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Fordson Thames E4 'Commer cab Ford'

Fordson Thames E4 in Anoop and the Elephant, Movie, 1972 IMDB

Class: Trucks, Simple truck — Model origin: UK

Fordson Thames E4 'Commer cab Ford'

Position 00:01:39 [*][*] Minor action vehicle or used in only a short scene

Comments about this vehicle

AuthorMessage

dsl SX

2020-05-30 23:45

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Seen a lot but never moves
[Image: 01-39greentruckc-plateb.jpg] [Image: 01-39greentruckc-platec.jpg]

[Image: 01-39greentruckc-plated.jpg] [Image: 01-39greentruckc-platee.jpg]

[Image: 01-39greentruckc-platef.jpg] [Image: 01-39greentruckc-plateg.jpg]

Plate is xxx 250C = 1965, but smells older, maybe ex-army??

johnfromstaffs EN

2020-05-31 00:00

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That was known as the “Commer cab Ford”, indeed ex service.

E4

https://ccmv.aecsouthall.co.uk/p75505645/h2b1d3cff#h2b1d3cff

/v634748.html

-- Last edit: 2020-05-31 00:07:20

dsl SX

2020-05-31 00:46

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Seems up for debate whether make should be Ford or Fordson. After scratching around Ford, Fordson and Thames, we seem to have a grand total of 3 of these Thames E4s, which I've grouped as Fordsons pending confirmation of what we want to call them.

JCB UK

2020-05-31 10:39

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To me it depends on what it says on that prominent badge that these sport above the radiator as seen in Thumb 5.
I have a feeling it might say Thames !

Incidentally these were going to have a Ford cab , not sure 7V or Trader but the MOD did not like it so Ford went for this one off the shelf from BLSP.

-- Last edit: 2020-05-31 13:45:45

johnfromstaffs EN

2020-05-31 14:12

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According to stuff I’ve seen, these predate the Trader by a year or three, so possibly 7V.

After all my years working with MoD it’s no surprise that they wanted something non standard. Probably what they really really wanted was a Bedford!

JCB UK

2020-06-04 08:29

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I suppose the 7V cab was a bit of a pre war relic !

Sunbar UK

2020-06-11 13:48

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Army designations found for the Ford Thames E2, E3 and E4 3-Ton GS 4X4 Trucks.

1951-56 Ford Thames E2 FV 13301 3-ton (or 2-ton?) 4x4 150" wheelbase Container Store, Binned, GS Truck
1951-56 Ford Thames E3 FV 13302 3-ton 4x4 150" wheelbase Ambulance Spurling
1951-56 Ford Thames E4 FV 13303 3-ton 4x4 150" wheelbase AA Gun Tractor with Winch, GS Truck
1951-56 Ford Thames E3 FV 13304 3-ton 4x4 150" wheelbase Purpose-built Ambulance
1951-56 Ford Thames E3 FV 13305 3-ton 4x4 150" wheelbase Ambulance Mulliner

Although types were E2, E3 and E4 they all appear to be known, in common usage, as the Ford or Fordson Thames E4.

General Ramblings...errors and omissions somewhat likely. There are very few reliable photographs or trucks in British Army service to be found on the web.

The Fordson 7V cab was likely discontinued in 1948-9 with the production of the Fordson Thames ET6. The Thames Trader was released in May 1957.
The 'semi-forward control' ET6 was also produced for MoD and Civil Defence use as a 3-ton 4x2 GS truck. No details found on any original cab offered by Ford or its rejection by the MoD in favour of the 'Commer' forward control cab. The Ambulances were all of a common design and similar to the Binned Container Store trucks except for length and number of small windows.

The trucks were not well received by the army (the Royal Navy or RAF never used them) and were likely quickly relegated to Territorial Army use.

Both Ford and Fordson seem to be applied in common usage although the MoD and army only appear to use Ford. The bonnet badge only used Thames although its just possible very early badges in 1951 or 1952 could have said 'Fordson Thames' but none found. Most or all cabs appear to feature the small rear corner quarter glass as used on the Commer QX Mk.II from 1953, missing on the earlier Mk.I; also the top mounted wipers were introduced on Mk.I cabs between January and August 1952. These could be the results of 'upgrading' of preserved vehicles as pictures from their use in the early 1950s would appear to be very rare.

An E4 in preservation at the National Army Museum, Chelsea London

[Image: 59dcbfa24f310_fordambjpg030547a198906a2a09b05d50af6d8ae6.jpg] [Image: app2500.jpg]

johnfromstaffs EN

2020-06-11 14:23

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Thank you for this.

Something that we’ll probably never find out is why the MoD bought them in the first place. The generally “go to” truck would have been a Bedford in this weight class, but the apparently four wheel drive configuration suggests the need for a transfer box and non-standard axles, although Twin-disc boxes and a suitable pair of axles from Kirkstall might have been available. Maybe some chippy type at Chertsey thought that a Ford on the approved list would be a useful tool with which to “encourage” Vauxhall’s to offer cheaper prices or quicker deliveries on Bedford 3-tonners.

There used to be a handy little book published by MVEE Chertsey of all the vehicle types they had input into, but mine has gone wherever old books go, and the only place to find one now would be autojumbles.

-- Last edit: 2020-06-11 14:24:31

johnfromstaffs EN

2020-06-11 14:46

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It occurs, as an entirely speculative afterthought, but based on much experience, that the “Q” type Bedfords would be reaching obsolescence, and the 4wd S-type (RL) may, at this time have been in development. The Ministry might have wanted to promote a competition for a 4wd 3 ton GS truck and this was Ford’s effort in response. The lack of a suitable cab might have harmed its chances in the competition and the small fleet might have been bought in order to defray Ford’s development costs.

The days of “develop it for free and cast your bread upon the waters” purchasing had not then become de rigeur at MoD.

http://hmvf.co.uk/topic/19411-bedford-ql-restoration/

-- Last edit: 2020-06-11 15:08:35

dsl SX

2020-06-11 15:25

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Maybe worth switching make to Ford?? Seems more widely used than Fordson, and might be a more obvious place to have their nest in the collection.

johnfromstaffs EN

2020-06-11 15:35

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I’ve always thought that Fordson didn’t really fit with Thames, but never really found any proof the nearest being the E83W, which, when badged “Thames” had the “A Ford Product” badge on the bonnet. Prior to that just “Fordson”, but I don’t really think that is enough.

Sunbar UK

2020-06-11 16:08

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The MoD appear to have been active between 1951 and 1953 in replacing wartime trucks with contracts for Commer (Q4) and Austin (K9) trucks in addition to the Bedford RL, so asking Ford (or Ford offering) is hardly surprising.

The Ford, Austin, and Commer all appeared to be in service from 1951 or 1952 but possibly the Bedford was only in production from 1953 a year after the civilian S-type was on sale in the UK (I cannot find confirmation but I have 1953 as the start for the RL). So possibly the MoD contract was not a priority for Bedford at the time?

As an aside, in June 1952 "the Ministry of Supply agreed to manufacturers' releasing four-wheel-drive Austin, Bedford, Commer, Fordson Thames and Morris-Commercial vehicles" for civilian sales (modified with twin rear wheels where required). Rootes (Commer Q4) and and Morris-Commercial (MRA1) were particularly quick off the mark in offering 4x4 trucks for sale. Confirming to some extent that initially the E4 was known as a 'Fordson Thames'.

-- Last edit: 2020-06-11 16:10:23

johnfromstaffs EN

2020-06-11 16:13

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I had forgotten the MoS being involved with purchasing for MoD back in that period. Even I was not involved then, being about 3 at that time. I cannot quite see that Bedford would not have been very interested in MoD contracting at the time, and maybe were just caught out by timing. The Saxon, which went into service in 1985, was really not much different from an armoured Bedford, and there had been regular supply of Bedford trucks in more or less unbroken sequence from the RL. The Cummins powered Saxons were offered after Bedford closed.

-- Last edit: 2020-06-11 16:25:21

JCB UK

2020-06-11 16:28

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Fairly sure they wanted to spread production across manufacturers so if the Ruski's came they could all switch over to military production easier.
However the RL turned out to be the best by far and so army bought them in thousands until 1969 when the MK replaced it. It was light , fairly rapid , reliable and had excellent cross country performance due to designed in chassis flex which kept all wheels on ground.

There was some fanciful specially designed ( by Bedford initially) Rolls Royce engined 6x6 to be the main 3 tonner but eventually even the MOD could see this was millions wasted when modified commercial vehicle designs were as good or better and much cheaper and easier to maintain
The original plan was to have CT series (Combat) special designs in every weight capacity with standardised 4,6 and 8 cylinder Rolls Royce petrol engines and as back up modified commercial vehicles like the RL, K9 and Land Rover classified as GS ( general service) vehicles .
Austin Champ 5cwt, Humber 1 ton and Leyland Martian 10 tonner were the CT Rolls Royce powered vehicles that went into service at vast expense.

National Library Scotland film Royal Review has a few E4's AA tractors in a Edinburgh parade-
Link to "movingimage.nls.uk"

[Image: 2019-12-2839.jpg]

-- Last edit: 2020-06-11 22:22:15

dsl SX

2020-06-11 17:14

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johnfromstaffs wrote I had forgotten the MoS being involved with purchasing for MoD back in that period.

Coincidentally, I read yesterday in a Corgi info leaflet that GPO red vans were bought through MoS in 1950s, so their reach was fairly wide.

johnfromstaffs EN

2020-06-11 18:24

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I got my hands on a B60 engine, (don’t ask) probably built by the “Orstin” it came out of a Ferret. The fastenings had all been changed from Whitworth to SAE sizes, so my plan to use it for spares for my Bentley came to nothing.

johnfromstaffs EN

2020-06-12 09:23

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https://collection.nam.ac.uk/detail.php?acc=1998-09-68-1

Nice oil leak from the front diff! This answers the thought I had about which engine it had, the army were quite used to the Ford V-8 in lots of things at that time, so no reason not to buy those.

johnfromstaffs EN

2020-06-12 09:39

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Further info on Ford/Fordson/Thames still not sure if I trust it though.

http://www.offroadvehicle.ru/AZBUCAR/Fordson.html

JCB UK

2020-06-12 12:04

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I read in a tractor mag that Henry called his first tractors Fordson because there was already a Ford tractor maker in USA.
Not sure about this but maybe true.

Sunbar UK

2020-06-12 12:39

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Regarding Fordson trucks only, rather than vans and tractors...

After 1939 7V trucks were Fordsons but with a 'Thames' badge on the grille lower down.
"All Thames vehicles are forward control" was added to adverts. The 7V was advertised as the Fordson Thames but 5cwt and 10cwt vans remained as just being Fordsons.
https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/images/d/dd/ImICB19470124-Fordson.jpg

A 'Fordson Thames' bonnet nameplate was used on the ET6 from 1948 to about 1952 or 1953, after which the Fordson part was blanked out in the tooling. The 'Thames' letters were always far bigger than the small Fordson above on the ET6 and E4 trucks.
The Fordson name was removed from ET6 adverts after 1951 but the bonnet nameplate with Fordson Thames remained until around the introduction of the cost-cutter petrol engine and 4D diesel. At this point the trucks became Thames trucks with the Fordson name being dropped.

[Image: et6earlylate.jpg]


The E4 series has a similar, but not identical, nameplate design, also with 'Fordson Thames' visible in multiple photos.

[Image: ft1.jpg]

The Ford Thames nameplate is visible in a few photographs of the E4, however one, possibly later, example has a modified nameplate. It looks to have fewer (four?) letters above the Thames but could also be just square blocks replacing the Fordson name. So without finding other examples it may or may not have had a smaller 'Ford' above the 'Thames'.

Confirmed that the Bedford RL was in production from August 1952 for armed forces and civilian use. So possibly about 18 months later than Commer Ford or Austin 3-ton GS 4x4 trucks?


dsl wrote Maybe worth switching make to Ford?? Seems more widely used than Fordson, and might be a more obvious place to have their nest in the collection.


Both Ford Thames E4 or Fordson Thames E4 are fine with me I have no preference.

johnfromstaffs EN

2020-06-12 16:47

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Thanks, good stuff.

It would seem that unless you can see the badge in detail then neither branding could be considered wrong.

JCB UK

2020-06-12 17:25

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I wonder why the normally astute marketing boys at Dagenham decided to change to the Thames name.

Ford / Fordson was and is a very strong brand so why bother confusing everyone back then and now !

johnfromstaffs EN

2020-06-12 17:54

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I wonder if it was anything to do with the typically English sniffy/snobbish attitudes prevalent then towards “trade”. Morris trucks were Morris-Commercial, Vauxhall/Chevrolet trucks were renamed Bedford, and Austin didn’t really make trucks until the “Birmingham Bedford” was introduced in 1939. Maybe Ford had decided that Fordson was too much like Ford, so added Thames as a sort of dividing name.

-- Last edit: 2020-06-12 18:01:03

JCB UK

2020-06-12 23:14

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Yes possibly although it seems strange now.
Coincidentally just read a letter in a military vehicle mag ( from a ex soldier presumably ) saying the reason Ford received no further E4 contracts was because quote-
'they were simply not up to the job.The engine was an old Canadian design , prone to overheating and difficult to access for routine maintenance.It also fell down in the same way as the Commer Q4 in cross country performance due to the front and rear track not being the same.'

-- Last edit: 2020-06-13 07:16:35

Sunbar UK

2020-06-13 14:28

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I think there was a very real aversion for UK private car buyers having their pride-and-joy saloon car being associated with a dirty diesel clapped-out lorry, that were around after the war. It wasn't until the likes of continental premium makes like Mercedes-Benz trucks arriving in Britain that it was finally acceptable.

JCB UK

2020-06-13 20:45

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Yes sure you are correct .
Also lorry drivers themselves were held in very low esteem not least by the UK manufacturers who paid very little attention to driver comfort unlike the foreign makers and guess what when the drivers sampled these comfortable quiet foreign trucks they wanted the boss to buy them !

johnfromstaffs EN

2020-06-15 13:09

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Many moons ago I got to know a chap with a cut glass accent and an immaculate white boiler suit over a sports coat and flannels.

He was an ex army type and worked for the local Scania agents as a demonstrator when they were just introducing their range into U.K. He said he took great delight in winding up hotel receptionists or bar staff by asking for a smoked salmon salad and where could he park his lorry.

-- Last edit: 2020-06-15 13:10:13

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