Transit: 50 years a Workhorse

No matter where you are in Ireland, no matter which way you look down the road, you are more than likely to see a Ford Transit in some form or other. It could be small, medium or large. It’s not really surprising when you know that the iconic workhorse has been on our roads for 50 years.

What started off as just one model, has now grown into a family of vehicles that has as many roles as it has owners.

Everyone and anyone probably knows what a Ford Transit is, but here are 10 things you might not have known about the iconic van.

  • If you are lucky enough to be the owner of a classic Transit from the Sixties, and you have maintained it well, it could be worth as much as €60,000 today. Not a bad payday from and ‘aul’ van!
  • The first concept for the Transit van came way back in the Fifties, when Henry Ford Junior wanted ‘One van for Europe’.
  • After Henry ford Jnr came up with the idea of ‘One van for Europe’, planning started as early as 1957. The man charged with this seemingly impossible task was Arthur Molyneux. As part of his research he spent two months watching milkmen loading and unloading their carts to see how they were using vehicles. He repeated the exercise in a builder’s merchants in London before starting on his first design.
  • The average mileage on a Ford Transit today is about 40,000km – that’s a lot when you consider stop-start deliveries in urban areas. It is still just a scratch on one with 999,000kms still going strong in Germany.
  • Among the Transit’s ‘firsts’ were: a 5,000-mile service interval, driver/passengers airbag and ESP as standard.
  • Ford’s Cork plant in Ireland is where they made a small number initially.
  • Transits have come in all shapes and sizes for a large number of businesses that range from P&T to Eircom, Garda, ambulances, schools buses and thousands of one-man and his van outfits.
  • Ford has stated that some components can now last as much as 400,000km.
  • “We started with a wheelbarrow (the old Thames) and now we’ve got a spaceship.” That’s Transit historian Peter Lee talking about the mega strides in half a century.
  • According to reports one out of every four new vans, on average, on Irish roads is a Transit of some sort be it the Courier, mid-size Connect, larger Custom or 2-tonne Transit.

Here’s to 50 years as a workhorse of the economy and here’s to the Transit being an iconic image associated with the humble man in a van. For now there seems to be nothing slowing down the reign of the Ford Transit as the go to van for businesses and we hope that it will continue to be a staple on our roads for many more years to come.

If you are the proud owner of a transit, of any shape or size, our van insurance specialists are the people you need to be talking to for your insurance needs. You can reach them on 01 660 6900 or you can fill out our online quote form and one of them will be in touch with your quote as soon as possible.

As well as providing Van Insurance, we also provide great rates and cover for Fleet InsuranceHaulage Insurance and Public Liability Insurance.

Looking to save money on car insurance too? Head over to for a quote today!