What is the van?

About the van and some history

Mazda introduced its small van, the Bongo, in 1966. It featured a 782cc water-cooled 4-stroke engine driving the rear wheels. The rear engine Bongo was produced in two versions, the F800 and the F1000 between 1968 – 1978. This model retained the same body shape for its 10 year production life, the later models fitted with inertia-reel seat belts, and separate front parking indicator lights. The rear engine Bongos had a full chassis (shared with the Mazda 1000, using the same engine mounted to a transaxle at the rear) and were very strong and due to the low gearing, able to carry one ton. Due to rust and poor maintenance, the rear engine Bongos are now few and far between.
The next Bongo van appeared in 1978. It was a mid-engine rear wheel drive vehicle. Ford sold this version of the van as the Ford Econovan, while Mazda sold it for export as the E1300, E1400, and E1600, depending on engine size.

As the Mazda E1600 was a compact type van and made for smaller roads it was something that most trades-men loved. They were and are intended for everyday use and as a camper van they were perfect for the job. The Rhombus Explorer has gone a step further and was made into a Motorhome, so care on roads is imperative due to the extra weight shape, and bulk. After all we would not want to undo what hard work has been put in by stupidly driving down a rough road. Sadly a sore point, Henk seems to think that its fine to recklessly take the Rhombus down roads, roads that it was never intended to go down. Sadly this is yet again one of the many reasons how Henk ruined the van in the first place and seems that he is more than happy to do that again. *sigh* we guess some people were born with a silver spoon and never learned to look after anything in their lives despite how stupid and hurtful their actions may be. So people when you see the arrogant, ignorant stubborn old fool on the side of the road with a ruined van, give him a decent swat to the head before you help, because after all he will be there of his own silly fault regardless of the  “I didn’t know” or “It’s not my fault” spiels he will give you!  Remember we do refer to him as The Destroyer!!!
Moving on

A brief history of vans (From Wiki)

The word van is a shortened version of the word caravan which originally meant a covered vehicle.
A van is a kind of vehicle used for transporting goods or groups of people. It is usually a rather box-shaped vehicle on four wheels, about the same width and length as a large automobile, but taller and usually higher off the ground, also referred to as a Light Commercial Vehicle or LCV.
Under the ancient name of Tushpa, Van was the capital of the Urartian kingdom in the 9th century BC. Its ancient inhabitants called themselves Nairi and the city was a major Armenian center. These early settlements are believed to have centered on the steep-sided bluff now known as Van Castle ( Van Kalesi ), close to the edge of Lake Van and a few kilometers west of the modern city.

A full size van used for commercial purposes is also known as a van, however a passenger vehicle with more than 7 or 8 seats is more likely to be called a minibus. A railway car used to carry baggage is also called a van. A vehicle referred to as a full-size van is usually a large, boxy vehicle that has a similar platform and power train to their light truck counterparts. These vans may be sold with the space behind the front seats empty for transporting of goods (A cargo van ), or furnished for passenger use by either the manufacturer ( Wagon ) or another company for more personal comforts, such as entertainment systems ( Conversion van ). A van is a kind of vehicle used for transporting goods or groups of people. It is usually a rather box-shaped vehicle on four wheels, about the same width and length as a large automobile, but taller and usually higher off the ground, also referred to as a Light Commercial Vehicle or LCV.

The term van may also refer to a Minivan. Minivans are usually distinguished by their smaller size and traditionally front wheel drive power train, although many now are being equipped with four wheel drive. In Australian English, the term van is commonly used to describe a minivan, a passenger minibus, or an Australian panel van, manufactured by both Holden and Ford at various times. The British term people mover is also used in Australian English to describe a passenger van. British English speakers will generally refer to a passenger minivan as a people-carrier or MPV (multi-purpose vehicle), and a larger passenger van as a minibus. There are vans in all shapes and sizes, ranging from the classic van version of the tiny Mini to the five metre long (LWB) variants of the Mercedes Sprinter van. Vehicles larger than this are classified as trucks (or lorries in British English ). Ford makes a distinct line of vans with short hoods (“bonnets” in British English ) and varying body sizes.

The word van has slightly different, but overlapping, meanings in different forms of English. While the word always applies to boxy cargo vans, the most major differences in usage are found between the different English-speaking countries. The Dodge Sportsman added a plug to the rear of a long wheelbase to create the 15 passenger van. They have been sold as both cargo and passenger models to the general public and as cutaway van chassis versions for second stage manufacturers to make box vans, ambulances, campers and other vehicles. The word van is a shortened version of the word caravan which originally meant a covered vehicle. The word van may also refer to an enclosed freight railway vehicle (US boxcar ).

In the United States, a van can also refer to a box-shaped trailer or semi-trailer used to carry goods. In this case there is a differentiation between a dry van, used to carry most goods, and a refrigerated van (a reefer) used for cold goods. Vans are also used to transport elderly and mobility-impaired worshipers to and from church services or to transport youth groups for outings to amusement parks, picnics, and visiting other churches.

The American usage of van to mean a cargo box trailer or semi-trailer is used rarely, if ever, in Australia. The Japanese also produced many vans based on the American flat nose model, but also mini-vans which for the American market have generally evolved to the long-wheelbase front wheel drive form factor first pioneered by the Dodge Caravan. The first generation of American vans were the 1960s compact vans which were patterned in size after the Volkswagen Bus.

The standard or full size vans appeared with Ford’s innovation of moving the engine forward under a short hood and using pickup truck components and taillights.

The term van can sometimes be used interchangeably with caravan, which in the U.S. is referred to as a travel trailer. Another type of van, peculiar to North America, is the step van, so called because of the ease with which one can step in and out of it. Widely used by delivery services, courier companies and the parcel division of U.S. Mail and Canada Post, they are often seen driven with the door open, especially in big cities.

Typical versions of the Sprinter are taller than other unmodified vans (tall enough to stand in), with a more slanted (aerodynamic) profile in front. They have been adopted primarily for delivery and lightweight Class-C van cab motorhome applications. The van body is taller than the cab and bed of the pickup that uses the same style frame and powertrain resulting in the basic van having a higher center of gravity than a similarly loaded pickup from which it is derived. In the 1970s, songs like ” Chevy Van ” and nicknames like “sin bin” became part of the culture as owners transformed them into rolling bedrooms and lounges. The driver’s mate of a delivery van was sometimes referred to as a “vanguard”.

In urban areas of the United States full-size vans have been used as commuter vans since 1971, when Dodge introduced a van that could transport up to 15 passengers. Conversion vans became a large market with plusher accommodations than factory seats. Dodge ended production of their full-size vans in June of 2002 (as 2003 models), and replaced it with the Dodge Sprinter, which is based on a narrower, more fuel efficient European design pattern with a 150hp (110kW) diesel turbo I5.

Minivans offer similar seating capacity (traditionally seven passengers), and better fuel economy than full-size vans, at the expense of power, cargo space, and towing capacity. Full-size vans often have a very short hood, with the engine block moved to within the passenger cabin.


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