23 September 2019

Miscellaneous classics #3: Ford Econovan/Mazda Bongo E2500

It has been a while since I wrote about old trucks here, and after finding out that Ford Econovans/Mazda E2500 trucks are getting rarer, it compelled me to at least acknowledge their existence in Singapore!

The Ford Econovan, primarily known as the Mazda Bongo/E2500, was first introduced in 1966 with van and truck versions available. Its name is derived from the bongo, a species of antelope living in Central Africa. From 1977, it was exported to other countries such as South Korea and known by a variety of names. The 3rd generation of the Bongo appeared in 1983, and over its lifespan, it was subjected to facelifts and engine upgrades.

This particular unit is a 1999 model and it featured a 2499 cc Mazda WL i4 engine, but as with commercial vehicles here, its speed is restricted to 60 km/h. It was 4475 mm long and weighed 1490 kg while unladen, but could accommodate almost twice its weight with an overall laden weight of 2860 kg. Curiously, it sports a relatively new registration number: it could have changed hands recently to be used till its lifespan was up. The Mazda truck is a 1997 model and while it had the same specifications, it has a different front-end design since it was made under Mazda licensing. It had also been deregistered when I saw it, but somehow it still ended up on the road.

Production of the Econovan/Bongo ended in 1999, where it was replaced by a newer generation. I may be sentimental, but personally it looks better than the current lorries these days due to its simplistic, angular looks. Whatever units that are left here are certainly very minuscule and are due for scrapping in the next 2 years. Certainly, it is a vehicle that many would not bother with since it is so dispensable, but at least I have captured its flickering existence in its 20-year lifespan here. Maybe this will allow you to take a closer look at our commercial vehicles here and see them before they are gone!

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