Introduced in 1954, the Ford ‘Thames’ 300E was based on the Ford 100E range and was the Blue Oval’s answer to the Morris Minor Commercial that had become so popular in the UK.
It shared its bodyshell and 1,172 cc sidevalve four-cylinder engine with the Ford Squire estate car derivative of the 100E.
The van was offered as both a basic 5CWT model capable of hauling 254kg or a ‘Deluxe’ 7CWT panel van with 356kg of load carrying ability. This one is the latter, rarer and more heavy-duty model.
It’s one of less than 50 Thames 300Es known to still exist and is an older restoration, presented in a two-tone brown that’s hugely evocative of its era and in gently patinated but still very smart and presentable order – the ideal addition to any collection of rare Fords or a perfect promotional vehicle for a small business.
THE HISTORY AND PAPERWORK
Supplied with a current V5C registration document
Some history and papers
Tax and MOT exempt
Old rally plaques and regalia
Leatherette seats with period covers
Carpeted load bay
Period fire extinguisher
The cabin is basic and functional, though it has been enhanced at some point in its past with the addition of a radio-cassette player that in itself is delightfully retro these days. It’s all tidy and complete, the tan leatherette seats protected by shiny plastic seat covers that have a period appeal all of their own.
The vinyl door cards and rubber floormats are in good order and a period-correct fire extinguisher is a nice touch.
Solid older restoration
Some minor chips and paint crazing
All original trim and rare 7CWT badges
Finished in two-tone light brown over dark, the 300E is a handsome-looking thing that presents very well overall. It’s an older restoration, though, and that means there are some cosmetic areas that will require attention – there’s some crazing to the paint finish and a few scuffs and scrapes to the paint that will need addressing, but it’s solid overall and the brightwork and trim is all in good order, including its rare original badges. An original set of seldom-seen factory mudflaps complete the look.
Original side-valve engine
Starts and runs well
Four-speed floor change
Under the bonnet you’ll find a Ford’s popular 1,172cc side-valve engine, which was derived from that of the old sit-up-and-beg Popular models of the 1940s and 1950s.
It has a distinctive chatter at idle and runs well, with a four-speed manual transmission and drum brakes. Performance is acceptable rather than brisk, but it’s all in good working order, the gears engage as they should and it starts and stops well.
This is an interesting vehicle for its rarity value alone, but its also a genuinely practical and useful one, which has the potential to be a really good promotional vehicle for a small business as well as a fascinating old van for shows and events and a talking point among Ford fans. It’s a van of immense character and one that appeals on a multitude of levels.
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1956 Ford Thames Van
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