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Cross-Ocean Delivery: 1961 Ford Thames Van


A rather unique, at least in the USA, alternative to the ubiquitous VW van is this 1961 British Ford Thames 400E. It’s been converted into a camper, although based on the workmanship I’m guessing it was done at home rather than by a recognized shop. Thanks to fellow Barn Finds writer Jeff L. for calling this find to my attention! The unusual Ford is available in Hancock, Michigan and is up for grabs here on eBay. The buy-it-now seems a little steep to me at $5,600, but lower bids are being entertained starting at only $100. Almost 200,000 of this particular type of van were produced, but very few of them made it to this side of the pond, although there were a lot of left-hand-drive ones produced to feed the European market. Unfortunately, we don’t know if this van is drivable or even if it starts! It’s showing 59,000 miles, but who knows if that’s 59k, 159k or 259k (ok, I doubt the last one)? The interior is pretty rough, and would certainly require refurbishing if you wanted to use it for it’s original purpose. I’m sure you’d be in the only camper like it at the KOA though! What do you think this oddball camper is worth?


  1. Avatar photo JW

    Interesting find, sure looks to be a similar version of the US Econoline but with a 4 banger. Like I said interesting but no thanks. I’ll pass.

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  2. Avatar photo Rev Rory

    Actually had one of these back in the day, many days back actually! Much like a contemporary Econoline but smaller, less powerful, and more prone to bursting into flame. Cheerfully British, toured it all over the Olympic Peninsula and the San Juans; much like any marginally-maintained Limey, always breaking down or on the verge. I miss it (and those carefree days), the fog of time diminishes memories of failing single-circuit brakes and cooking regulators, and only the romance of freedom and innocence remains…

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  3. Avatar photo Rev Rory

    Oh, and I traded a $25 ’62 Valiant and a Silvertone guitar for it. Wish I still had those, too.

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  4. Avatar photo david

    my first car i went all over the uk in the late 60s

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  5. Avatar photo Horse Radish

    Hey, not that rare after all ?

    I even saw one here in L.A..
    I was debating, if I should save it some 10 or so years ago…, but the crusher was closing in on it TOO FAST. (same place that ate a Fiat 850, Porsche 914, a couple of Toronados…..)
    Saved the bumpers and according to this pricing they should be worth about a thousand bucks (hahaha)

    When did the $500 Vans turn into $5000 vans ??

    I guess when flippers invaded this hobby…….

    Maybe it should be on the Gullwing website and some filthy rich baby-boomer would have snapped it up in a heart beat. Maybe for even twice the asking here.
    The way it’s presented he’ll probably have to settle for (way) less….

    Kinda neat, but NOT $5,600 neat

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  6. Avatar photo Ian

    I learnt to drive in one of these …..three on a tree gear shift. It has a Mk II Ford Consul engine so parts here in the UK quite easy to find. Once the Transit van came out though the rest is history. Over here in the UK there is a big van interest and if the shell is sound (ish) then the asking in $ could translate easily into £

    Like 1

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