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Homepage. This page: David's green and black Ford Thames 10cwt van, owned by him since the 1960s.

David's Ford Thames E83W panel van.

Regular visitors to OCC may know that I've been interested in E83Ws for quite a while, so it's always nice to hear from owners and their trusty vehicle(s). A good number of preserved Fordson & Thames vans are already featured on my E83W site (link), so this one I thought I'd feature here instead. Thanks to David in West Sussex for sending the photo over, and the accompanying words.
Ford E83W van
"I have owned this van since I was 20 years old, and I'm sixty this year (2008). It started my business, and it's still the love of my life, all original and running well. I paid 10 for it, somehow I think I got my money's worth out of it. The E83W is a 1952 model with very little mileage, it spent most of it's life with me, but was previously owned by a farmer that for some reason had trouble starting it. I happened to turn up at the right time - I was installing some flooring for him at the time for my boss, and was driving an old Standard 10 van with my old carpet tools in the back that my boss owned, and thought `haaaaaa` it's time I went on my own, so me and 'KT', that's her name, met for the first time and it was love at first sight. He sold it to me for ten pounds, sounds very little I know, but at the time I was only earning 5-10 shillings a week , so it was over two week's wages, still she got me going and I never looked back, (only at her and smile), just like she looked at me the first time we met".
I asked David if he had any interesting stories to tell about his little van ... "WELL!! .... the only one that ever springs to mind is, one day fully loaded with carpets, most of them hanging out the back I might add, while trying to drive up the Reigate Hill on the A23, and having to reverse into oncoming traffic to be able to get up it the hill, going backwards .............. the roads were not so busy then {laugh!!}"
Thanks for getting in touch David, much appreciated. The Ford E83W range first broke cover in 1938, and changed very little over the following 19 years of production. The Fordson of 1938 was designed to carry a 10cwt, or half a ton, payload, and was the big brother to the 5cwt Fordson E04C and E494C light commercials. Early vans and pickups were sold as Fordsons (as shown in the period photo on this page), and later E83Ws badged as Thames, but throughout production the chassis remained largely unaltered, power being provided by the familiar 1172cc Ford sidevalve engine, offset in the engine bay, offering what was known as a 'semi forward control' layout. The downside was that little room was left for the passenger's feet, especially in the pickup version. Three speed gearboxes were the order of the day, as was thermosyphon engine cooling and drum brakes all round. Interior comforts were few, demisting being offered via an opening windscreen, and all but the earliest examples making do with pull-up door windows.

Anorak corner - how to spot an early E83W

As already touched upon, the E83W didn't change significantly throughout production, although a lot of details did alter as time rolled by. Look at an early van and you'll spot things like a column mounted ignition lock, a floor mounted handbrake, and slightly different door handles, to name just three things that would be revised different later on in production. With parts being thin on the ground for E83Ws today, many restorations have to feature a few compromises if a vehicle is to ever hit the road again. Shown below are some of the visual differences between the earliest Fordson vans, and later Thames-badged versions of the 1950s.
A very early E83W van
  • 1. The rear arch profiles flared out on later vans, to reduce mud spraying up onto the vehicle's sides.
  • 2. Early vans had wind up windows, later ones made do with pull-up affairs (a concession to wartime steel shortages that remained a feature right til the end).
  • 3. The first E83Ws had ring-pull bonnet catches, later ones the circular solid bonnet pulls as found on the 103E Pop.
  • 4. The E83W of 1938 had large lamps with very bulbous lenses, but were soon replaced by these smaller lamps. Post-war large lamps would return, but with a less pronounced bulbous lens, identical to those seen on the E494A Anglia saloon.
  • 5. Early E83Ws did not have a beaded edge to the front wings. A beaded edge was added later to improve the wing's strength in low speed knocks.
  • 6. The vans of 1938 only featured one starter handle hole in the grille, offset to the passenger side. Later E83Ws were produced in LHD form so a one-size-fits-all grille was pressed out, that could be used on either RHD or LHD vehicles.
  • 7. Early vans have an enamel Fordson badge on the top of the grille, this would change to Thames in the early 50s.
  • 8. Late examples would have a Thames bonnet badge, as also found on the upright Prefects, but earlier Fordsons had no badge in this position.
Contemporary rivals to the E83W during its production life would include the Series Y 10cwt Morris (the smaller Z van being a rival to the 5cwt Fordson), the Jowett Bradford, and in later years the Bedford CA and Morris J Type. The final examples would roll off Ford's Dagenham production line in 1957, the E83W then making way for the flat fronted 400E after a lengthy 19 year production run, a run that had continued right the way through WW2.
Thanks for sending the pics and story over!! More stories about cars belonging to visitors to oldclassiccar, can be found in the Your Classics section.
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