In 1978, Mazda introduced a van called the Mazda Bongo. It was also called the Mazda E-Series and Mazda Access. The Bongo remained in production line up till 2001.
First Generation (1966-1975)
The first generation Bongo (F800) appeared in the market in 1966. It was a rear-engined, small van powered by 782 cc water-cooled OHV SA 4-stroke engine. In 1968, Mazda introduced a new version of Bongo with chassis code F1000 with a larger engine. The economic and financial problems forced Mazda to cease the production of this generation. Unexpectedly, the Bongo didn’t get any major modifications or changes throughout its ten year of lifetime.
The Bongo had a low gearing ratio that enabled it to carry a payload of half ton. Also, it used the engine similar to Mazda 1000 mated to a 4-speed transaxle at the rear wheels. However, the entire lineup of Bongos was prone to rust as well as poor maintenance facilities.
Although, Bongo and 1000 had the same front suspensions and brake equipments, they were based on different chassis.
Second Generation (1977-1983)
The second generation Bongo was launched in September 1977. This generation featured a mid-mounted engine with rear-wheel drive. It was also marketed by Ford under Ford Econovan nameplate. However, it was offered in export market by Mazda as E1300, E1400 and E1600 based on the engine used.
The second generation Bongo was offered with three engine choices, i.e. 1,272 cc TC, 60 hp or 44 kW (1978); 1,586 cc NA, 80 hp or 59 kW (1978-1982); and 1,415 cc UC, 70 hp or 52 kW (1979-1980).
Third Generation (1983-1999)
In 1984, Mazda introduced a revised version of the Bongo as third generation. It was available with a whole lot of new engines. Ford marketed it under ‘Spectron’ nameplate in many Asian markets. For the third generation, Mazda also released a long-wheelbase version called the Bongo Brawny. It was marketed in export markets as E-Series.
It was available with three petrol and two diesel engines including: 1,415 cc UC (1984-1985); 1,789 cc F8 (1983-1988); and 2000 cc FE were petrol engines, while 1,998 cc Diesel (1984-1985) and 2,209 cc R2 Diesel (1983-1988) were two diesel options.
Fourth Generation (1999-Present)
The fourth generation Bongo was made available in June 1999. Three major Japanese automakers offered a rebadged version of this generation, i.e. the Ford Econovan, Mitsubishi Delica, and Nissan Vanette.