Ford Econoline Truck Review: Long-Running Range of Trucks

The Ford Econoline truck, also known as the Ford E-series, included a wide variety of vans that have proudly been running since 1960. It is known as the second longest-running Ford after the F-series, and the present-day Econoline trucks are still impressive.

Ford Econoline Truck

With the Econoline, you get access to different types of trucks, including a cargo van, passenger van, pickup, and other options. In this guide, we will take a closer look at the Econoline series, including its history and features.

Overview of the Ford Econoline Truck

The Ford Econoline, also called the Ford E-Series, Ford Econovan, or Ford Club Wagon, is a full-size van that is manufactured and marketed by the Ford Motor Company. It has been produced since 1960, although the van was discontinued in 2014. The Ford Econoline pickup was meant to be a replacement for the F-Series.

The Econoline pickup truck has been produced for four generations and has been marketed and designed for cargo, commercial, and passenger purposes. The E-Series has come with designs like a stripped chassis for retail and commercial sale.

The Ford E truck is also the third-best-selling truck model in history, with over 8.2 million units sold since the 1961 model year. It outranked the Volkswagen Transporter and Ford Transit. The passenger and cargo vans in the selection were discontinued after 2014 and replaced with the Ford Transit.

The Ford Econoline pickup continued and is offered only on cutaway and stripped chassis configurations. The Econoline truck was a 2-door variation of the vans, and the engine was placed between and behind the front seats. During the first model years, up to 15,000 pickups were made and sold.

  • Historical Background of the Ford Econoline

The Ford E-Series was first released in the 1961 model year as a replacement for the F-Series panel van, and four generations of the E-series have been produced since then. The cargo and passenger truck styles were produced with a stripped chassis type, which is a chassis with no bodywork.


The E-series vans were the highest-selling models in the United States from 1980 to 2015. Then the Ford Transit replaced the Econoline vans. As for the trucks, Ford took the driveline from their Ford Falcon model and created a truck.

Historical Background of Ford Econoline

The carmaker also focused on balance in its truck, preventing the wheels from losing contact with the pavement.

First Generation Features

The first generation of the Econoline pickup was a forward-control pickup. Ford released the first generation in September 1960 for the 1961 model year. It was released along with cargo vans and passenger vans. The model line was a replacement for the panel delivery and sedan delivery trucks.

The Econoline truck was introduced as a body style in 1961 and derived its body from the cargo van. The pickup bed was similar to the Chevrolet Corvair pickup, with no engine intrusion related to the engine compartment. The pickup came with a 7-foot-long pickup bed, which was similar to the F-Series offerings.

There were two versions of the cab in the pickup, which included a standard three-window cab and an optional five-window cab. The latter came with wraparound windows on the cab corners. The Ford truck came with a 240 cubic-inch engine for the 1965 model year, so it was designed with a larger engine compartment.

The large engine compartment reduced the size of the cargo bed. Spring Special was also introduced as a package for the pickups. Also, when the truck was released in the first generation, Ford expected that it would outsell the van. Instead, the van outsold the truck. There was also a van and a Mercury Econoline.

  • Engine Power and Performance

The 2-door pickup came with multiple engine options, which included the 144 cubic-inch 2.4-liter Falcon Six I6, 170 cubic-inch 2.8-liter Thriftpower Six I6, and 240 cubic-inch 3.9-liter Truck Six I6. It is also paired with a 3-speed manual, 3-speed C4 automatic, and 4-speed manual transmission.

Engine Power of Ford Econoline Truck

To accommodate for the short wheelbase, the Econoline was designed with a mid-engine configuration, which placed the engine at the back of the front axle. As for the suspension, it came with a solid front and rear axle suspension with leaf springs on the four wheels.

  • Dimensions

The pickup came with a wheelbase of 90 inches, while the length was 168.3 inches. The width and height were 75 and 76.9 inches, respectively.

Second Generation Features

The second generation of the Econoline did not have any trucks, especially since it was not as popular as the first generation. It only offered a 3-door van, which lasted from 1968 to 1974. The launch of the van was delayed by almost four months due to the United Auto Workers strike in 1967. It was finally launched in January 1968.

Due to this, Ford released the van for the 1969 model year. It was a heavier-duty vehicle and shared its features and underpinnings with the full-sized pickups from the F-series. In terms of the body, Econoline came with a conventional hood for easy engine access through the van’s interior. It also came with a conventional grille.

By 1971, the grille was redesigned to match the F-series. Drivers could also choose the sliding rear door as an option, and it came with a cab-chassis version, a cutaway van chassis, and a box van body. The cab chassis variant became a popular recreational vehicle.

As for the interior, the Econoline had the engine moved to the space in front of the driver and front passenger, placed under the windshield. Ford also added a passenger version to its cargo van selection, which replaced the Falcon van. The vans included the Ford Club Wagon and Chateau.

The Econoline truck came in long-wheelbase and short-wheelbase versions, which were 123.5 inches and 105.5 inches.

  • Engine Option

There were three engine options available for the second-gen Econoline. These included the 240 cubic-inch 3.9-liter I6, 300 cubic-inch 4.9-liter I6, and 302 cubic-inch 4.9-liter small block V8 engines. It is paired with a 3-speed manual and 3-speed Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission.

Ford Econoline Truck Engine Option

The unibody construction of the van was the same in the second generation and featured a front-engine layout with forward axle placement. It also offered an optional V8 engine.

Third Generation Features

From 1975 to 1991, Econoline released third-generation vans and wagons. The truck was given a total redesign by 1975, and Ford made history as the first American manufacturer to place a body-on-frame construction on a full-size van. The third-gen Econoline was common as the basis for other vehicles, especially with the cutaway van chassis and full frame.

The design was used in different kinds of pickup trucks, buses, and even ambulances. It was a 3-door van. The drivetrain also marked the beginning of aftermarket four-wheel drive conversions and a popular basis for van conversions. The car also came with a luxurious interior and a customized exterior.

The third generation also made history as the 1978 Ford Econoline pickup was named the first-ever Truck of the Year by MotorTrend. It came with a two-box layout, and the hood was long. Ford also introduced the 1978 Super Van and Super Wagon, which came with a 138-inch wheelbase and a rear-boxy extension that allowed for extra cargo or up to 15 passengers.

As for the interior, Econoline redesigned the chassis to expand the interior room. The engine was still between the front seats, but there was a cover that provided easy access to it. The new design of the Econoline offered top-notch interior ergonomics. The third-gen Econoline was offered with three trims, which were base, Custom, and Chateau.

  • Engine Power

The engine options for this generation include 300 cubic-inch 4.9-liter I6, 302 cubic-inch 4.9-liter small block V8, 351 cubic-inch 5.8-liter Windsor V8, 460 cubic-inch 7.5-liter 385 V8, 6.9-liter International IDI diesel V8 and a 7.3-liter International IDI diesel V8 engine.

Ford Econoline Truck Engine Power

As for the transmission options, they include 3-speed manual, 4-speed manual, 3-speed automatic, 4-speed automatic, and 5-speed manual transmission.

  • Dimensions

As for the dimensions, the car came with a new configuration, and it grew in size. It featured 124 inches for the short wheelbase configuration, while the long wheelbase chassis was 138 inches. It was the longest wheelbase for the van.

Fourth and Present Generation

The fourth generation of the Econoline was from 1992 until the present day. The body and interior of the van went through a complete redesign, but it still had the third-gen chassis. The vehicle underwent several revisions during its production, and the final modification was released in 2021.

By the end of the 1990s, Ford stopped using the Econoline nameplates, and the Econoline was renamed E-Series. It was close to the full-size pickups from the F-Series. Then by 2014, the E-series passenger and cargo vans were discontinued, and the Ford Transit sales began in North America.

  • Engine Power

The fourth generation of the Econoline comes with the widest range of engine options. The gasoline engines include the 4.2-liter Essex V6, 4.6-liter Triton V8, 4.9-liter Truck Six I6, 4.9-liter small block V8, 5.4-liter Triton V8, 5.8-liter Windsor V8, 7.3-liter Godzilla V8, and 7.5-liter 385/Lima V8.

The gasoline flex-fuel engines included a 6.2-liter Boss V8 and a 6.8-liter Triton V10 engine. Then, there were gasoline engines, including a 6.0-liter Power Stroke V8, 7.3-liter IDI V8, and 7.3-liter Power Stroke V8. The transmission options include 4-speed automatic, 5-speed automatic, and 6-speed automatic.

  • Dimensions

The wheelbase of the Econoline was 138 inches. The width is from 79.3 to 79.9 inches, while the height is between 80.7 and 84.1 inches. The length was between 212 and 236.7 inches.

2021 Ford E-Series

The 2021 Ford E-Series is the latest release of the Econoline series. This truck is a full-size, rear-wheel-drive chassis cab and comes with a stripped chassis for ambulances, campers, and small buses. The 2021 E-Series is one of the heavy-duty trucks from Ford and is designed for commercial use.

On the exterior, the E-Series comes with prominent vertical headlights with a chrome grille for a functional look. It also comes with a dual-wheel setup and a cutaway layout to accommodate various applications. The front of the E-Series looks like a standard truck, while the rear does not have any body components, allowing you to convert it for other purposes.

Then in the interior, the E-Series came with a highly functional design and different storage options. There is also a transmission selector on the steering and four independent auxiliary switches.


The Ford Econoline truck dates back to the 1960s when the first pickup and van were made.

Here’s a summary of our article on this truck:

  • Ford Econoline is a series of trucks, vans, and wagons that have been made by Ford since 1960.
  • It spans four generations, although the pickup was discontinued by the first generation.
  • Now, the 2021 Econoline truck is a full-size, rear-wheel drive chassis cab that looks like a truck at the front but lacks any components at the rear.

If you’re interested in a truck for pulling your campers, RV, or small bus, or you need one for commercial applications, the Econoline is always a top option.

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