Finally, Ford’s new Transit Custom has broken cover away from the halogen spotlights of the show circuit. Ford whetted the appetite of ‘White van person’ (we’re very politically correct here at AROnline!) back in March with the taster Tourneo Custom concept luxury bus. Fast forward a month and the Commercial Vehicle Show previewed the forthcoming traditional commercial ‘van’ version.
However, in the metal, live on the M25 in Essex, we spied the traditional ‘white’ edition, soon to be scaring BMW fleet buyers everywhere in lanes three and four of our crumbling motorway network. First registered on 14 March (in black apparently) this is one of quite a few doing the rounds in the ‘Dunton’ heartlands, in various states – is it another Ford Slow reveal along the lines of next year’s Mondeo we wonder?
The ‘Custom’ is intended to be part of a three prong Transit attack – Connect is the small van, Custom is the mid-size (Vivaro/Transporter rival) van and the traditional Transit ‘large’ (and, if desired, rear driven) is as yet unnamed. Well, the second part of its Transit moniker anyway.
So why revive the ‘Custom’ label? Custom packs, as such, died with the Transit Mk4 in the late 1994 (Ford launched an ‘L’ model as well in 1986 and offered Custom packs as part of its SVO operations for fleet buyers) while the actual Custom badge on the back doors died early in 1986 when the Mk2 ceased production (which in reality was new wings/bonnet and moulded black plastic on the 1965 original). What was a Custom pack? Chrome tinsel and a radio, all trimmed with Nylon instead of leatherette usually, and the kudos of upstaging your fellow tradesman!
Why, though, three vans with the same name? One thing the Blue Oval and its ‘Whiz kids’ understood was marketing. And soon Ford’s Transit will be the best selling van worldwide…