So what’s it like to drive? “It’s pretty impressive, considering what it is,” Justin said. “When we first got it, if you went anywhere near the throttle on a corner it would go straight on in chronic understeer. One of the TWR guys drove it around Millbrook Proving Ground’s high-speed bowl and recorded 171mph (295kph). It was apparently difficult to keep in two lanes, let alone one. When we got it, we started doing some road testing and decided we needed to do something with the front end.
“We gave it more camber so we could get in the original XJ220 wheels under the front arches, and fabricated new hubs to take the XJ220 brakes. That completely transformed the handling. It was still a bit soft because it had Transit struts on the front, but there’s no engine in the front so the spring rate wasn’t actually too far off what it needed to be.
“We went to town on the dampers before Goodwood this year.It’s got Penske fully adjustable inserts in custom made struts on the front, and Ohlins on the rear. It drove and handled really well before , but it was just slow. At Goodwood in previous years we were fighting the body roll and couldn’t get on the gas. This year we ran on hill climb slick tyres for the first time and I think I knocked about 2.5 seconds off my best time on the hill, which is a lot for a 60-second run.”
The engine has had work too. Thanks to some of the tweaks in which Don Law Racing specialises, the engine now makes north of 640bhp. Don’t think that the van is all about pure pace though. It’s still a Transit, and despite losing a bit of room in the back caused by the engine cover, it’s still very practical.
“I’ve moved house in it twice,” Justin said, “I’ve had beds, chairs, plants and the dog in the back of it. The dog was hilarious, because when the turbos are on it crackles and the dog would prick its ears up.”
What’s next for the van? More tweaks to try and further improve its performance. “We want to send it on a diet,” Justin said. “Until recently there was a load of plywood in the roof, which we’ve taken out and we’re going to go on a lightening mission. Also, although it’s been converted to rack and pinion steering, it’s still got the Transit steering box attached to the front, not doing anything. We’ll maybe go to a race track and see if we can set it up better.”
It might be pushing 25 years old, but this insane Transit has plenty of fire left in it. And if Don and Justin have anything to do with it, there are more fireworks still to come.