byANDREW WENDLER photography by DANIEL BYRNE AND ___ ' ESTHER MONTORO
96 april 2010 = caranddriver.com
Xt's 6:45 a.m., and I'm lying semiconscious atop a slowly deflating air mattress in the rear of a Ford Transit Con-nectXLT. Randomly dispersed chemical solventsbegin to fill the air, my bedding's nightly metamorphosis from cozy, Bibendum-like berth to flaccid, sub-institutional-grade trundle almost complete. I may be living in a van, but where the oft-quoted punch line finds a river, I've a racetrack. Alabama's Barber Motorsports Park, to be specific.
It's the final event of the '09 season for the AHRMA (American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association) series, and the Transit Connect is here to make its bones with a team of riders operating out of the private, Jersey City-based Spannerland Garage. Largely due to my association with three-time (he'd already clinched the '09 title earlier in the season) British, European, American Racing Series national champion Kenny Cummings, the Transit Connect secures a premium front-row spot in the paddock, directly beside the team's low-mileage 'oi Dodge Sprinter and aging '93 T4 Volkswagen Euro-Van. When the tents fold Sunday night, Cummings and his brutal 1968 Seeley Norton will join me in the Transit for the eight-state, thousand-mile jaunt back to New York City.
Ford, which claims to have sold more than 600,000 Transits abroad since the vehicle's 2003 introduction, saw a small, commercial-van-size hole in its domestic lineup that could easily be filled by a model already in the company's product portfolio. Although the Transit requires a few tweaks [see sidebar, page 99] to optimize it for domestic use and abuse, Ford designed and engineered this uni-
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