Of all the racing venues I visit during my travels as Chief Justice of the 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court, the ritzy clubs tend to be the weirdest. We went to the Monticello Motor Club in New York a few weeks back, and twice a year the LeMons Traveling Circus rolls into the Autobahn Country Club in Illinois. The reaction of the members, who must navigate the madness of the LeMons pit scene as they drive their GT3s and Facel-Vegas to the clubhouse, runs the gamut from loathing to delight. Most of the time I ignore these guys— I always feel like we’re caddies in the pool in that setting— but as the owner of an A100 I just had to talk to the owner of this truck that showed up at the 2012 Showroom-Schlock Shootout. (Read More…)
TTAC has learned that the Ford has delayed the new full-size Transit van until Model Year 2015. This leaves Ford without a next generation full-size van to compete against the updated Sprinter and the Fiat-based Ram Promaster.
If the Transit Connect isn’t your bag but you’re looking for a small cargo carrier (or a New York Taxi), Nissan is finally bringing their NV200 to the USA. The small cargo hauler has been on sale in Japan and Europe since 2009 but due to the success of the Transit Connect Nissan has decided to bring it our way. What do you need to know? Click past the jump to find out.
Every now and then a journalist sticks his foot in his mouth, and so it was with me and a Nissan PR person. PR person: we go the extra mile to make sure the press has access to everything we make, we don’t hide anything. Me: (after a long pause) oh yea? What about the NV Passenger van? How about that!? Eh? Why haven’t I seen one before? Hiding something? My Nissan minder whipped out his phone, made a call and a ginormous shiny black box appeared a week later. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I did not, I repeat, did not grovel and beg to Nissan’s top brass to get my hands on a full-size van.
It’s got an awkward name but it’s a vehicle whose niche will never disappear. A “sedan delivery” is a commercial version of the station wagon that has metal panels replacing the glass in the vehicle’s rear (photos here). They were originally used by small businesses as service and delivery vehicles and it’s such a practical vehicle that they never really will go away. They were made out of ’57 Chevy Nomads, they made them out of Pinto wagons and they currently are being made out of Chevy’s HHR retro panel truck thing. Now Ford Europe is getting back into the sedan delivery business. To accommodate those businesses that need to transport tools and replacement parts but don’t need the capacity of something like a Transit Connect, Ford of Europe has introduced the new Fiesta Van, based on the Fiesta hatchback.
Fans of Euro-vans rejoice. Ford has confirmed that the 2014 Transit, the most European of vans, will get a 3.2L 5-cylinder diesel engine to complement the 3.5L Ecoboost V6.
I usually don’t pay much attention to VW Transporters in the junkyard, but I have a friend with a Vanagon (he’s an industrial designer and decided that this VW— which I believe to be one of the worst motor vehicles ever built— says positive things about his sense of style and appreciation of good design) who needed a bunch of parts for his hopeless project van. So, when I found this ’83 at a Denver self-service wrecking yard, I grabbed a few bits and took some photos. (Read More…)
Well, turns out I was totally off-base with my prediction of the Ford B-Max coming here. Turns out the new product coming here from Ford was one that exists already. Enter the Transit Connect Wagon. Congrats to commenter Tifighter who got it right.
Dodge stuck with the forward-control/mid-engine van design through the 1970 model year (at which point their Tradesman gained a hood), but Ford moved the Econoline’s engine forward starting with the 1968s. For 1968 through 1974, the Econoline had this extremely short snout, with the engine just barely in front of the driver. You don’t see many of this generation of Econoline these days, so I photographed this one when I spotted it in a California self-serve yard a couple of months ago. (Read More…)
The Volkswagen Microbus, Mazda MPV and GMC Safari. These are the now-departed vans that were driven by their rear wheels, but ultimately fell victim to market forces, technological progress or the insurmountable drive to make cars greener and safer. With the Microbus just recently going out of production, Toyota is the sole torch bearer for the rear-drive van. But you’ll have to go to Indonesia to find it.
In the ’72 Dodge Tradesman Junkyard Find earlier this week, I referred to the iconic custom-van airbrush mural with “jousting knights battling Aztec kings in a zebra herd at the Mars Base.” All of those elements were seen on the flanks of plenty of Chevy Vans and Econolines back in the 1970s (though you didn’t often see more than one per mural), and— now that we’ve got the benefit of nearly 40 years of hindsight— we can think about what could be done today with the art form of the custom van. (Read More…)
Once the Detroit Big Three went to front-engined/snout-equipped cargo vans in the late 1960s and early 1970s, replacing the dangerous yet highly-maneuverable-in-alleyways forward-control/flat-nose vans that came before, those vans became much more practical for freeway driving (and family transportation). I still see plenty of 40-year-old Econolines, Beauvilles, and Tradesmen in junkyards these days, since these vans are so useful that most of them get flogged until they drop dead, but it (usually) takes one with some mid-70s-style customizing touches to make me break out the camera. (Read More…)
If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and you need something to drive to Burning Man, you’ll find that the glue-a-bunch-of-stuff-all-over-a-random-vehicle art-car approach will let your ride fit in just as effortlessly on the playa as the soccer mom’s Voyager blends in at the mall parking lot. I’m not against art cars (I consider my 1965 Impala Hell Project to be an art car at heart), but I prefer the approach of the artists who built such fine machines as the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir or the street-driven Denver Pirate Ship to the type who feels contempt for the canvas disappearing beneath their hot-glue gun. Anyway, the upshot of the large number of Bay Area art-car types who glue 10,000 plastic army men or Lucky Lager caps all over their cars is that many of them wind up in self-service wrecking yards. Here’s a Toyota Master Ace aka Toyota Space Cruiser aka Toyota Van that I spotted last weekend at an East Bay self-serve yard. (Read More…)
Nissan now has a zero emissions van that you’ll be able to buy in a couple years -if that’s what you’re into. We won’t judge. Either way, the company seems to be creating a brand identity for its electric vehicles.