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Watch it Scream: The Ford Supervan!
A GT40 chassis with a Ford van body, and it happened in 1971.
This has been around for sometime but we recently stumbled across the video again and just can’t stop watching it. We begin with a fresh 1971 Ford Capri driving down a street in Leicester England and turning in front of Ford dealership Hanger Motor, where we see the Ford Supervan behind the glass in the showroom. Then after a quick once-over to show the guts of the van, we drool while this mid-engine beast hauls the mail around historic Brands Hatch in Kent, site of the British Grand Prix at the time. And all is right with the world, if not a little bit ‘70s funky.
The Supervan was a joint venture between Ford of Britain Truck Sales and Terry Drury Racing to promote the Ford Transit van. TRD dropped the boxy body shell onto a chassis with resembling a GT40 with a mid-engine configuration and five-speed transaxle. The engine is not a 427 side-oiler like you’d expect in a GT40, but rather a Gurney Weslake V-8 based on a 289 small-block with Weber carbs, the same engine that powered the GT40 to LeMans wins in 1968 and 1969. The video claims it makes 435 horsepower and runs 0-60 in what is now considered a weak seven seconds, but the glorious music that emanates from its twin four-inch megaphone exhaust pipes is better than Bach, Beethoven, and Nirvana all rolled into one.
The Supervan obviously needed some more engineering thought than it got based on the body roll, but just witness it carry the wheels around corners—does that look like a fun ride or what?! As the video states, the Supervan’s “creation has resulted in one of the most fantastic vehicles ever imagined.” Not so true in today’s world, but certainly in 1971 this thing was a show-stopper.
Ford did two more Supervans in following years. In 1984 came the Supervan 2 that had a fiberglass bodyshell on a Ford C100 Group C race car chassis with a Cosworth DFL engine, and it was timed at 174 mph at Silverstone. That Supervan is apparently at the Leyland Motors Museum in England. In 1994, to promote the new Mark 5 Transit, Supervan 3 was built, a 7/8-scale van that was again powered by a Cosworth engine. Supervan 3 was then updated in 2004 with a Ford-Cosworth Pro Sports 3000 V6 engine and a return to the blue and white Ford Motorsport livery, as you can see in the photo. We haven’t verified where Supervan 3 sits today, but wouldn’t it be cool to build one of your own? If you’re “out there” enough to pull that off, let us know will you?