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Thread: Ford E-Series (2nd gen) 1968-1974

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    Ford E-Series (2nd gen) 1968-1974

    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.

    Second generation (19681974)
    As the result of a lengthy United Auto Workers strike in 1967, the launch of the second-generation Econoline van was delayed almost four months until January 1968. Instead of calling it a 1968 or 1968-1/2 model, Ford decided to call it the 1969 model. Shedding its Falcon roots, the second-generation Econoline became a heavier-duty vehicle, sharing many of its underpinnings with the F-series full-sized pickups.

    Chassis
    While the unibody construction of the previous-generation van was carried over, a major change was made in the overall layout in the body and chassis of the Econoline. To build a heavier-duty chassis, the midengined, forward-control layout was abandoned in favor of a front-engined layout with the axle placed forward; this also allowed the use of the "Twin I-Beam" front suspension used in the F-series trucks. The redesign in the configuration resulted in major growth; the wheelbase was increased 15 in (381.0 mm), while the 18 in (457.2 mm) longer long-wheelbase model became the largest full-sized van offered in North America at the time.

    As they had become introduced as options in Dodge and Chevrolet/GMC vans, Ford introduced a V8 engine option into the powertrain line.

    Body
    With the change of chassis and axle configurations, the Econoline gained a conventional hood for engine access (though most engine access remained from the interior). To aid in engine compartment ventilation, the model was given a conventional grille, styled similar to the F series.

    For 1971, the grille was redesigned to match the updated F series. For 1972, a sliding rear door became an option; introduced on a cutaway van chassis was the Hi-Cube van, a cab-chassis version of the Econoline with a box-van body. The introduction of the cab-chassis variant became popular in the recreational-vehicle industry (a Class C RV), a segment still dominated by the E series in the 2010s.

    Interior
    Inside of the Econoline, the shift of the engine location moved the engine housing from between the seats to in front of the driver and front passenger, under the windshield. While the Econoline cargo van remained, it was joined by an Econoline passenger van (replacing the Falcon van). To attract more buyers to passenger vans, Ford introduced two new trims of the passenger van, the Ford Club Wagon and Ford Club Wagon Chateau. Based on the long-wheelbase version, the Chateau had air conditioning, houndstooth fabric on all seats, an AM/FM sound system, and the option of 12-passenger seating.

    Source: Wikipedia

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