|Production||1961–present (limited as of 2015, only stripped chassis and cutaway produced)|
Lorain, Ohio, United States (until plant closure)
Avon Lake, Ohio, United States
|Body and chassis|
|Successor||Ford Transit (United States & Canada)|
The Ford E-Series, also known as the Ford Econoline in Mexico and Ford Club Wagon, is a line of full-size vans (both cargo and passenger) and truck chassis from the Ford Motor Company. The line was introduced in 1961 as a compact van and its descendants are still produced today, though they are now (as of 2015) being replaced by the Ford Transit.
Though the E-Series has been its own unique platform since 1968, it uses many components from the F-Series line of pickup trucks. The Econoline is manufactured solely at Ford's Ohio Assembly plant in Avon Lake, Ohio—after the closure of the Lorain, Ohio plant in December 2005 and the consolidation of all production at Avon Lake. As of 2012, the E-Series and the Transit Connect compact MPV (which debuted for the 2010 model year) are the only vans in the Ford lineup in North America.
Since 1980, E-Series has been the best selling American full-sized van, and held 79.6% of the full-size van market in the United States in 2007, with 168,722 vehicles sold.
The E-series is a tow vehicle, due to the available GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) of up to 20,000 lb (9076 kg), and its relatively low curb weight.
Ninety-five percent of van sales are to commercial or fleet-end users; about half are cargo vans. The E-Series cargo area features a double-wall design which leaves the exterior sheet metal less vulnerable to damage from shifting cargo.
In early 2007, the E-Series was listed by Autodata as one of the top 20 best-selling vehicles in the United States, most likely due to fleet sales. In China, the Ford E-Series (E250 and E350) are manufactured by Jiangling Motors with Ford name plates. As of 2014, the Ford E-Series is sold in North America, the Middle East, and China in LHD only. It has recently been discontinued in Mexico.
First generation (1961–1967) 1
- Mercury Econoline 1.1
- Second generation (1968–1974) 2
- Third generation (1975–1991) 3
Fourth generation (1992–present) 4
- Chassis 4.1
- Exterior 4.2
- Interior 4.3
- Sales 5
- Phaseout 6
- See also 7
- References 8
- External links 9
First generation (1961–1967)
1961–1967 Ford Econoline (customized)
Ford Falcon Club Wagon
Mercury Econoline (Canada)
|Body and chassis|
2-door pickup truck
144 cid Falcon Six I6
170 cid Thriftpower Six I6
240 cid I6
|Wheelbase||90.0 in (2,286.0 mm)|
|Width||75.0 in (1,905.0 mm)|
|Height||76.9 in (1,953.3 mm)|
Based on the compact Ford Falcon, the first Ford Econoline was introduced for the 1961 model year. Sized roughly to compete with the Chevrolet Corvair 95 (Greenbrier Sportswagon) and Volkswagen Type 2, which was 172.3 in (4,376 mm) long. It was originally offered as a cargo van, an eight-passenger van with three rows of seats (which carried the Ford Falcon name) and as a pickup truck. A 165 lb (75 kg) counterweight was fitted over the rear wheels to balance the front-heavy vehicle; this was sometimes removed by later owners. The implementation of situating the driver on top of the front axle with the engine near the front wheels is called, in the US, a "cab over" short for cab over engine configuration. In Europe it is called a "forward control" vehicle. The body styling borrowed heavily from the, smaller, UK produced, Thames 400E which had been in production since 1957 and the 1956-64 Jeep Forward Control.
Instead of the rear-mounted engine used by Volkswagen and Chevrolet, the first E-Series had a flat nose with the engine between and behind the front seats. Early models had a 144 CID inline 6-cylinder engine with a three-speed manual transmission. Later models had 170 CID or 240 CID engines with a three-speed manual or automatic transmission. It was an immediate success with utilities like the Bell Telephone System.
In its first year, 29,932 standard vans, 6,571 custom Econoline buses, 11,893 standard pickups and 3,000 custom pickups were made. The success of the Econoline led to its layout adopted in 1964 by the Chevrolet Van/GMC Handi-Van and Dodge A100; it would also be utilized internationally and sold by Mitsubishi, Nissan, and Toyota, with microvans called the Subaru Sambar and the Daihatsu Hijet.
In rural Canada, where automobile dealers were scarce, the Econoline was sold as a Mercury alongside the M-Series truck lineup. Only the first generation of Econolines were sold as Mercurys; the next van sold by the division would be the 1993 Villager minivan.
Second generation (1968–1974)
1972–1974 Ford Club Wagon
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||3-door van|
240 CID (3.9 L) I6
300 CID (4.9 L) I6
302 CID (4.9 L) Windsor V8
SWB: 105.5 in (2,679.7 mm)
LWB: 123.5 in (3,136.9 mm)
Technically, Ford would not produce the Econoline for the 1968 model year. A United Auto Workers strike delayed the production of the redesigned model into late-spring 1968, delaying its introduction into the 1969 model year.
The redesigned 1969 Econoline would mark a major change for van design in North America. In a major shift from the Volkswagen-inspired cabover configuration seen before, the front axle was repositioned at the front end of the van; the "Twin I-Beam" front suspension was carried over from the F-Series trucks. Shedding its Falcon roots, the Econoline moved the engine forward of the driver, allowing for the use of heavier-duty powertrains, including the first V8 engines.
Over the next six years, the Big Three would all redesign their vans in a similar fashion. The Volkswagen-style mid-engine cabover configurations of the 1960s gave way to vans with engines in the front with a short hood. The shared components for full-size vans also switched from compact cars to full-size pickup trucks.
These were the first vans used as the basis for the now-popular Class C van-based recreational vehicles (RV), a class still dominated by Ford.
For 1971, the grille was redesigned, and a year later E-Series offered a new feature, and a new model. Sliding rear doors were an option for 1972, as well as the Hi-Cube van, the first van with a stripped chassis used for something other than recreational vehicles.
The top trim package Club Chateau was introduced with this generation, consisting of houndstooth fabric on all seats, air conditioning, AM-FM stereo, and the ability to accommodate up to 12 passengers.
Third generation (1975–1991)
1983–1991 Ford Club Wagon
|Also called||Ford Club Wagon|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||3-door van|
|Platform||Ford VN platform|
300 CID I6
302 CID Windsor V8
351 CID Windsor V8
460 CID 385 V8
6.9 L Navistar diesel V8
7.3 L Navistar diesel V8
For the 1975 model year, the Econoline was given a ground-up redesign using an all-new platform. To improve interior room and engine access over both its predecessor and its competition, the engine was moved further forward; the hood was lengthened and flattened. A higher degree of parts commonality with the F-Series made itself known in the bodystyling: the vent windows, taillights, and wheels were common items between the two vehicles. In 1978, much of the Econoline's front end design would appear on the Transit Mk. 2.
Inside, the drivers' compartment was redesigned with more ergonomic controls, many common with the F-Series. The Econoline was available in two wheelbases and three body lengths. In a massive growth spurt, the short-wheelbase model was 0.5 inches longer than the previous long-wheelbase model; the standard Econoline sported a 138-inch wheelbase, the longest until 1990.
Passenger vans (Econoline Wagons/Club Wagons) could seat between two and 12 passengers, depending on the number of seats installed; standard-length wagons typically held two bench seats behind the driver. In 1978, a 15-passenger "Super Wagon" was introduced on the same wheelbase as the standard-length van, using a body extension added to the rear of the vehicle.
With a full frame, its chassis could now be used for cutaway vans, the basis of buses, trucks, and ambulances. This was also the beginning of aftermarket four wheel drive conversions for the van.
For sixteen years, this generation of the Econoline would continue nearly unchanged over its entire production run. In 1979, a minor facelift added a new front grille; rectangular headlights replaced the round units. In 1983, Ford's "Blue Oval" logo was integrated into the front grille. Van conversions became a popular alternative to sparse factory passenger accommodations. For the 1988 model year, the short-wheelbase (124-inch) bodystyle was discontinued, leaving the 138-inch wheelbase as standard. Both the 3- and 4-speed manual transmissions were discontinued for 1988 as well.
Although the 1986 Aerostar minivan would introduce styling far different from the Econoline, the basic styling of the full-size van would heavily influence the Ford Ranger (and its SUV offspring, the Ford Bronco II). A stillborn variant of the Econoline, the Ford Carousel, was planned for a 1975-1976 introduction. A potential predecessor to modern minivans, the Carousel was discontinued due to lack of funding.
|1975–1991 Ford E-Series Dimensions|
|124" WB||138" WB (Standard Van)||138" WB (Super Van)|
|Length||186.8 in (4,745 mm)||206.8 in (5,253 mm)||226.8 in (5,761 mm)|
|Wheelbase||124 in (3,149.6 mm)||138 in (3,505.2 mm)|
|Height||79.1–79.9 in (2,009.1–2,029.5 mm)||79.2–84.4 in (2,011.7–2,143.8 mm)||80.9–84.8 in (2,054.9–2,153.9 mm)|
|Width||79.9 in (2,029 mm)|
Fourth generation (1992–present)
1997–2002 Ford Econoline
Ford Econoline (until 2006; name still used in Mexico according to Ford Mexico's website)
Ford Club Wagon (until 1998)
Ford Econoline Wagon (1999–2005)
|Production||1991–present (only cutaway/stripped chassis since 2014)|
|Model years||1992–2014 (passenger/cargo van)|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||3/4-door van|
|Platform||Ford VN platform|
4.9 L (300 cu in) Truck Six I6
4.9 L (302 cu in) Windsor V8
5.8 L (351 cu in) Windsor V8
7.5 L (460 cu in) 385/Lima V8
Navistar 7.3 L IH IDI Diesel V8
Navistar 7.3 L Power Stroke Diesel V8
4.2 L Essex V6
4.6 L Triton V8
5.4 L Triton V8
6.8 L Triton V10
Navistar 365 CID 6.0 L Power Stroke Diesel V8
4-speed AOD automatic
5-speed TorqShift automatic
|Wheelbase||138 in (3,505 mm)|
Regular: 212 in (5,385 mm)
Extended: 232 in (5,893 mm)
Regular: 216.7 in (5,504 mm)
Extended: 236.7 in (6,012 mm)
|Width||79.3–79.9 in (2,014–2,029 mm)|
|Height||80.7–84.1 in (2,050–2,136 mm)|
|Curb weight||4,773 lb (2,165 kg)|
For the first time since 1975, the Ford Econoline was given a nearly complete redesign for the 1992 model year. As before, the fleet-oriented Econoline 150, 250, and 350 were retained in cargo and passenger models; the consumer-oriented Club Wagon was introduced in XLT and luxury Chateau models, reviving a trim level used in the late 1970s. Sold in a single wheelbase with two body lengths, the Econoline/Club Wagon was available in several passenger configurations, from 2 to 15 passengers.
For 1999, the Club Wagon name was discontinued, becoming the Wagon version of the Econoline. For 2001, in the United States, the Econoline name was dropped (it was dropped in Canada in 1995), with the Econoline nomenclature being shortened to E-150, E-250, E-350, similar to the F-Series nomenclature.
To celebrate its half-century mark, the E-Series featured a Special 50th Anniversary version for the 2011 model year.
After 2014, the passenger van and cargo van variants of the E-Series were discontinued in North America in favor of the newly introduced Ford Transit, but cutaway cab and stripped-chassis variants remained in production for 2015 and will be built "until the end of the decade", according to Ford.
While given a major styling upgrade, to lower development costs, Ford utilized the existing VN platform underpinning the previous Econoline/Club Wagon. Sharing many components with the F-Series trucks, the E-Series maintained the "Twin I-Beam" front suspension common to nearly all rear-wheel drive Ford trucks in North America. In the rear, a leaf-spring with live rear axle was used.
In 1992, the powertrain line was largely carried over; the E-Series was equipped with the 4.9L inline-six as a base engine with an option of three gasoline V8s (a 5.0L V8, 5.8L V8, and a 7.5L V8). A 7.3L diesel V8 sourced from Navistar was also an option, becoming turbocharged in 1993. In 1994, the 7.3L IDI turbodiesel was replaced by a 7.3L Ford Powerstroke diesel, also sourced by Navistar.
For 1997, nearly the entire engine line was replaced, with only the 7.3L Powerstroke diesel remaining. A 4.2 L Essex V6 replaced the 4.9L inline-6 and the 7.5 L V8 was replaced by a 6.8 L Triton V10. The 5.0L and 5.8L Windsor V8s were replaced by 4.6 L and 5.4 L Triton V8s, respectively.
During the 2003 model year, the 7.3L Powerstroke diesel was replaced by a 6.0L Powerstroke diesel, again sourced by Navistar; due to the lack of airflow in the engine compartment compared to the Ford Super Duty trucks, the version used in the E-Series required to be slightly detuned. In contrast to the 7.3L V8, the 6.0L Powerstroke is intercooled.
As part of the 2008 update of the E-Series, the chassis underwent several updates. Although the Twin I-Beam front suspension was carried over (becoming the last Ford vehicle to use the system), other upgrades to the braking, suspension and steering systems improved ride and handling, braking performance and load carrying capability. The chassis and suspension improvements increased in the maximum gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) from 14,050 lb (6373 kg) to a class-leading 14,500 lb (6577 kg). Additionally, the maximum front gross axle weight rating (GAWR) is increased by about 10 percent, from 4,600 lb (2087 kg) to a class-leading 5,000 lb (2268 kg).
In 2009, Ford became the first automotive manufacturer to offer a full-size van that is capable of using E85; it was available on the 2009 4.6 L and 5.4 L engines.
Following the introduction of the 6.7L Powerstroke V8 in the Ford Super Duty trucks in 2010, the diesel engine option was discontinued in the E-Series. According to Ford the primary reason is due to space limitations. It was unconfirmed whether this means the engine physically does not fit or there is not enough space to allow for proper ventilation.
While using the same two-box layout and proportions, the 1992 redesign of the E-Series was given a far more aerodynamic body than its predecessor. Although Ford utilized the longest forward body of any full-size van, the hood was angled downward slightly and the windshield raked back; if specified, all side window glass was flush-mounted. For the first time, the E-Series utilized flush-mounted wraparound taillights and flush-mounted headlights (the latter were an option, standard on Club Wagons). In addition, the E-Series was the first full-size van to utilize a center-mounted brake light.
For 1995, a minor change was made as the amber turn signals were removed from the taillights; the front turn signals were no longer completely amber.
For 1997, a minor facelift involved the grille; to keep in line with other Ford products, the eggcrate grille was replaced by an a 8-hole grille with an oval cutout (combining the styling of both Ford cars and trucks).
For 2003, another facelift updated the E-Series with a larger grille. Similar to the Super Duty trucks, the Ford emblem was centered in a 3-slot grille in between two openings.
For 2008, the E-Series was given a major exterior redesign forward of the windshield, with new fenders, hood and a larger grille, similar in a style to both the Super Duty trucks and the 1979-1991 Econolines.
When redesigning the interior of the E-Series for 1992, Ford chose to modernize the driver compartment of the vehicle. Sharing its controls and components with the Ford F-Series and Aerostar, the E-Series/Club Wagon was notable for being the first full-size van equipped with a driver's side airbag as standard equipment (on all models except the Econoline 350). While the front engine cover still dominated the space between the front seats, part of the redesign freed up additional passenger room.
For 1994 model year vehicles, air-conditioning systems were converted to CFC-free R134a refrigerant beginning with September 1993 production.
For 1997, the entire drivers' compartment was redesigned. In addition to a smaller engine cover, a more ergonomic dashboard was added; dual airbags were added to all models, replacing the "brick"-style steering wheel.
For 2001, the E-150 Traveler was launched, partially intended as a successor to the previous Club Wagon and Chateau models; due to the adoption of minivans and SUVs for family vehicles, it was sold only for 2001.
For 2003, coinciding with the exterior facelift, the interior received a new engine cover with redesigned cup holders. For the first time since 1974, the E-Series was given a glove box. Shared with the Super Duty trucks, the instrument panel was given a digital odometer; for the first time, certain versions were available with a tachometer.
For 2008, the dashboard was completely redesigned, with only the steering column carried over. Designed to share components with the Super Duty trucks, the E-Series now comes with the Ford Sync system, in-dash navigation as an option, and integrated auxiliary switches. The glovebox was relocated from the engine cover to forward of the passenger seat. Another option first introduced on the vehicle is a rear-view backup camera; widely available on smaller vehicles, it is the first in the full-size van segment.
|Calendar Year||US sales|
For the 2015 model year, passenger and cargo versions of the E-Series/Econoline were discontinued, replaced by the Ford Transit, produced by Kansas City Assembly in Claycomo, Missouri. Due to the market commonality of the E-Series, stripped chassis and cutaway cab models are still produced alongside the commercial versions of the Transit. Ford will continue production of the E-Series for commercial users through the 2015 model year and possibly until “the end of the decade”.
Along with significant gains in payload, interior space, flexibility, and fuel economy, the decision to replace the E-Series with the Transit is part of Ford's movement to consolidate its product lines globally, as it has done with the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus/Ford C-Max, Ford Fusion/Ford Mondeo, the Ford Escape/Ford Kuga, and the Ford Transit Connect. The Transit is the first full-size truck to utilize Kinetic Design for its styling.
- "Plant Information: Oakville Assembly Complex". Media.ford.com. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
- "Crossovers, Lincoln highlight Ford's 2007 sales performance; further growth expected in 2008". Media.Ford.com. January 3, 2009.
- "Ford RV and owing Guide" (PDF). 2011.
- "Ford Introduces The New 2008 E-Series Van". BlueOvalNews. March 7, 2007.
- "Directory Index: FMC Trucks-Vans/1963_Trucks-Vans/1963_Ford_Falcon_Van_Brochure". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
- "Directory Index: FMC Trucks-Vans/1980_Trucks-Vans/1980_Ford_Econoline_Van". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
- "Ford’s E-Series Vans Celebrate 50 Years of Success; 2011 lineup features special anniversary edition". Media.ford.com. September 13, 2010. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
- Jonathon Ramsey (April 18, 2014). "Ford E-Series chassis cabs and cutaways to survive mass Transit onslaught". autoblog.com. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- "Ford Rolls Out Super Duty-Inspired 2008 E-Series Vans". Edmunds Inside Line. March 9, 2007.
- Ford Power Stroke engine
- "Ford Motor Company Sets New Full Year U.S. Sales Record". Theautochannel.com. Retrieved April 28, 2009.
- "Ford's F-Series Truck Caps 22nd Year in a Row as America's Best-Selling Vehicle With a December Sales Record". Theautochannel.com. November 17, 2004. Retrieved April 28, 2009.
- "Ford Achieves First Car Sales Increase Since 1999". Theautochannel.com. November 17, 2004. Retrieved April 28, 2009.
- "Ford Motor Company Delivers Best Sales Year Since 2006; Ford Is Top Brand with Records for Fiesta, Fusion, Escape" (Press release). USA: Ford. January 3, 2014. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
- "Ford Posts Best U.S. December Sales Results since 2005; Ford Once Again Best-Selling Brand and Best-Selling Vehicle" (Press release). USA: Ford. January 5, 2015. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
- Ford E-Series official websites: U.S.A. | Canada
- Ford E-Series Ambulance Packages official websites (U.S.A.): Van | Cutaway Chassis
- Vintage Truck Magazine 1962 Ford Econoline Van detailed article
- Ford Vans E series
- Mark's Econoline Page (Mainly about the 1961–1967 Econoline Pickups)
- Debut: 2008 Ford E-Series Vans (TheMustangNews.com – March 2007)
- 1968–74 Ford Van Site
- Ford Econoline in television and film
- camperize.com—info about converting the E-series into a campervan
- ThorMotorCoach.com—Major converter of E-Series chassis into motorhomes
|— Ford Motor Company light truck timeline, North American market, 1946–1979 —|
|Van||Econoline||Econoline||Econoline / Club Wagon|
|- Ford Motor Company light truck timeline, United States & Canada, 1980s–present|
|Sport-utility vehicle||Compact||Bronco II||Bronco II|
|Mid-size||Explorer Sport Trac||Explorer Sport Trac|
|Full-size||F-Series (all)||F-Series (all)||F-Series (all)||F-150/F-250||F-150||F-150||F-150|
|SVT Lightning||SVT Lightning||SVT Raptor|
|Super Duty||Super Duty||Super Duty|
|Transit Connect||Transit Connect|