The modern day vans and pick-ups we know today, the utilitarian mode of transportation we’re all guilty for overlooking and underrating – carrying produce, heavy machinery or even our children to school, actually owes itself to the pioneering Ford Model T.
The Ford Model T needs no further introduction – as the first vehicle produced on an assembly line, it was a means of affordable transportation that revolutionised the lives of middle class Americans. What you don’t know is that it also spawned a vehicle that would go on to make just as big an impact as the Model T.
It’s called the Ford Model TT – with it’s purpose literally doubling with an “extra T”. Though less well-known, it played the torch bearer for the modern day vans and pick-ups we know today, including the Ford Transit.
Launched exactly a 100 years ago in the U.S, the Model TT which cost USD 600 (RM 2577) then was Ford’s first purpose-built one-tonne van. Owners could customise the chassis with a cargo bed to transport everything from letters to fuel. Although first introduced in the U.S, many were built in Manchester, U.K.
It was longer and stronger than the Model T, with a cab that offered space for two – driver and passenger. It’s engine, like the Model T, had to be started with a crank handle in the front. Customers could choose modern air-filled tyres instead of solid rubber. In its later years, it even came with a hand-operated windshield wiper.
In its earlier days, the Model TT was sold only as a chassis as customers had to “supply” their own body. It wasn’t until several years later that the Model TT came with a factory-produced body.
Ford now offers the best-selling commercial vehicle range in Europe, with the Transit, Transit Custom, Transit Connect, Transit Courier, and Ranger pick-ups.
“It is amazing that while in some ways today’s vans are a million miles from the Model TT in how they have come on, they fundamentally do the same job as they were designed to do 100 years ago – providing a flexible means of keeping businesses on the move,” said Hans Schep, general manager, Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Europe.