|Description||Fordson Thames Van|
Registration No. LCJ 261 Chassis No. Y4Y5851 Engine No. Not given Henry Ford used the name ?Fordson? which implied himself and his son Edsel, initially for his tractor manufacturing business, at first in Detroit, and later in Cork, Eire whence production passed in the late 1920s. Later the name was applied to commercial vehicles produced at the vast Dagenham plant in Essex which opened in stages from 1929. During World War 2 a vast range of military hardware flowed from Dagenham, including many thousands of light commercial vehicles. Later the name ?Thames? from the river flowing past the plant was used for the commercial range. In 1945 peacetime production of civilian vehicles was started with over a million cars and vans built by 1946. These were mainly the 8hp Anglia and the 10hp Prefect, both based on pre-war models, but they were soon joined by the new V8 engined Pilot. But the car which best reflected 1940?s austerity Britain was the bottom of the range Popular; ?Britain?s cheapest car?, a stripped-out version of the Anglia without any frills, and still fitted with transverse-leaf front-suspension until production ceased in 1959. This was the basis of the Ford Thames 8hp 5cwt van, planned for a 1940 introduction, but delayed until peace was declared in Europe. The engine was the famous sidevalve 1172cc four-cylinder, a smooth and efficient unit which remained in production for many years and powered a generation of home-made ?specials?. Bodywork was similar to the Popular but with a van body with a vertical back incorporating two rear-opening doors. Hereford Ford dealers Ravenhills supplied this little van in February 1954 to Walter Gittoes of Kingstone, and the vehicle remained in the area until 1965 when it apparently spent some time in Norwich, but it ended its motoring days back in Hereford. The intervening years have been spent in less than perfect conditions in a barn, but this now rare little vehicle presents an opportunity for a total rebuild, or as a source of spares for other Ford projects. The van is accompanied by MoT certificates from the 1960s and a buff log book detailing its ownership from new which should enable the splendid Hereford registration to be retained or transferred.