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Homepage. This page: Three interesting photographs showing the pre-war 5cwt Ford Y van.

1. Ford Model Y van.

Three different Ford Model Y vans now feature on this page. First up - Les has been busy with his scanner again, this time sending a period photograph of a Model Y van, an early example of Ford's 5cwt light commercial range from the 1930s. Most Model Ys were built as saloon cars, so vans, especially ones used to advertise a local business, would be very rare if found in a barn today. I wonder what happened to this smart van?
Back to Car Photographs Page 3.
Ford Model Y van
Whether this was used as a mobile shop, or just for advertising, we're not quite sure. It was liveried in the colours of Mayle's, of Woodcote Road in Wallington. The slogan on the sides and rear doors reads "The Best Costs Less At Mayles". The Model Y is registered DYE 260.

The Model Y van was built officially between 1932 - 1937, although the first glimpse of the new 5cwt light commercial was seen at a Ford show late in 1931. The standard van coachwork was produced by Briggs Motor Bodies, which later would become part of Ford itself, situated as it was close to the Dagenham factory. The chassis was broadly the same as the contemporary Y saloon, just beefed up a little. The earliest vans had the spare wheel attached to where a driver's door would normally be located, but this changed in '33 to a door mounted spare, again on the driver's side. Interestingly the coachbuilt vehicle shown here has the spare on the passenger's door, which must have been a lot easier on the driver. This was a feature of the final Model Y commercials, from October 1936 on. Note the mudflaps fitted to this example - designed to prevent mud splattering over the bodywork, a problem that could be encountered since the running boards found on saloons were only fitted to the earliest vans.
As with the saloons, early vans had the 'short rad', whereas later ones had a deeper front grille. I think the black van shown here is a post-November 1933 example as it has 6 bonnet vents, whereas earlier short rad van had 9 louvres, and if the passenger-mounted spare is a factory fitting, then it is probably post- October '36. Production ended in 1937. I don't know whether this van was supplied as a chassis/cab to a 3rd party body builder, or it was a conversion made to a saloon car (probably the former).

2. A modified Model Y van with rear side windows.

This next photo was kindly sent over by Bruce in Australia. It shows a Model Y used by his family: "My father was a double bass player and after years of transporting the double bass in a motorbike and sidecar, we 'upgraded' to this van. The picture was taken at a Holiday Camp in the UK in the 1950s. I am the kid perched on the bonnet. You may notice the rod with the small (red) ball on top that is attached to the passenger mudguard. Dad installed this to help to judge distance when parking. My father had only ever driven motorbikes when he bought this car but had a licence that covered cars and motorbikes. He got the owner to turn it round so that it was heading in the right direction and learnt how to drive on the way home across London!"
Ford Model Y van no.2
Thanks for sending it in Bruce!!

3. A Model Y van seen in Gillingham High Street, 1951.

Les also sent this photograph over, showing a general street scene in the early 1950s. Easiest vehicle to identify is the small van driving towards the photographer, another example of Ford's Model Y 5 cwt van.
Ford Model Y van in Gillingham
The only close encounter I've had with a Y was this rotten Model Y Ford, that I recovered a few small pieces from. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite this rusty, before or since. To find parts for a Y Type, have a look at the Ford Model Y spares page, and to see a post-war photo of a van converted into a woodie estate car, go here. Although the factory didn't offer a pickup version of the Model Y, outside coachbuilders did occasionally build a builders' truck, one of which can be seen on this page.

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