Ford VN platform
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|Ford VN platform|
|Manufacturer||Ford Motor Company|
|Body and chassis|
|Layout||Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
|Body style(s)||Full-size van
Ford Club Wagon
The Ford VN platform is Ford Motor Company's code designation for North American-designed vans. The platform itself was introduced in 1975, when Ford redesigned the Econoline. In the 1980s, the designation was used for the Ford Aerostar mid-size van platform, which is mechanically unrelated to the E-Series.
Introduced in 1975, this generation of the E-Series was the first to be produced with a full frame. After the 2014 model year, the van variant was discontinued. The chassis cab and cutaway variants continue to be produced "through the end of the decade". After 40 years of production (with a redesign in 1992), it is the longest-used production at Ford Motor Company; it is also the last remaining vehicle sold by the company using Twin I-Beam front suspension.
Vehicles using this platform include:
- Ford Econoline—full size vans (VN58, about 1989; VN127 1995)
- Ford Carousel-cancelled mid-size van based on SWB Econoline (planned for 1975-1976)
- Ford Aerostar—mid-size van (1986-1997), code named VN1; the first Ford vehicle with an alphanumeric platform designation replacing Ford's historical practice of code names. The Aerostar's platform was separate from the Econoline, sharing similarity only in its designation.
This design was developed because Ford truck designers were unfamiliar and/or uncomfortable with unibody construction. As a result, the frame rails were integrated as part of the unibody; this construction was also used on the Chevrolet Astro/GMC Safari vans, the second-generation Jeep Cherokee, and today's Honda Ridgeline pickup.
Although the Aerostar used a dedicated platform, it was designed with a high degree of parts commonality with other Ford light-truck products of the time (initially, the Ford Ranger/Bronco II and the later Ford Explorer/Mazda Navajo). Components such as the brake rotors, axle bearings, wheels were all interchangeable and essentially any light-truck powertrain and suspension upgrades were also available to the Aerostar. One notable exception is that the Aerostar's rear suspension was designed with a 3-link coil spring rear suspension with a live rear axle. This rear suspension design was similar to that used by the Ford LTD Crown Victoria and Fox-body Mustang.