It's official - the Ford Transit was the most frequently stolen car in the UK in 2015.
Even more worryingly, according to the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service, only one third of stolen Transits are ever recovered. It's easy to see why the Transit is the target of such attention, though. It's still one of the best commercial vehicles around, and few cars have gained such an iconic status in Britain as the mighty Tranny.
The Transit is no stranger to crime, either. In 1972, the Metropolitan police dubbed the Transit 'Britain’s most wanted van'. It said: “Ford Transits are used in 95% of bank raids. With the performance of a car and space for 1.75 tonnes of loot, the Transit is proving the perfect getaway vehicle.”
Celebrating the Ford Transit - a history
History books will tell you much about 1965. Jim Clark won the Indy 500 and F1 world championship. Mary Quant invented the mini skirt. More significantly, a commercial vehicle launched that revolutionised the market and transformed the nation.
That van was the Ford Transit. Now, the van transports billions of pounds of goods around the UK, and contributes even more value to the British economy in mobilising countless trades. There’s barely a builder, plumber or electrician who hasn’t once counted a Transit as their most important tool.
No wonder Transit has become a byword for any kind of big van.
The Transit was originally co-developed by then-rivals Ford of Britain and Ford of Germany, a relationship which became the prototype for today’s Ford of Europe. It entered production at Ford’s Langley facility, which previously built the Spitfire. Later, it moved to the former Hawker Hurricane site in Southampton. With a heritage like that, the legend of the Transit started on a strong footing.
The Transit did for vans what the Mini did for cars. It replaced the narrow, slow and poorly packaged Thames and the German-market FK, which was coincidentally also called the Ford Taunus Transit. The new Transit was spacious, fast and good to drive. Like the smaller, aging Bedford CA, it shunned the front-mid engined layout to adopt a front-engined configuration to maximise space.