By on September 26, 2010

Ford has certainly made it easy to find appreciation for the original 1992 reskin of the Econoline, ’cause it’s only gone downhill ever since. What exactly does this (un)progression say?

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47 Comments on “EAW Finale: Rhinoplasty Malpractice...”


  • avatar
    JimC

    Ughhhh.  Built Ford tough.  Grunt.  Mongo like.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Maybe Ford’s line up wasn’t Blinged up enough. Even the Escape gets a big. prominent, plasti-chrome nose job these days.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    What exactly does this (un)progression say?
     
    Ford loves to let vehicles rot on the vine.  It’s amazing the E-Series saw that in-depth of a refresh.
     
    It also says Ford should be banned from using chrome.  Their grills across the whole line are terrible.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    I was agahst at the 1997 grille.
    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.edmunds.com/pictures/VEHICLE/1997/Ford/7397/1997.ford.e150.3690-300×189.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.edmunds.com/ford/e350/1997/consumerreview.html&usg=__usMQt3l0sx9hYvRA_WEbLjDNQzo=&h=189&w=300&sz=11&hl=en&start=13&zoom=1&tbnid=u-VIZ39Ix7lKcM:&tbnh=103&tbnw=164&prev=/images%3Fq%3D1997%2BFord%2BE150%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26biw%3D1024%26bih%3D562%26gbv%3D2%26tbs%3Disch:10%2C277&itbs=1&iact=rc&dur=421&ei=P76fTOTyEZGMnQeH8IWrDQ&oei=ML6fTMz-LMX-nAfOnsGfDQ&esq=4&page=2&ndsp=15&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:13&tx=36&ty=71&biw=1024&bih=562
     
    I thought things were looking up with the re-grille in 2003 or 2004, but then this monstrosity came out.  Yeeeech!  How on earth people can take the attractive lines of the basic vehicle and keep screwing it up with goofy grilles is beyond me.
     

  • avatar
    italianstallion

    I don’t get it.  Why do vans need to be so macho and ugly?

    The Chevy Express/GMC Savana isn’t much better.  It adopted a cartoonish, menacing face after 2003:

    http://images.thecarconnection.com/med/2010-gmc-savana-cargo-van-rwd-1500-135-angular-front-exterior-view_100242048_m.jpg
     

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    What’s wrong with the current one?  It looks much much better than any of the previous versions, and is probably the best looking full size van on the market.  It’s a big, capable, chunky van, why shouldn’t it look tough and imposing?

    • 0 avatar
      JimC

      Good looks are a matter of opinion.  (Not that I’m disagreeing with you- or agreeing either.)  If a big van looks tough and imposing, then people who want that will buy it and people who don’t will make jokes about neanderthal drivers compensating for anatomical inadequacies, etc.  If a big van looks soft and wimpy, then people who want to drive something friendly looking will buy it and people who don’t will make chick-mobile jokes and snicker about soccer dads having their man cards revoked, etc.
      And the beat goes on…
      :)

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      @NulloModo, Two words: Bling.  Bling.
       
      Compare, for example, to the Transit, which looks good and purposeful — but is not blinged out with acres of plastichrome.  It’s even made by the same company …

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      th009 –
      I don’t think the Transit looks bad, and the aero look works for what it is and what it is trying to do.
      At the same time, most E-series vans don’t have any bling – the standard grill is all black, only the decked out models get the chrome.  I personally like the bling, I’d rather drive something that has a bit of swagger to it than something that blends in and disappears.

  • avatar
    scottcom36

    They styled the front to look like a Super Duty pickup, which is appropriate for a vehicle with such a high proportion of commercial buyers. It looks good on motorhomes too. It’s not a face many would fall in love with, but I don’t hate it either.

  • avatar
    Brian P

    I think the new schnozz looks okay in black on the base models with the regular headlights. Looks fine on a mini school bus. The chrome and aero headlight version is over the top.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    I don’t think that the F250 SD is the model you want to ape and having it in chrome just adds to that. Waaay too much bling on a utility vehicle. I’m surprised they didn’t go whole hog and put the Edge’s 22″ers on as well, just to complete the package. Ugh.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    It’s gotta look macho for the good’ole boys.  Bigger (looking) always compensates for our reduced middle aged testosterone levels.  A Harley Davidson license plate and perhaps some dual mirror mount CB antennas would complete the look.

  • avatar

    The 2010 Econoline photo gives me nightmares about what the Aerostar would look like if it were still in production.

  • avatar

    What I hate is the space between the lights and the bumper. In 2010? Sick.

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    Many manufacturers have stooped to appealing to the five year old that exists in all of us.
    It’s another indication of what the auto industry is really all about.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “What exactly does this (un)progression say?”
    It says that American van and truck buyers have largely chosen vehicles which present an imposing/threatening face to the world as they assert their belief in their own superiority.
    Meanwhile, in reality the US is falling behind in the race to lead the world on many, many levels. Sheer chutzpah and bravado have replaced real accomplishments and strength as the coin of the realm.
    Our vehicles reflect our collective persona. Ford has put an agressive face on a product which in reality is an aged has been.
     

    • 0 avatar
      caljn

      I believe you nailed it.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      Well put, John.
       
      Similarly, we didn’t invent bodybuilding or celeb worship, but we did perfect them to an art form to the point where superficial looks have taken precedence over any semblance of performance, intelligence, or accomplishment.
       
      This is not a non-sequitur, it’s just a couple other symptoms of our collective insecurity.
       
      I’d totally drive a Transit connect if they’d put a decent Ecoboost in it. Would make a nice minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      “I’d totally drive a Transit connect if they’d put a decent Ecoboost in it. Would make a nice minivan.

      Here in Europe, that variation on the Transit Connect theme is called the Tourneo Connect.

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    This is at least tolerable compared to the base model with the black grille and standard halogen sealed beams.

    What I really can’t believe is that Ford is still using that ancient Twin-I-Beam front suspension instead of control arms like the GM vans.

    When I was a Ford zone rep years ago, these things were my worst nightmare – constant tire wear issues, alignment issues, vibration issues…mostly unsolveable. The commercial customers usually accepted it, but the custom van buyers were having none of it. Not much you can do with a suspension that was introduced in the 60’s with virtually no refinement since then. The only “solution” (such as it was) was to replace the shocks (frequently – the unsprung weight of those I-beams were tough on shocks) with heavy-duty aftermarket units and install an aftermarket steering stabilizer shock (Ford didn’t offer one at the time – they might now) to tame the steering wheel vibrations. I lost track of how many of these “unapproved” repairs I paid for to avoid having to buy the thing back.   

    • 0 avatar
      scottcom36

      I can only speak of my own experience, but I avoided Twin I-Beam vehicles for years after hearing stuff like this. Eventually I bought one and had no issues with it to 175,000 miles.

    • 0 avatar
      BOF

      I wonder if this is why the GM twins essentially won the conversion van chassis war?  I mean I am a fan of conversions and am seriously considering one, but it is hard to find any sites comparing which platform is suitable for a personal-use custom van.  I really believe the Econoline is the superior product, but the wonky Twin-I-Beam has me conflicted.  Do the GM vans ride better?

  • avatar
    SLLTTAC

    “What exactly does this (un)progression say?” How about “regression”?

  • avatar
    beater

    I’m with Paul… the front end on the new Econoline looks like the north end of a southbound horse, only with more plastichrome.
     
    The front end on the ’92 is basic, functional and above all, honest.  The ’11 is garish, awkwardly proportioned and needlessly complicated and expensive.  I don’t get it… this is a work truck, not a flashy sport coupe or euro luxo-cruiser.
     
    Perhaps the ultimate silliness is that from the windshield back, the vehicle is really pretty much the same as ever.  Now, which would you rather foot a body shop bill for?  The 2011 or the 1992?  I don’t even want to think about what one of those composite headlamp assemblies on the new one would cost to replace.
     

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      One of the sales guys who used to work at my dealership would do a demonstration whenever he was showing off one of the Super Duties or E-Series vans with the big composite lights where he would take off his shoe (which had a hard leather sole) and hit the light assembly as hard as he could with it.  I never had the balls to do it myself, but he never broke one.  Those things are tough, and the only reason one of those or the grill would be damaged is in a pretty hard front end collision, where they would be more than enough damage to go over the insurance deductible anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Don

      We’re heading further into 6000-SUX territory every day…

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    I flagged this aestetic regression in an earlier EAW post…

    I’ve thought about it since then, and since Paul’s brought-up the subject again, I’ll add to my earlier comments…

    It could be that the move to a blocky and blunt looking front end is the result of “positioning”, in that the vehicle is being positioned toward the upper-duty fleet market, and attempting to have a familial face resembling that of the F-series.

    Even though the E-series had/has the mechanical creds with a V-10 and Diesel options, the svelte face on the vehicle may have been hindering sales somewhat.  Visually moving it up the scale opened space below for the more diminuative Transit Connect.

    Former plans called for stopping E-series after Transit launches, but depending on how the economy recovers and how the market shakes-out, the E-series could be positioned as a heavy hauler above Transit (and it’s appeal could be further restricted through engine/trans/feature options being mandatory or not being offered at all…)

    • 0 avatar
      scottcom36

      An excellent point about the Transit Connect being given the “happier” face. But it’s hard to imagine that anyone at Ford could have thought that it could replace the E-series. No TC is going to handle 15 passengers or 300 cubic feet of cargo.

    • 0 avatar
      PaulieWalnut

      I think he meant the Transit, which is Ford of Europe’s Dodge Sprinter. The minibus version has 9, 12, 15 and 17-seat versions.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      To clarify, from bottom to top:
      – Transit Connect
      – Transit
      – E-series  (restrict features/options to push sales down into the Transit, but keep in production long enough in the event there is still some specialty market niche for this vehicle to address – and call it Econoline Classic.)

  • avatar
    radimus

    What exactly does this (un)progression say?
     
    It says Ford was too cheap to give the E-series it’s own front end so they just changed it enough to use the same grilles and headlamp assemblies they already buy for the pickups.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I’m actually really surprised that they make the E at all.
       
      There are any number of aftermarket shops who can slap a (quite good) fibreglass or aluminum body on an F-Series chassis, and the F is quite modern and capable by comparison.  What’s stopping Ford from doing the same?

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      Yes, I was intending to write this.  It looks like Ford is simply trying to use up as much of their parts bin surplus as they can before they discontinue the E-series.  I don’t think it looks very good, but I don’t blame Ford for doing it.  In my mind, it’s a pretty smart move.
      Since the Transit Connect has been introduced, the only brand-new full-size vans I have seen downtown have had FedGov plates.
      The E-series is a beast, is ridiculously durable, hauls a ton of stuff, etc.  But the market is going away.  Now that people have alternatives, they are examining their needs and deciding that this type of vehicle just doesn’t make sense any more.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      “looks like Ford is simply trying to use up as much of their parts bin surplus”

      gotta be kidding … if Ford stopped sending parts orders to their suppliers today, they would be out of parts to produce a complete vehicle within a week or so.  (not counting all the cheap bulk parts like nuts and bolts.)  There is no magical warehouse stocked with thousands and thousands of parts… (and to a certain extent, and excluding final “all-time buys”, this is also true for after JobLast service parts … when they are needed, they are produced in small batch runs.)

  • avatar
    highrpm

    I moved from a Chrysler minivan to one of these Ford Econolines this past spring.  I bought an 03 E150 passenger van, the short one, with a 4.2L V6. 

    You ride high in the van.  The ride is definitely more truck-like than my old minivan, but I got used to it.  It gets 17mpg, where my minivan got 20mpg.   My transmission and suspension were shot in the minivan at 120k miles.  From my days as a van fleet owner, I know that this E-150 will run to 400k miles or more on its engine and trans.

    With one bench in place for rear passengers, I can fit four dirt bikes (2 adult, 2 kid) in there.  I can fit a sport bike in there to haul to track days and still have room to sleep next to it.  I can tow my car to track days and sleep in the van.  My quad fits in there.  I take it camping and sometimes we sleep in it instead of pitching a tent.  It will haul any and all of my Home Depot loads.

    I couldn’t imagine life without a big van like this now.  I periodically thought about getting something fancier like an Expedition or BMW X5, but no SUV can do all these things without me having to buy and store a big trailer. 

    I’m waiting for the ’08 restyled van prices to come down so I can pick one up in a few years. 

    • 0 avatar

      We had an ’89 Club Wagon that we used for many, things too. Loved the ride, we could go from Central Ohio to the Brimfield, MA shows, arrive fresh as a daisy and get 20 mpg and come home with a huge load of antiques (and sore feet from tromping the fields!). Later we used it to haul llamas to shows and such, then to pull a stock trailer. Miss the old thing, but it was getting worn and having problems I didn’t want to deal with. Obama bought it from me last year!

  • avatar
    Russycle

    It looks like the guys who made the Family Truckster out of a Country Squire took over the Econoline styling department.  Seriously:
    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/curbside-classic-outtake-the-family-truckster/#more-366557
     
    Wonder if the Econoline comes in Metallic Pea?

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Meanwhile, in reality the US is falling behind in the race to lead the world on many, many levels.

    Well, we’ve led the world for so long it is time for someone else to take the mantle.  Including financial.  Let’s see if anyone else can ‘lead’ for anywhere near our endurance….

  • avatar
    Zas

    “What exactly does this (un)progression say?”
     
    MORE CHROME! MORE CHROME!
     
    Seriously, when’s the last time an American automobile manufacturer has had this much chrome on a car? mid-80’s? Maybe this is a way for Ford to go back to being an “American” car company. Ditch the cheapy-looking flat-plastic finishes and go towards the BLING that chrome represents.
     
    REPRESENTS!
     
    Seriously, I personally like the over-large hideousness of the grill. at least we know it’s a FORD, rather than anything else. Kind of like we know it’s an ACURA from it’s odd-triangle-shaped front and rear-ends… (hopefully that’ll change soon, it’s way too hideous on that brand)
     
    I still say, MORE CHROME!

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    It kinda looks like you could flip a latch and the front of the truck will slide out like a drawer.  Or maybe the designers were inspired by the door of a toaster oven.

  • avatar
    Disaster

    This look was actually inspired back when Ford still had a heavy truck division (sold to Freightliner…now goes by the Sterling name.)  The idea was to create a truck “DNA” which included “nostrils” on the grill.  I suspect a bit of this came from the HUGE success of Chrysler’s new trucks which also had a big truck look.  The nostrils looked a lot better on big trucks and the whole effort, IMHO, is a BIG FAIL.

    Search for Ford HN80, which was the name of the last Ford Heavy Truck Division program.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3909324154/

  • avatar
    armadamaster

    “Meanwhile, in reality the US is falling behind in the race to lead the world on many, many levels.”
    “Well, we’ve led the world for so long it is time for someone else to take the mantle.  Including financial.  Let’s see if anyone else can ‘lead’ for anywhere near our endurance….”

    I’m going to add to all of that by saying we have clothed and fed the world for generations now, and been hated for it, it’s someone else’s turn.

    Back on topic, this latest E-series and Superduty series restyles are just like the rest of the trucks, over the top. Hideous.

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