E-Series Van Turns 50 Years Young

By Ford Social Member

Fifty years of continuous production for any model is enough by itself to celebrate. But when you add in the fact that the Ford E-Series has been America’s best-selling full-size van for 31 consecutive years, it’s cause for an extra-large celebration.

The E-Series 2011 product lineup includes a commemorative 50th anniversary edition with a full suite of Ford-exclusive, state-of-the-art technologies like Ford Work Solutions™, SYNC® voice-activated communications and entertainment system and a Navigation System with HD Radio™.

Econoline was introduced for the 1961 model year as a commercial vehicle in three bodystyles. The Club Wagon line soon followed, designed for customers looking for a personal-use vehicle and light towing. Since the time, the E-Series line has thrived as Ford offered product variations to meet specific customer needs.

Here, a few highlights from E-Series’ storied history:

1961: Econoline is introduced for commercial customers with three bodystyles: Delivery Van, Pickup and Station Bus

1962: Club Wagon introduced as passenger and load-carrying vehicle with light towing capabilities

1963: Seat belts introduced as an option

1965: SuperVan (extended, bustle-back model) introduced midyear

1968: Second-generation Econoline vans available in three series: E-100, E-200 and E-300 (air conditioning offered for the first time)

1971: Econoline Parcel Delivery Van added to lineup

1975: Third-generation Econoline debuts with body-on-frame construction, higher gross vehicle weight ratings, improved interior package and wider selection of engines. This design was offered in the same basic configuration for the next 17 years

1976: Factory-customized, youth-oriented Cruising Van debuts with mod paint schemes, carpeted interior and porthole panel windows

1978: Econoline chassis cab model debuts

1981: Higher payloads appear on most models

1983: Super Wagon reintroduced to lineup

1987: E-250 eight-passenger Club Wagon added

1992: Fourth-generation introduced – Van and Club Wagon; Chateau Wagon is named truck of the year by Motor Trend magazine

1995: Econoline attained leadership in virtually every aspect of the full-size van market with 48 percent share of its segment, 33 percent of the van conversion market, 90 percent of the Class C motor home conversion market, 40 percent of the parcel delivery van market (Econoline chassis), 90 percent of the ambulance market (Econoline commercial cutaway chassis) and 39 percent of the passenger van market (Club Wagon)

1997: New standard V6 engine offered along with the 6.8-liter V10

2001: E-Series name debuts in Ford literature, along with the E-150 Traveler van targeted for families

2005: Powertrain options now include V8, 6.0-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbo diesel and V10

2006: Last E-Series model produced at Lorain Assembly Plant in Ohio

2007: First E-Series model produced at Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake

2008:E-Series debuts as strictly a commercial vehicle; features best-in-class capability, an improved chassis for better durability and handling, cargo security technologies and the return of the diesel engine option

2011: E-Series, America’s best-selling van for 31 years, celebrates its 50th anniversary by offering premium Ford-exclusive technology like SYNC® voice-activated communications and entertainment system and industry-exclusive Ford Work Solutions™. E-Series vans are available in E-150, E-250 Super Duty and E-350 Super Duty regular and extended-length configurations. Wagons are available in E-150 and E-350 Super Duty regular and E-350 Super Duty extended-length configurations

Do you have a Ford E-Series story to share with us? Click here to submit Your Ford Story.
Harry van man 05/22/2013
I loved having my 1980 Club Wagon 250, lots of great trips to northern Michigan with 6 to 8 of us piled in the van with two Jetskis on the back. It was a beast that could tow anything.
Travis S 09/02/2012
So, Ford let dodge have the police market, and now they're going to let chevy and dodge fight for the van market. That's great. Maybe we'll remember our ford's like people remember their packards and other good brands that let everyone else eat up the prime markets.
Rickey M 03/30/2012
And so after being the best selling van for 31 years and #50 anniversary Ford wants to say good by to it. Leaving the market to Chevy and Nissan. Horrible
Shawn Slattery 11/17/2010
I've been a professional photographer for over 10 years and I lug around a lot of equipment and I tried to have a car and a truck for work and play, but I no longer could afford two vehicles, now I'm a single guy and when I got my E250 " well I thought, their go's my love life" but I have had the time of my life! GREAT VAN!
Rick Shinault 10/17/2010
I have been driving ford Products since 1963 with a few youthful trangressions to Corvettes. In my famliy that is a ruff life the entire clan picks on me. I now have a 1998 E-350 with a 7.3 diesel that I LOVE. there is not much that I have not hauled, dragged, or nudged.with the old girl and she just loves it and the 7.3 what can you say it is bullit proof. But it looks like FORD is going to do something that nobody has been able to do. Iguess I will have to buy a Chevrolet van to get a diesel, Damn Life has some funny turns
Bryan Lewis 09/21/2010
I am a Fire Chief for a Suburb of Chicago, and we have been using E-Series chassis for well before my time for our ambulances! We just purchased another 2010 E-450 cutaway last month. We also use a 2007 E-450 as our Dive and Techical rescue vehicle with a V-10. We retired our 1998 Ambulance and still got 10 grand for it. keep up the good job Ford!
Sharon Connors 09/20/2010
We have just brought a Mini Turuste motor home based on the E-300 van, it was imported to the UK in 1976 and we think manufactured in 1969 /1970, Its in great condition and a real head turner.
Stan Kurowski 09/16/2010
I have driven several E model Ford Vans - loved each and every one. I owned a 1978 E-150. Droved over 400,000 miles before it left me. It moved me and the family to 9 different military bases and many vacations. Made one bad choice - had the oil changed by a non-Ford dealer, the engine failed 47 miles later. That van sat in my yard 2 years before I had to ( by local town code) have it towed away - sure miss that van!! Good new !! will have a new E-350 by 12/2010 !!!
Jason James 09/13/2010
I'm on my 4th E -Series Van ! love every one of them .the latest one is a 2008 E 250 ordered it in red . this Van is like an extention of my arm .As E seriers owner I have many Ideas for your vans but sorry you are going to have to buck up ! as a carpenter /custom Body man I have Ideas 20 years ago that still are not implimented you know how to reach me J