Ford GT40-Based ‘Supervan’ Was a Terrifying 435-HP Transit
It’s always van time, even for Ford’s Le Mans-winning legend.
"Sleeper van" is a phrase that, to some, evokes living down by the river in four-wheeled, mobile accommodations. To others, however, it means a humdrum-looking vehicle hiding an absurdly powerful engine. Or better yet, a whole dang Ford GT40 race car chassis and drivetrain, as was the case with the Ford Supervan.
Much of what we know about the Supervan comes from a single period promo film, which outlines the Supervan as originating from Terry Drury Racing; a GT40 privateer team according to Bonhams. Underneath a simple Transit body lay the spaceframe of the famed, if by then outmoded GT40, along with its brakes and feral-sounding 5.0-liter, Gurney-Weslake V8.
This tuned Ford five-oh was said to produce 435 horsepower, which traveled through a five-speed manual to the rear axle, propelling the Supervan from zero to 60 in a then-quick 7.0 seconds. According to a Goodwood blog post, the standing quarter-mile took a whole 14.5 seconds, while zero to 100 took 14.6. Ford registers its top speed as being 149 mph—though one can't imagine the second most brick-shaped vehicle ever built was particularly stable at those speeds.
Ford debuted the Supervan in April 1971 at Brands Hatch, where it is rumored to have set the track's lap record for a vehicle towing a camper according to one Facebook commenter. It's not a prominent record, nor one easy to corroborate. The Supervan definitely left a legacy, which would be succeeded by a Group C prototype-based Supervan 2, which set a 170-mph camper towing speed record—and later on, a Formula 3000-powered Supervan 3. Maybe with Ford leaning hard into EVs and launching an E-Transit, the time may be ripe for a Supervan 4.
What say we about a Mach-E-Transit, folks?
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