Ford is not only a competitive automaker, but it is also a record-nabber at that. Since the 1980, the company’s E-Series, which was previously called as the Econoline, has been the best-selling van model in the US as of 2012. The E-250, particularly, was a robust full-size van that could accommodate both cargos and passengers without whining. The model underwent several style and spec changes through the years, but the fact that it is still being manufactured fifty years later is enough a proof of its quality and deliverability.
1961 – 1967: The flat-nosed van
Characteristically flat-nosed, the first-generation of E-250 units were offered as a cargo van and a pick-up truck that could seat eight passengers in three-row seats. The front of the vehicle was generally heavy, but this was solved by placing a counterweight over the rear wheels for weight balance. Despite being a competing model side by side the Corvair 95 and the Volkswagen Type 2, the unit did not copy anything from the two; the E-250 had an engine located in between and behind the front seats. The units sported a tandem of a 6-cylinder engine and a 3-speed manual transmission, but later on an automatic transmission was added as an option.
1968 – 1974: Better drivability
Still playing around with the vehicle’s weight balance, the engine of the second-generation E-250 models was moved to the front. Equipped with a V8, these models were driven by the front wheels and had a Cruise-O-Matic feature for easier driving. Aside from seating up to nine passengers, the units also had houndstooth fabric for the seats, an AM-FM stereo, and an air conditioning system as interior features. Later changes included a new grille and the shift to sliding rear doors.
1975 – 1991: More spacious and sturdier
With a longer nose, the third-generation models were based on a new platform called VN, which consisted of a full frame and a Twin I-Beam front suspension. The capacity was between two and fifteen passengers, and through the years, only minor changes were done, including a restyled grille with Ford’s Blue Oval logo, square headlights, anti-lock brakes, and a full-size spare tire.
1992 – 2012: More eco-friendly
Driving dynamics and load carrying capacity were improved in this generation. The units had a standard 4.6-liter Triton V8 engine where a power of 225-hp could be squeezed out. Aside from being more ergonomic and spacious, the units were also the first ones to have airbags for the steering wheel. Another new thing about the units was the use of a CFC-free refrigerant. Later on, dual airbags were also installed on the dashboard. Around 2009, the headlights and grille were enlarged, and the hood became longer. A few other additions included Ford’s Sync system, a passenger-side glove compartment, and a rear-view back-up camera. The E-250 was also the first American-made van to use E85, a fuel alternative to gasoline derived from plants.