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Thread: Mazda Bongo / E-Series (3rd gen) / Ford Econovan 1983-1999

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    Mazda Bongo / E-Series (3rd gen) / Ford Econovan 1983-1999

    The Mazda Bongo (Japanese: マツダ・ボンゴ, Matsuda Bongo), also known as Mazda E-Series and the Ford Econovan, is a van and pickup truck manufactured by the Japanese automobile manufacturer Mazda since 1966, in a cabover configuration except for the Friendee variant. It has been built with rear-, middle-, as well as front-mounted engines. It also formed the basis for the long running Kia Bongo range. It is named for the African Bongo, a type of antelope.

    Third generation (1983-1999)
    The Bongo was redesigned in 1983 with new engines. It was also sold by Ford in Asia as the "Spectron" (passenger version) or as the "J80" (cargo model). In Australia, the Bongo was sold by Mazda as the E-series, with Ford also retailing the commercial version as the "Ford Econovan" and the passenger version as the "Ford Spectron" (19831990). From 1994 onwards, the Bongo was also sold by Nissan as the Vanette. In South Korea this was built as the Kia Wide Bongo. In South Africa, it was sold as the Ford Spectron.

    During the 1980s, Toyota, Nissan, and Mitsubishi all sold versions of their utility vans in the United States, however none achieved any real market success and so Mazda decided not to bring the Bongo to the US. Instead, they created the more passenger car-like MPV for the American market.

    Australia
    In Australia, it was sold as the Mazda E-series and the Mazda Traveller and also as the Ford Econovan and Ford Spectron. The entry-level Econovan offered a 4-metre (13.1 ft) length, 1.8-litre petrol engine, five-speed manual of four-speed automatic, single rear wheels, in three-seater steel-sided or six seater XL window-sided forms. Prior to 1986, there was also a 1.4-litre engine and five-speed manual option available as a steel-sided van with single- or dual-rear wheels, and as a passenger-carrying XL van with single-rear wheels.

    The 4.4-metre (14.4 ft) long Econovan Maxi offered a high roof, 2.0-litre petrol engine with five-speed manual or four-speed automatic, single rear wheels, and three-seater steel-sided or six seater XL window-sided forms. Dual rear wheels were available for the 2.0-litre petrol or a 2.2-litre diesel, both with five-speed manual and as steel-sided vans.

    The 4.7-metre (15.4 ft) long Econovan Maxi van was also high roofed, but steel-sided only. Powertrain and rear wheel setups were the same as the 4.4-metre Maxi. In 1986, four-wheel drive became an option for the 4.7-metre long model in conjunction with the windowed body work, manual transmission, and 2.0-litre engine.[16] A cab chassis version was offered on the 4.7-metre chassis, with 2.0-litre petrol engine with five-speed manual. It was available as a two-door, three-seater model with 1.5-tonne (3,300 lb) payload and as a four-door, six-seater "Crew Cab" with 1.4-tonne (3,100 lb) payload.

    In December 1985, Ford updated the Econovan in Australia to upgrade the engines for unleaded petrol. The petrol engine fitted to 4.0-metre Econovan increased in displacement from 1.4 to 1.8 litres, and the 4.4-metre Maxi had its petrol engine increased from 1.8 to 2.0 litres. The 4.0- and 4.4-metre Econovan also gained the availability of four-speed automatic, previously fitted only to the Spectron vans. The 4.7-metre Maxi van, previously available only with dual rear wheels, was now also available with single rear wheels, although crew cab and cab chassis models remained as dual rear wheel propositions. Ford stated that all petrol manuals and the 4.4-metre petrol automatic Maxi were designed to run on both leaded and unleaded fuel, although the 4.0-metre petrol automatic will run only on unleaded. At the same time as these powertrain updates, Ford also made some cosmetic changes to the Spectron. The low-roof Spectron added colour-keyed bumpers and a new side stripe, matched to a new beige cloth interior trim, and on the XLT the old beige interior colour switched to grey.

    Bongo Brawny
    A new long-wheelbase version known as the Bongo Brawny was also introduced, three months before the regular Bongo. The Brawny was larger than the regular Bongo in by all key measures (wheelbase, length, width, height, and weight). In export markets this model was again sold as the E-series. In Australia, Ford differentiated the long-wheelbase versions with the "Econovan Maxi" identifier. In Korea, it is also known as Kia Wide Bongo for truck variant and Kia Besta for van variant.

    Source: Wikipedia
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