“E” Is For Endurance
Chances are, if someone said to you “The Ford __ Series,” you’d fill in the blank with the letter “F,” referencing, of course, the pickup truck that has truly legendary status in that class of vehicle.
But there is another letter that is equally renown, even though it is in a category that you probably don’t think about unless you are taking some sort of airport or hotel transport: “E.” As in the Ford E Series pickup, which is, with the 2011 model, being produced at the Ford Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, celebrating its 50th year in production.
That’s right: the first Econoline vans came on the scene in 1961 as—get this—a pickup, delivery van, or station bus. Nowadays, the E Series—which, incidentally, has been the best-selling full-size van for 31 years running—is associated with the last two, not the former.
Gen 2 appeared in 1969—including V8s and air conditioning—and Gen 3 in 1975—a platform that ran for the next 17 years. There were, of course, various modifications along the way, but not a full redesign until 1991, when the “Econoline” officially became known as the “E Series.” In 2008 Ford made the E Series vans purely commercial properties, a segment where the vehicles thrive today.
In a period that seems to be all about crossovers, the E Series continues to be a solid workhorse.