Truck Thursday – 1986 Ford Transit 190


At last, a proper truck contribution from me for Truck Thursday. Hideously dirty, rusty and beaten Transits are the grey eminence that keeps Europe running, along with anything Volkswagen Transporter and VW LT derived, since all the Mercedes vehicles are in the shop.

When I chanced upon this 1986 Ford Transit, my accompanying friend asked “Are you seriously going to photograph that?” Hell yes.


The dirty old Transit makes no excuses for itself. It’s dented, run to the ground, and the soot and crap on it is so thick I’m certain it’s not been washed this millennium, let alone decade. While yesterday’s Ford Escort panel van was squeaky clean, this is the exact polar opposite of that.


Neither has the interior been cleaned or cleared out for a while. Windshield is at least from 1996, since it has the ’96 tax sticker.


The Transit here is powered by a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated diesel engine. I used to drive one of these during my military service. It took longer to accelerate enough for second gear to be engaged, than it takes to read this paragraph.


It also appears to wear de-studded winter tires. Those might be a hoot on the icy streets.


The Transit unmistakably looks Eastern European, doesn’t it? It takes no effort whatsoever to imagine a queue of these on any Eastern European country’s Eastern border, so photographing this on Easter even makes vague sense. Sort of.

[Images: 2013 Hooniverse/Antti Kautonen]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

22 responses to “Truck Thursday – 1986 Ford Transit 190”

  1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

    Nineteen eighty-six? Shit, that would've passed for a redesign a decade later here in the States. '86 was one of the first years that we got flush headlamps on anything… the leader was the '84 Lincoln Mark VII, and the Ford Taurus was new for '86 (and the venerable Volvo 240 was restyled with composite lenses… what? It's me; what would you expect?).

    1. LTDScott Avatar

      I always wondered how Lincoln got away with that two years before every other auto maker.

      1. julkinen Avatar

        Help me out here, what was the first car internationally with flush headlights (not sealed beam under aero covers)? I'm thinking 1974 Citroën CX, but could be wrong.

        1. LTDScott Avatar

          No clue, I only know US stuff.

        2. mdharrell Avatar

          The danger in throwing around words like "first" is that there were, of course, examples of flush headlight designs before the adoption of sealed beams.
          <img src="; width="400">

        3. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

          I would think, aside from Art Deco extravaganzas of the 30s and 40s, something like the '67 NSU Ro80 would have been among the front-runners in the sculpted headlamps stakes.

        4. julkinen Avatar

          Yes, but I specifically singled those out 🙂

    2. julkinen Avatar

      They did make the thing until 2003 with very little design changes.

      1. Guillaume Avatar

        2003 already 10 years! Though that means that if you have a Panel van transit, it is now impossible to find used rear doors that aren't completely rusted out.

  2. Vavon Avatar

    That Ford Transit also has the noisiest diesel engine…. In the wuuurllld!!!

    1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

      I love that sound. Makes me think of Ice Cream.

      1. Vavon Avatar


        1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

          Sorry, almost every one of the ice cream vans I frequented in my childhood was a diesel Transit. Icecream and Transits are inextricably linked for me.

  3. humblejanitor Avatar

    It looks like it could pass for something in the late 90s, even if it was made in 1986.
    Why did it take so long for American automakers to re-adopt sealed beams? They just look better. Someone should photoshop some American cars from the 70s and 80s with flush headlights just to test this theory!

    1. lt1woodman Avatar

      please do i like this game

  4. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    I love that Antti posts a beat to shit old truck, only to have it spark a discussion about how advanced it was for its time (at least to US buyers).

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      Calling it "beat to shit" and "old" is just asking for further discussion….

  5. Bren Avatar

    Don't forget the Russian 'Tranzity' – GAZelle / GAZ 4×4… and the genuine Transit 4×4

  6. longrooffan Avatar

    With the demise of the Ford Ranger and the upsurgence of the new transit, I can only wonder if something like this represents our future pickup trucks here in the US.
    Also, nice find Antii.

  7. boxdin Avatar

    I think the Transit is great. The variations are amazing w crew cabs w or wo beds and in Europe its avail w rear drive, front drive, or AWD.
    At the same time, two new Fiats are coming w Dodge banners. Are vans coming back?

  8. Raja Hamza Avatar
    Raja Hamza

    nice 🙂