It was considered the epitomy of the American family car in the sixties and seventies.
In the eighties the demand for the full size station wagon was declining so Ford decided a redesign was necessary to make the vehicle fore attractive. Instead of spending the money necessary for a restyled wagon, Ford began steering customers to it’s new Ford Aerostar minivan. Because of the mixed results to this campaign Ford re-introduced the Ford Freestyle with third row seating without the wood sides.
The Ford Country Squire is unique in that it utilized the same basic engine throughout it’s history, the 5.0 L V8. It also holds the distinction of being the oldest vehicle to only as an automatic. It utilized the four speed automatic transmission from its inception in 1950 until production ceased in 1991.
Produced by Ford from late 1994 through 2000, the Ford Contour is a passenger car offered in the North American market only. The Contour was offered only in the four door sedan body style that included three trim packages. The GL was considered the base model, while the LX was designed as a more luxury minded vehicle. The SE trim model rounded out the three ans was intended as the sporty sedan version of the body style.
Ford considered the development of the Contour along with the Mercury Mystique and its European cousin the Mondeo, major project and invested more than five million dollars in the deveopment of the CDW27 platform. Although only one body style was offered for the Contour It did include several different engine options. The sport model, the SE, was offered with both a 2.0 Liter 4 cylinder engine and the 2.5 Liter V6 engine.
In 1998, Ford redesigned the Contour and the Contour SVT was the result. Included with the SVT was a 2.5 Liter V6 that produced 195 horsepower and was offered with a five speed manual transmission, new body work, seats and trim, white faced gauges, larger wheels with ultra high performance tires, upgraded brakes and a retuned suspension.
The Contour SVT was only available by special order from specially designated Ford dealerships. And the SVT trim was named the most wanted sedan under $25,000 in 1999 by Edmunds.com. It was also named to the Ten Best list by Car and Driver magazine for 1995, 1996 and 1997.
First introduced in in 1961, the Ford Club Wagon is a line of both cargo and passenger vans from Ford. This Van line is based of the F-Series line of pickup trucks and is built on the same truck platform.
Also known to many as the Econoline, Ford has changed the name of the van and now markets it under the name Ford E-Series. For a short period of time, the E-Series is the only van produced by the company. However this will only last for a brief while as Ford prepares to introduce it’s newest minivan to the market in 2010.
When the Ford E-Serieswas first introduced it was designed with the engine placed between and behind the front seats, giving it the classic flat nose look. It was originally based on the Ford Falcon and was designed to compete with the Chevrolet Sportvan and Volkswagen Type2. It was an immediate success and currently still holds 79% of the United States cargo van market. Many utility companies such as Bellsouth and various regional power companies began using the Ford Vans for their utility trucks and this still continues today.
The very first vans were given a 144 cid 6 cylinder enginewith a manual 3 speed transmission. In 1968, Ford changed the van design forever with the innovative idea of moving the engine to the front of the vehicle with a small hood. These vans were the front runners of the still popular C-class motorhomes, which is still dominated by Ford today.
The Ford Bronco II was designed specifically to compete with Chevrolet’s S10 Blazer and Toyota’s 4Runner. The first sub compact SUV released by Ford since the inception of the original Bronco, Ford designed the Bronco II on the Ranger platform and is identical to the Ford Ranger. The only differences between the two are the Bronco II’s 94 inch wheel base and enclosed rear. Most of the parts for both vehicles are interchangeable.
The Bronco II was first offered with a Cologne 2.8 Liter engine which is the same one used in the Ford Ranger the first two years of its production as well.
The 1986 version of the Bronco II would include a fuel injected Cologne 2.9 Liter V6 engine. Problems with the cylinder head soon emerged leading to internal coolant leaks between the valve springs or at the base of the rocker shafts. Although improvements to the head castings were made in late 1989, these new heads were never installed on the Bronco II. Ford decided to end production of the Bronco II and replace it with the Explorer.
Despite the problems associated with the early engines, Bronco II enthusiast still actively seek this out as they tend to be ideal off road vehicles. An inexpensive, solid, compact SUV, the similiarities shared with the Ranger make it ideal for swapping parts. Many popular engine change outs such as with a Ford Windsor engine, are no problem with Bronco II.
The Ford Bronco was the concept vehicle first introduced by Donald N Frey in order to compete with the Jeep CJ-5 and International’s Harvester Scout. Frey was also responsible for the conception of the Mustang and his friend Lee Iacocca, who would one day head up Chrylser, would push both Bronco and the Mustang through to production.
The early Bronco was always intended to be used primarily as an off road vehicle and the frame suspension and body style made it perfect for this use. What it wasn’t designed for was towing, which would be remedied in later generation redesigns.
The Bronco enjoyed a long life span, considering it was one of the first true SUV’s on the market. Production began in 1966 and would last until 1996 with the first major redesign introduced in 1978.
The full-size Bronco was introduced in 1978, thus divided the life span of the original Bronco into two categories, the early Broncos (1966-1977) and, of course, the full-size Bronco(1978-1996).
An interesting side note on the classic Bronco is that very few 2 wheel drives Broncos were ever made and the ones that were produced were only made for sale outside the United States.
The Bronco was made infamous and forever recognizable in 1994, when the news media filmed O.J. Simpson, who was wanted for the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, for several hours trying to elude the Los Angeles Police Department in a low speed chase on Interstate 405. The White 1993 Bronco was owned by the driver and friend of Simpson, Al cowlings.
The Ford Aspire was the product of a joint venture between Ford, Kia and Mazda during the 1990′s. Introduced in 1994, the Aspire was classed as a subcompact vehicle which was assembled in South Korea for sale in both the United States and Canada. While the vehicle was assembled in South Korea, the parts were manufactured by Mazda of Japan. The Ford Aspire was also marketed in Asia under the Kia marque and sold as the Kia Avella in Asia and the Ford Festiva in Japan and Australia.
The front-drive Aspire used a 63-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, with 5-speed manual shift or optional 3-speed automatic transmission. Automatic was optional only on base-model Aspires, and available power steering could be installed only on base-model 4-doors.
Although an entry level vehicle, the Aspire was the first car in its class to have standard dual air bags and otional four-wheel Anti-lock brakes.
The Aspire was available as a three-door or five-door hatchback, both came in base-level trim, and the 2-door could be ordered in upscale SE guise, adding fog lamps, a rear spoiler, and different seats and interior trim.
The Aspire was only produced from 1994 to 1997 and was replaced by the Kia Rio in the Kia line up. Ford has yet to replace the Aspire in its line up, although a plan is in the works to introduce the Ford Fiesta in 2010 as its replacement.
The public got its first look at the Ford Aerostar in the summer of 1985. Ford’s first minivan was slightly different than other minivans on the market. It was given a rear wheel drive like a truck. While this did decrease the interior space;it increased the minivan’s towing capacity and provided greater stabilization when loaded.
The Aerostar was offered with a 2.3 liter engine however this was underpowered and the upgrade for this was the 2.8 Liter Cologne and the new 3.0 Liter V6 for the 1987 model.
Parts were easy to come by since the Aerostar used truck parts. Any Ford Ranger, Bronco II or Explorer parts were interchangeable with the Aerostar and many owners chose to upgrade to 16 inch wheels from the Ranger or Explorer.
The Aerostar offered many firsts that left competitors scrambling to keep up. One of the first innovative designs Ford came up with was including all wheel drive for the 1990 model. Another was to offer an upscale version of it’s base and midline models. The Eddie Bauer Aerostar was introduced in 1988. Chrysler offered no competition until 2 years later when they introduced the Town and Country.
At the time of Aerostars introduction in 1986, the only other 4 door model SUV on the market was AMC’s Jeep Cherokee. With the introduction of several other SUV’s following in the early nineties, the minivan’s popularity was slipping and it would soon lose it’s place as the must have family vehicle. The Explorer’s 1991 introduction would soon displace the Aerostar in sales and eventually the Aerostar line was dropped in 1997.
Ford introduced the Aerostar in 1985 for the 1986 summer season. A dependable, new type of family vehicle which was an instant success with soccer moms everywhere. The ford engine initially used was a 2.3L Lima I4 engine.
Ford also included an upgrade for this engine, the 115 hp (86 kW) 2.8 L cologne v6 which provided all the power needed for car pooling and picking up the kids.
Another great thing about the Aerostar was that Ford made most of the parts interchangeable with the Ranger and the Explorer. Most parts, including the 2.8L Ford engine, which evolved to the 3.0L vulcan V6 are easily found since so many Rangers and Explorers were also made at this time.