Good Old American Design: Ford Transit 350

Last week I needed to pick up a group of people and their luggage at the airport, so I rented a passenger van.

Ford Van

Avis gave me a Ford Transit 350 Extended Passenger Van.

I loved driving it. It was peppy, responsive and the visibility was great. The low-slung side windows provided good visibility from inside, and the mirrors were perfectly positioned to eliminate any blind spots. The entire vehicle looked sleek and elegant.

But then I looked at the door hinges (red arrows) on the side.

Steve Jobs would have been disgusted. I cannot believe the designers at Ford spent all this time making the van look elegant, sleek and stylish, and then bolted on doors with huge hinges sticking out several inches. It gave the whole vehicle the look and feel of a school bus. I suspect the opening was designed for a sliding door, since the groove for the door is also still there, and the hinged doors are just afterthoughts.

Nevertheless, I think it was a very poor design decision and it makes the entire vehicle seem cheap and utilitarian.

The designers simply didn’t finish the job. At the end, Ford didn’t care.