Truck Stop Classic: 1980 Ford Transcontinental 4435 6×2 Tractor – Full-Size Ford For The European Market

“Hooray! Hooray! It’s a Holi-Holiday”… now excuse me for getting a bit overenthusiastic, let alone for quoting Boney M, but I’ve been waiting so long for finding this rare Big Euro Ford model. Seeing one in such a stunning showroom-condition must have been more than 35 years ago. On a related note, 4 years ago my first CC-article’s subject was the Ford Transcontinental, without having even one picture of the giant back then. And now I happen to have a truckload of them, a good reason for a reintroduction of this legend.

An American rolling chassis with a French Berliet cab, assembled in Amsterdam. That’s the Transcontinental, introduced in 1975, in a nutshell.

The 4435 tractor I found was the top model, it’s powered by a Cummins NTE370 “Big Cam” engine, good for 352 DIN-hp @ 2,100 rpm. An inline-6 with 14 liter displacement, turbocharged and intercooled. The works.

Here’s the 13-speed Eaton-Fuller RTO9513 transmission.

Drive axle by Rockwell.

The liftable tag axle is a York product from the UK.

A tag axle on a heavy Euro truck or tractor unit is always liftable. Most Transcontinentals had a 4×2 or 6×4 chassis, so finding a 6×2 was even more special. Did I already mention I became really enthusiastic when I discovered this Big Euro Ford?

Now that’s an end pipe! Say, it looks much better on a Ford than on a Honda.

The diesel fuel tank is on the right side of the chassis.

The batteries and air tanks are on the left side.

You can climb the bumper if you want to clean the huge windshield, for example.

The Blue Oval was put on the (factory all-black) grille at the introduction of the Transcontinental Mk2 in 1978. Yet many of them also had the big F-O-R-D letters on the front, which were factory items on the 1975-1978 Mk1 only.

A pair of grab handles and a trio of wipers at the bottom of the windshield.

Here’s where you start to climb when entering the cab.

Right from the start the Transcontinental had a 4-point fully sprung cab suspension, quite unique in the mid-seventies.

Euro-spec headlamps, naturally.

For such a mastodon the taillights look rather timid.

The number 4435 explained: 44 metric tons GVM, 350 hp. In several countries the GVM rating would be higher, depending on the number of axles the trailer or semi-trailer had.

A prime example of a contemporary, direct competitor is parked next to the Ford, a 1980 Scania 141 6×2 tractor (14 liter V8, 375 DIN-hp). Unlike the Ford, the Scania is a full in-house product; both the complete rolling chassis and the cab were developed and built by the Swedish truck maker.

And to top it off, here’s a neat (and short) video, featuring the Ford prior to its restoration. Something tells me it was imported from Norway…