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Inspired by M-Sport’s service barges, the World Rally Transit was the fastest service van in the business.

world rally transit

No-one really needed a reason for making it – the Transit was a great publicity machine, put together by Paul Wilson’s Ford Press garage team. Every Martini decal and every visual detail was right. It looked the part and, at a pinch, it could even have worked for its living with Ford’s M-Sport team. With a claimed top speed of 130mph it could keep up with the latest Mondeo ST200 on most main roads. 130mph? Really? You’d better believe it…

The World Rally Transit was based on a standard high-roof 138in turbodiesel model, with a front-mounted engine and rear drive. However, although the 2.4-litre engine had been tweaked to 165bhp, there were 8x18in rally-type alloy wheels, and the very Focus WRC-style cabin featured snugly-moulded Sparco rally seats, and a small Momo sports wheel. The suspension was lowered, springs and dampers were up-rated, and there was also a deep front splitter to make it look mean.

It was fully road legal of course – but not for the modest. And why the number ‘5’ on the doors? That was the permanent competition number carried by Colin McRae’s M-Sport Focus WRC in the 2000 season.

And where is it now? Still under Ford’s control, still in the Heritage Collection, and still in great demand. Because the original Martini contract is now over, only the livery has changed.

Words Graham Robson

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