Ford Transcontinental

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Ford Transcontinental 4435 at Donington Park Commercial vehicle show 2009

The Ford Transcontinental was a heavy goods vehicle tractor and rigid unit manufactured between 1975 and 1983 by Ford in the Netherlands and Britain. A total of 8735 units were produced, 8231 in Amsterdam and another 504 at the Foden VAP in Sandbach, Cheshire UK.

Assembled almost entirely from bought in OEM component parts (e.g., cab shell from Berliet, engine from Cummins, transmission from Eaton) it was introduced to fill a perceived gap in the market in anticipation of the relaxation of weight restrictions on HGVs, and as such had a very strong chassis and heavy duty suspension.

Recognizable by its high cab, it was an extremely advanced vehicle for its time offering a high standard of driver comfort and a high power output for its time, courtesy of the well proven 14 litre Cummins engine with typical outputs of 290-350 HP. Also, the Ford Transcontinental is noted for having oil and water meters on the dashboard, another example of the unit being ahead of its time.

Sales did not live up to expectations, mainly because the tractor unit with its heavy duty construction was too heavy for the 32 ton weight limit in the UK at the time, although it was a popular vehicle with drivers, particularly those who were engaged on long distance continental work.

Today the Transcontinental is a particularly rare vehicle, much in favour with collectors of vintage commercials, although a few do remain in revenue earning service throughout Europe.

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