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Homepage. This page: An unusual sight in the Falkland Islands 1982 - is it still in service?

E83W all-steel pickup truck.

In the main, this section of the site features photographs that tend to be contemporary to when the vehicles in them were either on sale, or at least still in regular use. This image though features a rare Ford that, while not photographed in its heyday - the 1950s - is sufficiently interesting, and unusual, to warrant inclusion here. Certainly the image isn't as old as those of E83Ws that star on the estate cars page, or those that appear on page 1 and page 2 of the E83W van pages.
While no E83W is particularly common, the all-steel pickup version is particularly unusual. In the UK there may be ten or so in existence now, with others dotted around the globe, particularly in British Columbia (Canada), and odd examples in far-flung locations such as Chile. Owning E83Ws myself for many years, which led to the creation of the Fordson/Thames E83W website, I spent many hours communicating with owners of these characterful 1/2 ton commercial vehicles in many lands. From time to time I'd hear about a metal-back pickup somewhere or other, like those I once had, but this is the first snapshot that I've seen of a survivor in the Falkland Islands of all places.
Nigel kindly sent over this snapshot of just such a machine. I had a feeling of deja-vu when I saw this photograph, as to look at it was almost identical - even down to the red primer paintjob - to my first E83W pickup, discovered in a field in 1989. Nigel's photograph dates to 1982, when he was embroiled in the Falklands War while serving in the Royal Navy. I've included a small shot of the one I found in with Nigel's image, for comparison. Given how harsh the weather can be on the Islands, the Ford (or Thames as it should really be known) doesn't look in too-bad condition, especially as it was ~30 years old at the time. The easily-damaged grille though has had a whack or two over the years. The all-steel back body on this variant, produced by Anthony Hoists Limited on behalf of Ford, was very prone to rotting out.
(Please click the thumbnail to view the full-size image.)
Rare metal-back E83W pickup truck
Nigel adds:
"Ford E83W pick-up photographed in Stanley, Falkland Islands, in 1982. Note the 'aggressive' tyres so necessary on those islands where the terrain is either stone-field or bog. Now, of course, things are much improved and there are roads, not just in Stanley as then. The owner of this vehicle was very glad to have got it back after we chucked out the Argentinian invaders, although less than impressed with its condition when he finally retrieved it from them."
Chances are the pickup survives somewhere on the Islands, but in what condition I wonder? If anyone can shed light on this Ford's story since Nigel's photograph taken over thirty years ago, I'd welcome an update to add in here please. I'd also be interested to know how it ended up there? I've a vague recollection that the steel pickups were bought in number by an oil company in the 1950s (Shell possibly), which may explain how many ended up in distant locations.

Factory literature.

Although I'm now E83W-less, I've still a few items of paperwork that relate to the half-ton Fordson and Thames 10cwts. The following double-sided sheet was issued to Ford dealers in the 1950s. It took years to find this copy, and was bought from a seller in New York, USA. The front bumper is very non-standard in this literature shot, and the small sidelights fitted beneath the headlamps featured on some export versions, but not on those in the UK. The brochure describes the truck as follows:
"The Thames 1/2 ton pick-up, based on the sturdy, well-tried 30hp half-ton Truck, is the ideal vehicle for the operator who wants an economical, easy-to-handle light truck.
"The sturdy, all-steel, low loading body is constructed to withstand the roughest usage, has a capacity of 28.1 cu. feet. It is fitted with a quick-release tailboard and stake sockets for a canvas cover frame. The roomy, semi-over-engine cab has balanced "quick-lift" safety glass windows and space for an additional seat beside the driver which may be fitted at small extra cost.
"It is, in fact, the ideal tender for the large fleet owner, the trader and the farmer who want a tough, light go-anywhere and, above all, a remarkably economical pick-up capable of carrying loads up to 1/2 ton."
Leaflet for the 1/2 to pickup truck
The reverse of the leaflet describes the truck's technical specification, as does a separate flyer that I found at a classic lorry show a few years ago. Curiously it depicts the pickup as having the spare wheel mounted vertically between the cab and the rear body. The production vehicle has the spare housed under the rear body, as on the van, with the petrol filler neck protruding through the bodywork. The builder of the body is credited as Antony [sic] Hoist. Regarding the steel back body, the following information is given:
"Specially designed in 16 and 18 gauge high tensile sheet steel and electrically welded into an exceptionally rigid, attractive and easily cleaned body. Floor is supported by a framework of longitudinal and transverse 'formed' channel bearers. The sides and tailboard have channel section top rail and vertical 'shaped' ribs for added rigidity. The tailboard swings down vertically or can be suspended horizontally by means of two leather-covered chains. When closed the tailboard is secured by means of a specially designed hand operated locking device."
An advert for Thames trucks, from a magazine in 1950, shows an E83W pickup and its big brother, at a wood yard. Another advert from the same year, for Anthony Hoists Ltd, shows the all-steel pickup body but here fitted to an Austin A70 chassis. I've not seen another photo of this body on the Austin A70 (Hampshire) running gear, were any made and if so, are there any still around? The closest matches that I've seen are the factory-built A70 pickups, and the Australian-bodied utes.
Austin A70 pickup by Anthony Hoists Ltd
Anthony Hoists Ltd were based in South Ruislip, Middlesex. The advert advises that servicing agents were located at Douglas Munro & Co. Ltd (Glasgow), J & S Hemmings (Brierley Hill), Tayfen Garages Ltd (Bury St. Edmunds), and St. Andrews Motors Ltd (Newcastle-upon-Tyne).
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