On this day in auto history – June 3rd

Thu 3rd Jun 2021

It was on this day in 2005 that Radio 2 presenter Sarah Kennedy - famous for coining the phrase “white van man” - was made honorary president of the first Ford Transit Owners Club.

Started by long-standing van enthusiast Peter Lee, the Transit club was founded to mark the iconic vehicle’s 50th anniversary and garnered great publicity by making Kennedy an unlikely president in a move driven by irony.

The former Game For A Laugh host first began using the term “white van man” to angrily describe the sort of driver who would often 'cut her up' as she drove to work at 4.00am.

Over the years it began to gain traction with the public, so much so that “white van man” has since come to stereotype drivers of commercial vehicles as selfish, inconsiderate and aggressive. 

On receiving her presidency, Kennedy said: “As president, I shall be keeping an extra beady eye out for White Van Man's antics!”

Ironically, Kennedy, who left her Radio 2 morning show in 2010 after a string of eccentric on-air gaffes, was no angel behind the wheel herself. She was famously banned from the roads for 22 months for drink-driving in 2014 after she crashed her Mercedes into a parked car whilst two-and-a-half times over the legal limit and fled the scene.