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Supervan!

4 months ago

Writer:

Andrew Frankel | Ti co-founder

Date:

23 June 2022

It is perhaps unlikely that, when he gave the go-ahead for the creation of the Ferrari-humbling Ford GT40, Henry Ford II was thinking also what an excellent basis for a van-themed publicity stunt the car might make several years hence. But that’s exactly how the legend of Supervan began.

The story begins with the first-generation Transit (or second if you include the earlier Taunus Transit), the humble workhorse with its V4 engine that proved so successful it ended up being built in 10 different locations around the world over a 12-year lifespan, starting in 1965. But by the early Seventies it had been around for many years and something was needed to get people excited by the Transit again. And the first Supervan – never called Supervan 1 – was the answer.

The job went to Terry Drury Racing. Drury was a successful privateer race car driver who not only had his own team, but was a former FoMoCo engineer and a man who knew his way better than most around a GT40 both behind the wheel and under the skin. His team created a unique spaceframe into which an entire GT40 powertrain, complete with 435bhp, 5-litre Gurney-Weslake small block Ford V8 and five-speed ZF transaxle was fitted. Suspension appears to have been sourced from a Jaguar XJ6 at the front with Cooper Formula 1 components at the rear. Brakes came from a Can-Am car.

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