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Homepage. This page: A 1954 estate-car version of the Ford E83W van, seen in the UK and Bavaria.

Ford Thames E83W Estate Car.

E83W vans already feature in the vintage photo section of the site (see the E83W van page for them). This page features a single vehicle that appears in a collection of fourteen photos that Mark Turner kindly emailed over. His parents bought the 10cwt Estate Car in 1954, the year of RTA 151's registration, and it joined a smaller Fordson E04C (photos of which can be found on the E04C page).
While many 10cwt Fordson or Thames vans were converted into passenger carriers by their owners, the Ford bought by Mark's parents was a factory-built job, known as the Estate Car in period brochures and supplied with extra rear seating and side windows. Bar the windows and seating, the specification of the Estate car was identical to that of the E83W van, in that it was powered by a 10HP 1172cc sidevalve engine, coupled to a three-speed gearbox. The 10cwt van was of a semi-forward control layout, in that the engine and gearbox were offset to the passenger side, only leaving the driver with adequate legroom but enabling short front-end panelwork to be used, leaving more of the vehicle's overall length for cargo purposes.
To the photos now. Eagle-eyed readers will spot that at some point in the Ford's life, a two-tone paint finish was introduced. The first of Mark's photo shows the E83W buried under a thick blanket of snow.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
E83W covered in snow
The next photo sees the Ford, still in its original paint finish, adorned temporarily by a new radiator "mascot". Mark's dad looks on thoughtfully. The two starting handle holes set into the van's grille are a reminder of the offset engine installation. LHD examples have the engine offset to the other side, yet the same grille pressing can be used on both UK and export vehicles.
E83W estate car
Both of the family's small Fords are shown parked together in this next shot.
E83W Thames and E04C Fordson vans
A side-on view of the 1950's Ford now, parked in a street. I'm guessing an early morning scene, as the milk bottles are still on the step outside the house behind.
Side view of the E83W
Again a view of the van's offside panelwork, but in much more rural surroundings this time. The pull-down driver's window is lowered in this photograph. Flashing turn signals were never standard fitment on E83Ws and many vehicles like them, the driver's intentions only being made apparent by the use of pop-up semaphore indicators, or trafficators. Those on the E83W van (and derivatives) were set into the rear side panel, just behind the front doors. The single, vacuum-operated, windscreen wiper can also be seen.
The Ford in the countryside
Two 1950's classics now. The Ford has been joined by a splitscreen Morris Minor, registration NLV 653.
Morris Minor and E83W together
The same automotive duo are seen in this next photo, negotiating the hilly lanes and byways of Wales. E83Ws had very low gearing, very useful when navigating terrain such as this, but less than ideal on the open road, where anything over 40 mph resulting in the engine working quite hard, and the occupants on board praying for a fourth gear.
Minor and Ford in Wales
A misty day sees the plucky E83W about to pass through a farmer's gate between fields. Note the large spotlamp now fitted to it, and the darker wings indicating that the two-tone colour scheme has been added.
Front view of the Ford E83W
Mark's family enjoyed trips to the continent in their dependable Fords, here the E83W is seen parked in a Bavarian town, being overtaken by a very different form of transportation.
Ford trip to Bavaria
Still in Bavaria, the E83W is seen surrounded once again by a wall of snow. I hope this Ford had been fitted with a heater, not a standard feature of this model.
The Ford in the snow again
Time for a bite to eat in a Bavarian forest, the E83W is looking suitably dirty after several days of continental motoring.
Lunch stop
Mark's mum and the Thames-badged E83W take a break to enjoy the view, the van's screen slightly open to provide some extra ventilation. Unusually, this van also has a passenger step.
The two-tone Thames estate takes a break
The versatility of these classic MPVs, with their extra rows of seating that could be folded into the floor as required, is ably demonstrated in the next photo. The single (central) stop/tail lamp, joined by a pair of reflectors - one on either side - was the standard arrangement on Ford vans of this era. Unlike the vans, the Estate Car had a raised rear floor to facilitate the folding seats.
Inside the E83W estate
The last in this set of great old photos sees the van taking a breather, parked alongside a winding brook.
The Ford parked up
My thanks to Mark for sending over this super set of E83W photographs.
Return to Page 15 in the gallery of vintage cars and vehicles.

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