From its introduction in the early 1960s up to the present where it has attained a reputation for being a leading full-size van in the market, Ford E-250 is consistently admired for its functionality and design. It also went by the names Econoline or Club Wagon. “Built Ford Tough,” its durability has been tried and tested ever since. This vehicle underwent many changes from aesthetics to engine, but one thing remained the same through the years—its reliability. Ford E-250 is a vehicle well trusted because of its performance.
1961 – 1967: first generation
The first Ford Econoline was originally introduced as a 3-door cargo van and 2-door pickup truck. It carried the Ford Falcon name and could accommodate eight passengers with its three rows of seats. Its engine was situated between and behind the front seats. A 144 CID 6-cylinder engine with a 3-speed manual transmission equipped the early models of Ford E-250, and a 170 CID or 240 CID 6-cylinder engine with 3-speed manual or automatic transmission was installed in later models. The launch of this vehicle was a huge success proven by its impressive sales in its first year of production.
1969 – 1974: second generation
The release of the second generation of Ford E-250 was delayed due to the United Auto Workers’ strike, which caused this model to be marketed as 1969 models instead of 1968 models. But this Ford E-250 model initiated the modernization of US van design, relocating the engine under the front hood. It was powered by a V8 engine and utilized Ford’s “Twin I-Beam” front suspension design. Other features included air conditioning, AM-FM stereo, and seats with houndstooth fabric. This vehicle could hold nine passengers.
In 1971, the grille was restyled. Then, sliding rear doors and the Hi-Cube van were offered as options in the following year.
1975 – 1991: third generation
The third-generation Ford E-250 remained almost unchanged over sixteen years of its production run. It had a ground-up design, and a proper hood was given to its nose. The modifications done were on minor details only. In 1979, a new front grille was added, and the round headlights were changed into square ones. This Ford E-250 model was available in two wheelbases and three body lengths. It had two bench seats behind the driver, which could accommodate up to 15 passengers. But in the mid-1980s, the production of the 124-inch wheelbase was discontinued. The 138-inch wheelbase then became the standard.
1992 – 2013: fourth generation
Ford E-250 came in 1992 with its fourth-generation model, which had a more aerodynamic exterior. It was powered by 4.9-L inline six, 5.0, 5.8, and 7.5-liter V8 engines or a 7.3-liter diesel engine. The interior was also showered with many changes. More space was provided, and the ergonomics was improved. The steering wheel had an airbag as well, a first for full-size vans.
In 1997, the engine was upgraded into a 4.2-L Essex V6 and a 6.8-L Triton V10. And by 2001, the name Econoline was dropped for “E-series.” Two years after, Ford enlarged the grille of the E-250 and added minor enhancements such as a new engine cover, glove box, and cup holder. 2008 brought in new front-end styling with larger headlights and a larger grille. Ford E-250 was revamped to achieve better handling.