For $3,000, Thames Da’ Breaks

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Today's Nice price or Crack Pipe Van is not only something you could live in down by the river, it's actually named after a river! Of course you'll need to decide if this English immigrant is worth the trip to the bank.

If you want to get twenty-large for a Vega it damn-well better be nitro-fueled and do sub sevens, or have its name preceded by that of Lockheed. Yesterday's LE5-powered 1974 Chevy Vega was neither of those things. What it was was pretty nice, but according to 90% (!) of you, that wasn't enough to make it worth its asking.


Let's talk a little bit about weights, shall we? Most of the world uses the metric system- centigrams, kilograms, etc. It's an easy to understand 10-base system. Here in America we also use the metric system, although not primarily. We still use the United States customary system for measurement and hence pretty much everything here is dually marked. It's not the greatest system but it gets us through the day.

Metrication has also taken place in Great Britain, but they still measure weights based on arcane calculations known as the Imperial System and seemingly having something to do with the number of stones it takes to sink a witch, or to describe fun girls named Rosie. This has resulted in crazypants measurements such as the hundredweight, which is also called the centum weight, or CWT. That brings us to today's 1965 Ford Thames 400E which was classified as a 15CWT van. What's that in non-Blighty? How the hell do I know?


In fact I don't know all that much about these English Ford vans other than that they were named for the second longest river in the United Kingdom and that I've never actually eyeballed one in person. That makes this one, in of all places San Bernardino California, all kinds of interesting to my Yankee ass.

Other than its present location, the ad doesn't give much detail as to how it got to the Golden State's meth capital, or just what it's doing now that it's here. It does state that runs great, although that's tempered by the admission that 'IT'S A 1965 SO IT'S GONNA NEED SOME LOVE.' Fortunately it appears that it comes with a shop manual so that, while you won't be able to buy things like brake shoes or air filters, at least you'll know how to take the old ones off, and put them back on.


These vans were built from 1957 through '65 and represented Ford of Britain's first attempt at a light-duty cab-over. The Thames was replaced in '66 by the Transit, and of course that model name continues carting the Brits' tea and crumpets to this very day.

Before that however, nearly 200,000 Thames were built over the model's lifespan, both in RHD for the Isles, and LHD for export. This one's a Brit, as all the turny and pushy bits are where the passenger normally sits here in the States. It also is rocking what looks to be a set of Escort RS (?) wheels, and a paint job straight out of a Billy Idol video. Moah! Moah! Moah!


The ad notes that the engine is 'tight' although just exactly what engine that is remains a question. These little vans were available with a choice of Ford's 1,703-cc OHV four out of the Consul, but the mill in the picture looks pretty OHC to me. It's also not the available Perkins Four99 diesel either owing to its obvious carburetor and distributor. Gearbox choice additionally goes undisclosed in the ad is apparently automatic, owing to the copy on the mosaic pic.


These vans are apparently very popular owing to the fact that they even have their own Facebook page. Do YOU have your own Facebook page? You do? Oh, well, I guess you're pretty popular too. But then how do you look in BRG?

One thing you can glean form all the pretty pictures on the Thames FB page is that the windows on this one look kind of hinkey. I don't know if they are right or not but at the very least they are there, ensuring that this one doesn't look like a total creeper van.


If you happen to be in Great Britain right now you might scoffing at the interest in this van over in the Colonies. You likely have a ton of them cluttering up the pre-owned lots and hence wouldn't find its rarity here in the States much of an incentive for supporting its $3,000 (GBP 1779) price tag. Picture Jeremy Clarkson affecting his most nasally American accent - Lookit' that, wouldja, it's a vaan with its steering wheel on the wrooong side. Ain't that a hoot! Think of all the firearms and atrocious ales we could carry in that there vaan.


If however, you have never seen one of these cool Brit-vans in the metal and are intrigued by its presence outside of the Queen's realm, what's your take on someone buying it for $3,000? Do you think that's a deal to possibly have the Thames of your life? Or, is this that too much for a mobile river-view flat?

You decide!


Inland Empire Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Nedus for the hookup!

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