Ford Transit 3001 – 1979

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Airbrushman says he was commissioned by Ford Motor Company to create an exhibition vehicle. Although this is a project for Ford Europe, they had a meeting with the directors of Ford USA who approved the design. Airbrushman came up with the theme and the name (3001) and he created lunar landscapes on the bodywork.

Doug Thompson designed and built the interior. Ford built the transmission, lengthened the chassis and that went up 2 Ford Granada independent axles at the rear.
The car was built in collaboration with Ford Aerospace and Communications Corporation, who also operated a NASA checkpoint in Houston.

Ford took it to Brussels for its first appearance, then the special Ford Transit went to the London Motor Show in early March 1979.

It was not built to be driven at all, but just to serve as an exhibition vehicle.

The cabin has been divided into three compartments so that it looks like a space capsule.

The first compartment is the pilot room with 2 seating, a steering wheel and a round airlock to pass back. There is 2 butterfly doors to enter.

A pair of swivel seats are conveniently placed to control the incredible set of 300 flashing lights and switches in the 2th compartment which is overcome by 2 small transparent skydomes. A wider butterfly door allows direct entry.

The 3th compartment at the back is composed of a television, of a VCR (it was rather a must at that time, but they were very bulky) and a transparent plexiglass bubble seat created by Ford. There is a selection of games specially designed for the 3001 to play on TV. Gadget side, half a bubble deploys on the roof when a button is pressed, and puts a bright disco vibe outside. The van retains its original tailgate.
Of course, we are supposed to float in weightlessness to move around in the van !

New picture of 15/03/2022 taken from a newspaper
New picture of 15/03/2022 Advertising

This is Madvanman (of the Transit forum) who is the current owner of the 3001 and who has been trying to restore it since 2006, but it's quite complicated because its roof is so attacked by rust that it sags in the middle. It has been emptied of its contents and the frescoes have been erased.

In 2016, nothing had really advanced in its restoration according to the various forums that I could follow.

Even today we would have preferred to find a V8 from 6,4 liters instead of the modest 4 cylinder 2 liters which fitted it.

New picture of 15/03/2022 Article in VANS of July 1979.

His name is 2rak, he loves to draw cars and not only that, he is visible on Instagram @2rakvraiment and he also manages a blog on that I strongly invite you to discover.
He left a message on this article following a vivid recollection of the time when the Transit 3001 came to Belgium, and he sketched this pretty van in his very particular style.
Thank you 2rak !

copyright 2rak
copyright 2rak – we want more on the site 😉


Founder of mm2 France, oto6, then from Sixmania. The 6 wheels and more have always been a passion for me. It started in 1980 thanks to a certain Christian de Léotard, you know ?

2 thoughts on “Ford Transit 3001 – 1979

  1. oh flute, fall back on it after all this time …
    it was a founding myth for me when an article (in car monitor ?) talked about it for its presence in Brussels, so long ago …
    thank you for this comprehensive article
    (on instagram: @2rakreally, ptitsdessinsdeptitsautos)

    1. Thank you very much 2rak, and suddenly the loop is closed, you are also in the page, it's pretty cool, I am happy !

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