Fifty Years of the Ford Transit

Fifty Years of the Ford Transit

All that glitters might not be gold but after dominating the commercial vehicle market for fifty years the Transit is certainly worth its weight in it to Ford. Professional Builder continues its tour of some of the industry’s most deserving 50-somethings in the special edition, gilded Custom.

When Professional Builder heard that Essex-based Mark Wilby had been robbed of the tools of his trade, our Ford Transit at 50 tour set out for a day at the seaside. We caught up with the soon to be 50-year-old spreader at a full exterior render on a 7 bed detached, just a sea spray’s distance from the beach at Walton on the Naze. “Properties of this size are far from unusual in this area so there’s never any shortage of refurb and extension work to be had,” Mark tells us.

Transot 50th Walton on the naze-005In a story that is all-too familiar for many of the nation’s tradesmen, however, business recently suffered a blow when thieves made off with £4,000 worth of tools from Mark’s van.

“They used a Tibbe pick and decoder that you can buy from the internet for under a tenner, but the cost to me in terms of my livelihood was at a much higher price. I was only insured up to £2,000 for loss of tools but, given the amount the policy would have gone up if I had even made a claim, it ultimately wasn’t really worth it.”

“It’s not just the monetary value but the fact that you’re suddenly left without the means to do your job. Not only that but some of the drill bits and other odds and ends you’ve collected over the years can be very difficult to replace.”

“I work with a regular group of boys who stick together and they were brilliant about lending me some kit, and a local tool hire firm also loaned me some tools as well, so I managed to keep going.”

That was in April, and, with the half century milestone to come on December 22nd a visit from Professional Builder with a Transit Custom load of free stuff proved particularly opportune.

Ford Transit at 50

In the five decades since our east coast plasterer arrived in this world there have been eight generations of Ford’s flagship commercial vehicle turning the heads of tradesmen. The Transit Custom has followed in that fine tradition, collecting the International Van of the Year accolade shortly after its launch. That was in 2013, a year when then Transit’s already considerable payload of awards was complemented by the statistic that one of every four vans sold in the UK now bears the Transit badge.

Get involved!

Will you be marking a 50th milestone in 2015? Whether it’s a birthday, golden wedding anniversary, or 50 years of your company trading, let us know and we could be paying you a visit. To mark the Ford Transit at fifty, Professional Builder has a van load of free stuff looking for a new home – and we’ll even supply the cake. All you have to do is drop us a line at and we could be on our way to a building site near you. 

To find out more about the Ford Transit range visit

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