James Davis, Matthew Davock and the 3 Transit 50th vans

Transit's 50th Birthday - update from James Davis - 17th August 2015

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As I sit here on Sunday 16th August reflecting on the last 2 weeks, I can’t believe how the time has flown; it has felt more like 2 months with all the activities and accomplishments we’ve packed in!

On 9th August 1965 the first example of the iconic Ford Transit rolled off the production line in Langley, Berkshire. A legend was born.

The Manheim Transit 50th van posing with a Ford Transit 50th poster 1965 was the year that saw the introduction of our 70mph national speed limit. In the skies above Transit’s new turf, the space race was in full swing with the first ever space walks made by the USSR and the USA. On television, cartoon legends Tom and Jerry made their debut and Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds “Were Go!” for the very first time. In the cinema the stand out film of the year was The Sound of Music.

Talking of music, the Transit’s first year was full of fabulous tunes. The Supremes had no choice but to "Stop In the Name of Love", when they saw the Transit’s revolutionary lines. The Beatles had their Transit "Ticket To Ride" sorted. Perhaps most smitten were pop legends Sonny and Cher who lauded “I Got You Babe.”

Fifty years later and Britain still loves the Transit.  It’s an iconic household brand that has featured in everyone’s life story. We’ve taken it into our hearts. Quite simply it is the best new and used selling van in the UK. It’s far more than the Backbone of Britain; it’s helped make Britain Great.

The Backbone of Britain Transit 50th Birthday Tour
Where to start? It was at the CV Show in April where I came up with the concept of a Manheim birthday celebration event to mark Ford Transit’s 50th. On the final day of the show, after a record breaking 3 days for Manheim, Matthew and I took time out to visit the Ford stand to reward their hard working team with a rich chocolate birthday cake! Our friends at VansA2Z captured our presentation for posterity:

James Davis and Matthew Davock presenting the Transit 50th birthday cake We are fortunate to have delivered remarketing services to The Ford Motor Company for many years and it was at the CV Show that I entered discussions with Ford and a deal was ultimately struck to take on two demonstrator vans which Manheim would duly have sign written and use for our event tour.

James Davis and Matthew Davock officially become white van menThree months on from the CV Show, in July, the vans were delivered and promptly logo’d up. I hope you agree they are very eye-catching! Our buyers, vendors and industry friends bore witness to the launch of Manheim’s “Backbone of Britain” Transit 50th Birthday Tour.

In July I attended the official Ford Transit 50th birthday event at their Global Design Centre in Dunton, Essex. Also in attendance were the Ford Transit Owners Club. As well as supporting the Ford Transit Club and Classic Van shows, our tour centred around two weeks of special themed sales straddling the Transit’s actual birthday on the 9th August. Between the 3rd and the 14th Manheim went to town celebrating the birth of Britain’s bestselling new and used van.

The fully branded and logo'd Manheim Transit 50th vans

You’ll see from the design on the 2 vans that Manheim CV have sold more than 500,000 Transits since its launch in 1965. Since 2007, our auction sale value of Transit vans has totalled £425 million with a combined age of 525,417 years (making the average used van just over 6 years old) and a combined mileage of nearly 9 billion miles (meaning the average used van has around 105,000 miles on the clock).

Figures from a report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), commissioned by Ford, show that British vans drove more than 63 billion miles in 2014 and the total economic benefit from van-dependent businesses was over £118 billion – giving an average contribution to the British economy of £1.87 per mile driven. When this figure is applied to the total mileage of 8,866,589,154 for all Ford Transits sold by Manheim since 2007, the total economic contribution from businesses dependent on these 84,000 vans is more than £16.6 billion – or £197,822 per Transit sold. Wow!

Now please don’t misunderstand me, other van brands are available, and Transit is not actually the eldest name in the van family (do you know which one is?) but no one can deny Transit has become a British icon, a household name, just like in the vacuum cleaner world! Transit is part of our country’s DNA, our heritage and has helped make Britain Great for five generations. I could be accused of being sentimental but I’m only reflecting the fact that everyone has a soft spot for vans, none more so in the UK than Transit. They’ve featured in everyone’s life; I don’t know anyone that hasn’t a story about one!

Back to our Backbone of Britain Transit 50th themed birthday events. If you already follow us @lovecommercials on Twitter you will have seen how much activity and how much fun we had as a team and with our customers. If you don’t follow us, why not? Come and ‘Share The Love’ we have for all things CV. #Transit50 will show you all the related events, from Manheim and Ford as well as dealerships and operators across the UK and Europe.

Manheim Gloucester's 1960s themed charity dayIt’s our people that are our strongest asset. Their sense of team, their passion, their commitment and professionalism shone brightly for all to see. Our auction centres exceeded my every expectation (as they always do) embracing the theme and making it their own. From 1960’s fancy dress, “Summer of Love” to The Beatles, 50th themed birthday sales, to Transit cupcakes, charity auctions and display parking, it was fantastic to see our people having so much fun with our customers.

The donated Transit van from Hitatchi CapitalThe Transit generously donated by Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicles sold for £6,100 at Haydock. But there was a serious side to what we were doing. We had two charitable causes to support in the name of Macmillan Cancer and the Manheim Foundation, one of those is little known but it will be by the end of this year. Donations of over £100,000 have been made during the last 24 months to local and national charitable good causes as voted for by our people. Our CV Auction Centre General Managers committed to donate £10 for every Transit sold in the fortnight to a charity pot. Our CEO Michael Buxton pledged £5,000 financial support from Manheim and our long standing partnership with Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicles saw them generously donate a 2010 Transit 330 with 100% of proceeds going straight into the charity pot.

So how have we done? We’ve sold 445 Transits worth a staggering £2.01m. Average selling price was £4,520, average mileage 83k and average age just over 69 months. We had 276 unique buyers of Transits over the two weeks; Autocapital came out top as the largest buyer, bagging 15 at a total value of £70k. Colchester sold the most Transits, 133, with 101 selling in its themed sale. 23% of all Transits offered sold online (103) via our multi-award winning Simulcast platform. Having been in the halls Matthew and I witnessed over 50% of all Transits offered receiving an online bid. This platform isn’t even 10 years old yet, it amazes me how it continues to grow.

Mark and Steven, GM’s at Manheim Colchester and Manheim Washington respectively, most generously doubled their bonnet contribution to £20. At Colchester the Chairman of The Ford Transit Club and his good lady wife joined us for the day with a very early and mint 1965 Transit on display. Peter took to the rostrum to auction off two copies of his fantastic Transit 50th book; we made £200 for these. Across the group, The Great Manheim Bake Off and other cake sales saw over £350 raised and our long standing valeting partner PJM Group generously donated £500 to the pot.
So, the big reveal, in total over the 2 weeks, we raised a staggering £14,050 for charity. Fantastic result and well done to everyone involved!
The top 10 Transit buyers will be presented with prizesMatthew and I have one task remaining, which is to present a certificate and signed copy of Peter Lee’s Transit book to our Top 10 Transit buyers over the last decade. We’ll be presenting these in person so keep an eye on Twitter!
Matthew and myself with 3 gorgeous new shape Transits at Colchester. Our VIP guest van was the VERY special CV Show van, sporting an entire respray in Gold. You’ll recall this was the van that started off the entire event, way back in the CV Show in April. Its new home at the end of the year is the Ford Heritage Collection.   

James Davis, Matthew Davock and the 3 Transit 50th vans

It is amazing the passion displayed towards CV. Whether vans or trucks, old or new, in any style, derivative, condition or livery, the weekends I have spent during the Tour at CV events - in the form of Transit Van Club Events, Truckfest and the Classic Van Show – clearly demonstrate the love we harbour for CV.

Talking of which, for those interested in my Mark 3 Spy Van restoration project, it’s in the final stages just awaiting top coat. I can’t wait to take it to the CV Show in 2016 for all to see. It’s not always about the new metal you see! facebook.com/Therestorationvanman

It is vitally important to me that we continue to demonstrate our passion. It underscores our credentials as the UK’s Number One CV Auction Company. Our people. Our passion. Our commitment. Our results. Across Van, Truck and Plant we’re truly industry leading.
I believe history will remember this last two weeks in Manheim. We deserve to be remembered for what we have all jointly achieved. To everyone involved, thank you. You should be very happy, I know I am.

I am very proud to lead Manheim CV. Thank you as always for your support, your custom and your belief. It is more valued than you’ll ever know.

“Share The Love”

Terry Stout and James Davis at TruckfestOn the weekend of the 1st/2ndJulie, Terry and Myself at Truckfest Edinburgh on the Manheim stand with our multiple award winning Mobile Auction Unit and Tour Transit. Great to catch up with customers old and new.

Truck show and truck racing event at SilverstoneOn the weekend of the 8th/9th (whilst I was at the Classic Van Show at The Heritage Museum Gaydon) Julie and Terry were at the Truck Show and Truck Racing event in Silverstone. Manheim sponsored “Best in Show”. Here Julie has presented our trophy to the winner SE Broscombe from Yorkshire!  

James Davis, Matthew Davock with the golden Transit 50th vanMatthew and myself – we don’t look a day over 30!

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