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    Ford E-Series (1st gen) 1960-1967

    The Ford E-Series (also known as the Ford Econoline and Ford Club Wagon throughout various stages of its production) is a range of full-size vans produced by American automaker Ford. Introduced for the 1961 model year as the replacement for the Ford F-series panel van, the model line is currently in its fourth generation.

    Produced in multiple design variations for both retail and commercial sale, the E-Series was developed as a van for either cargo or passenger use, and as a cutaway van chassis and stripped chassis (a chassis without bodywork). Since the 2015 model year, only the latter two designs are offered, as Ford replaced E-Series vans with the Ford Transit. From 1980 to 2014, the E-Series van was the best-selling full-sized van in the United States.

    The model line entered its 60th year of production for 2021, second only to the Ford F-Series (in production since 1948) within Ford Motor Company in terms of longevity. The E-Series is assembled by Ford at its Ohio Assembly facility at Avon Lake, Ohio, which has produced the model line since 1975. Prior to its closure, Lorain Assembly (Lorain, Ohio) assembled the model line from 1961 to 2005.

    First generation (MY 19611967)
    Ford released the first-generation Ford Econoline on September 21, 1960, for the 1961 model year. Beginning development in 1957, the model line served as a replacement for the Ford F-Series panel delivery (and the smaller Ford Courier sedan delivery). Three models were available, a cargo van, a passenger van (also sold under the Station Bus and Club Wagon names), and a forward-control pickup truck.

    Competing directly against the rear-engined Chevrolet Corvair van and Volkswagen Transporter, the Ford Econoline established multiple design precedents adopted by successive American vans, including the Chevrolet Van and Dodge A100. While also a forward-control vehicle, Ford introduced a midengined configuration. To improve cargo access by creating a flat load floor and enlarging the rear doors, the engine was placed between the front seats.

    Chassis
    The first-generation Ford Econoline was based on the Ford Falcon compact car range. To accommodate its 90-inch wheelbase (the shortest for a Ford since 1908), the Econoline adopted a midengined configuration, placing the engine behind the front axle; consequently, the layout precluded the use of a V8 engine.

    The Econoline was initially powered by the 85 hp (63 kW) 144-cubic-inch inline-six (the standard engine of the Falcon); a 101 hp (75 kW) 170-cubic-inch inline-six was introduced as an option. For 1965, the 170 six became standard, with a 240 cubic-inch six introduced as an option. A three-speed manual was standard, with a Dagenham four-speed manual introduced for 1963 and discontinued in 1964; the 170-cubic-inch engine was offered with a three-speed automatic in 1964, and the larger two engines were both offered with a three-speed automatic as an option thereafter.

    In contrast to the Falcon, the Econoline was fitted with a solid front axle and a solid rear axle suspension with leaf springs for all four wheels.

    Body
    In its body design, the Ford Econoline adapted several elements of the Volkswagen Type 2, while making major departures with other design features to accommodate its midengined layout. In line with Volkswagen, the Econoline positioned the front seats above the front axle, making it a cabover-style configuration (similar to the Jeep Forward Control). The grille placed below the headlights was a design feature borrowed loosely from the Ford Thames 400E (a predecessor of the Ford Transit).

    The midengined placement enlarged the cargo area, as the engine compartment was located forward of the flat load floor. While Volkswagen marketed rear-engined vans in the United States until 1991, Chevrolet/GMC and Dodge both adopted the design of the Econoline, introducing midengined vans for the 1964 model year.

    Through its production, the first-generation Ford Econoline was offered in several variants. Alongside the standard six-door cargo van, an eight-door version (adding two doors on the driver side) was added for 1963. For 1964, a panel van was introduced, deleting side loading doors altogether. For 1965, a "Super Van" extended-length body was introduced, extending the body 18 inches behind the rear axle. Econoline cargo vans (except panel vans) were offered with or without side windows in several configurations.

    Variants
    Alongside the Ford Falcon, the Ford Econoline was expanded into a product line including several vehicles. In Canada, the Econoline was marketed through both the sales networks of both Ford and Lincoln-Mercury (as a Mercury), to increase its presence outside of urban areas.

    Passenger Van
    Alongside the Ford Falcon, the Ford Econoline was expanded into a product line including several vehicles. In Canada, the Econoline was marketed through both the sales networks of both Ford and Lincoln-Mercury (as a Mercury), to increase its presence outside of urban areas.

    Pickup Truck
    Introduced as a bodystyle for 1961, the Ford Econoline pickup truck derived its body from the cargo van. Similar in configuration to the Chevrolet Corvair pickup, the Econoline pickup bed had no engine intrusion related to the engine compartment. While far shorter than the similar-GVWR F-100, the Econoline pickup was designed with a 7-foot-long pickup bed (sized between the two F-Series offerings). Two versions of the cab were offered, a standard "three-window" cab and an optional "five-window", which added wraparound windows to the cab corners.

    The introduction of the 240-cubic-inch engine for 1965 necessitated a larger engine compartment, intruding slightly into the cargo bed (to provide clearance for the transmission bellhousing). The same year, a "Spring Special" package was offered as a trim option.

    At the time of its launch, Ford projected the Econoline pickup truck to outsell the van, but buyers reversed the trend, with the van outselling the pickup truck nine-to-one. The bodystyle ended production after the 1967 model year, remaining unique to the first generation.

    Mercury Econoline
    The first-generation Econoline was sold by Ford of Canada by both Ford and Lincoln-Mercury. When branding its truck offerings under the Mercury brand, Ford of Canada maximized its presence in rural area serviced by either Ford or Lincoln-Mercury (but not both). As with the Mercury M-series trucks, the Mercury Econoline was largely identical to its Ford namesake (differing primarily in badging); the model was marketed in Canada as a cargo and passenger van and a pickup truck.

    For 1961, Ford of Canada began production Mercury-brand Econolines at Oakville Assembly in Ontario; later that year, Mercury Econoline pickup was shifted to Lorain Assembly in Ohio. For 1962, production of the entire model line returned to Oakville. After 1965, production of the model line was sourced from the United States.

    Production numbers of Mercury Econolines were low; for example, 1,291 Mercury Econoline pickup trucks were built in 1965. Following the 1968 model year, Ford of Canada ended the sale of Mercury-branded trucks, leaving the Mercury Econoline as the last Mercury-branded van until the 1993 Mercury Villager minivan.

    Source: Wikipedia

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