In 1971 Ford decided to throw an old GT40 engine into the cargo compartment of a MK1 Transit van. It was a great marketing tool and added to the Transit’s strangely successful motorsports ventures. Thus by the time the MK2 came out, Ford reused the same formula, this time using a Cosworth V8 out of Ford Group C racer, to similar success. Completing the trilogy was the MK3, with a V8 pumping out 650 bhp from a Formula 1 engine also built by Cosworth, cementing the Transit as a British staple and inspiring many a white van driver for years to come.
However the Supervan 3’s last appearance was over 20 years ago, and now environmental care is as inspiring to the newer generations as blinding speed, a new, electric Supervan was in order, and so, as all great blue oval products are made, development started by Ford performance in secret from the main office.
Firstly Ford needed a chassis. Usually, Supervans were glorified silhouette racers, using the chassis of out-of-date racing cars to cheaply create a marketing sensation. However, Ford didn’t have an EV racing chassis to use, so they made a custom-built track-ready chassis designed to take the new EV architecture. The car also uses parts from the new E-Transit custom, presumably to still have some basic resemblance to the road-going vans.
The Chassis was draped in a futuristic Van-shaped bodywork courtesy of Ford’s design house in Cologne, with flared fenders and a massive rear pass-through to guide air to the back of the car.
All of this design was worthless without power though, and Ford once again had to build a new system, rather than lifting an engine out of a factory works racer. 4 motors were mounted, 1 for each wheel, and the 50kWh battery was liquid-cooled to keep up the power even after a few runs. This allowed the Supervan 4 to have 2000Bhp, and get to 0-62 faster than the fastest Tesla could come up with.
The interior is almost all racecar, with FIA-certified safety equipment surrounding the driver. The SYNC system from the production cars is also in the Supervan 4, with different modes designed to optimize the car for different disciplines, from drag to drift, from road to rally, the car is totally customizable for the conditions at hand.
When asked why a new one-off was created, Hans Schep replied, “why not”, which sums up this project quite well. The only thing left to do was to take it up the historic Hillclimb of Goodwood.
The Supervan 4 decimated the climb, for a short time holding that year’s record, and finishing the event in 4th, embarrassing many a sportscar along the way, and drumming up excitement over the next stage in the Transit’s life, successfully succeeding the Supervans of past.
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