For two weekends a year, I used to 'own' a Ford Transit

I’d grab one from a local hire firm over the nearest weekend to each of my two boys’ birthdays (when they were between about eight and 14), fill it with the local urchins who were their friends and set off to some kids’ pleasure-dome such as Alton Towers, Laserquest or (if they were ever in a mood to do improving things) the Science Museum.

Such memories come to mind this week, because it’s 50 years since the first Ford Transit rolled off its Langley production line in 1965 and started building an owner base and a reputation so big that even the white-van efforts of Vauxhall, Peugeot, Mercedes and the rest came to be labelled as 'Transits'.

At one stage the Metropolitan Police even issued a release revealing that “the Tranny” was involved in the majority of bank robberies, which can hardly have hurt the image of the Ford carry-all. Over 50 years, most have been driven as if they were leaving the scene of the crime…   

At the wheel of my hired Trannies, I was always more careful. Driving a 12-strong band comprising mostly other people’s kids requires care and attention, especially when they’re hell-bent on having fun, loudly.