I’m going to be working through the massive pile of content I absorbed, sponge-like, during Monterey Car Week, and that includes some things that were not officially part of the goings-on. Like the public parking lots, which in many cases had plenty going on, despite not being part of the aforementioned goings-on. Like this incredible Ford Thames 400E van, an impossibly rare sight in America.
The Thames 400E was a very useful little light commercial van released in 1957, and of the same forward-control design like the Volkswagen Type 2 Transporter or Ford’s later Econoline or Dodge A100 and many more. Built almost unchanged to 1965, the van came in a dizzying variety of body styles, including pickup truck and chassis-cab options.
They’re really appealing little vans, as you can tell from the tomato-red one I saw in that parking lot. Ford had an unusual and really genuinely charming promo film made for the van in 1958 that features zero spoken dialog but lots of music from the Cy Laurie Band, a popular jazz group that was very big in 1950s London.
The film was called Band Wagon, and hey, look, you can watch it right here:
It’s great, right? I’mm impressed with a lot of things shown here: that flip-down step that opens mechanically when the side door is open, that potent Consul engine between the front seats, how well that kitten is dealing with the noise and chaos, and, significantly, seeing that a tire can be punctured with a violin bow shot like an arrow.
Also, what the hell was going on with London’s violent street musicians?