I’ve long lost count of how many farmers and growers I’ve visited over the past 40 to 45 years, throughout the country. Dozens should be close enough. The days the preferred company car in this line of business was a Mercedes-Benz W115 or W123 diesel are long gone.
Those were hardly ever bought new, of course. Buying a brand spanking new car, regardless the automaker? What a decadent waste of money, even if you were sitting on a pile of cash.
Nowadays, these professionals often opt for a compact or mid-size panel van as their handy helper. Think Volkswagen Caddy and Transporter, respectively. Never a full-size van, let alone a LWB full-sizer with a raised roof. Too big, too clumsy and too much redundant space for their needs.
And again, the rule is buying a used one. Diesel powered, as always. You can fill it up at the farm, just like the rest of the machinery. Note that there is no price and color difference anymore between farmers’ diesel (formerly known as the less-taxed red diesel) and on-road diesel fuel. It’s all the same now.
Thinking back, I can count the number of pickup owners on the fingers of one hand (pickup as in anything with an open truck bed). Exactly the opposite of the situation in other parts of the world, where the pickup~ute~bakkie is the undisputed first choice in the agri-business.
Just for the sake of it, let’s call this fine piece of equipment a pickup with an enclosed body. The local fruit grower bought it last summer, at which point the Ford was already more than nine years old.
The 115 DIN-hp Transit has a wheelbase of 330 cm (129.9”), that’s the medium wheelbase model. Some other interesting numbers, as registered: GVM 2,800 kg (6,173 lbs), curb weight 1,695 kg (3,737 lbs), payload capacity 1,105 kg (2,436 lbs). The towing capacity is equal to the van’s GVM-rating.
Exit on the left hand side. The alternative on the other side is getting soaked to the skin.
There’s the Ford’s backup, a 1995 Volkswagen Transporter 1.9 D. I took this picture almost three years ago, the growers still have the T4 (EuroVan). Their “new” van must be quite zippy, compared with the ol’ VDub…
Related article (with more information about this Transit generation):