Home » Cold Start: One Of The Best Things Seen In a Monterey Car Week Parking Lot

Cold Start: One Of The Best Things Seen In a Monterey Car Week Parking Lot

Cs Thamesvan
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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.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

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:

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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?

 

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RICHARD DOW
RICHARD DOW
1 year ago

Morning, the Violent Violinist is I think none other than Stephane Grapelli

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St%C3%A9phane_Grappelli

Gerald Denzel
Gerald Denzel
1 year ago

So I met both you and David in a parking lot on Wednesday on Muras Blvd
And thought out the week sometimes seeing the car’s in the lots was better because they drove them

Knowonelse
Knowonelse
1 year ago

That video ranks up there with the best of music videos! Plot, music, story, villans, heros, and a point. Excellent!

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
1 year ago

Sounds like a Woody Allen movie soundtrack!

(like from the movie “Sleeper”)

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
1 year ago

I love how bouncy the vehicles are in European films of this era. It’s great when you see something like a car chase and the getaway car is just happily bopping along.

C Donovan
C Donovan
1 year ago

What does the 15 signify on the nose??????

Olaf Hart
Olaf Hart
1 year ago
Reply to  C Donovan

Thomas the tank engine is number 1.
Edward is number 2.
Henry is number 3
Gordon is number 4
And Fauntleroy the Ford van is number 15.

(Or it’s the load rating in hundredweight)

Dodsworth
Dodsworth
1 year ago

I loved the film. Now I’ll turn down the sound and play it again to Yakkity Sax.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
1 year ago

That van looks sort of tired but resigned, like it doesn’t really want to be up at 4 am to deliver milk, but if it doesn’t, who’s going to?

Memphomike
Memphomike
1 year ago

Helluvan Ad! Sign me up, Ford!

Maymar
Maymar
1 year ago

“Also, what the hell was going on with London’s violent street musicians?”

Leaded gas? Residual trauma from multiple great wars? If guys in mid-century London who dressed like Edwardian dandies, or rode fancy Vespas could still be behind notorious violence, I’m pretty sure everyone back then was just one mispoured cup of tea away from starting a riot.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
1 year ago
Reply to  Maymar

They were crazy times. Killer grandmas, Droogs…

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
1 year ago

So Jason, thanks for your take on what you think is interesting. I will pray for you. But seriously really just wanted to say a big thank you to you, DT, The smart girl, and everyone else who has helped to create a great, interesting, fun website. I know it’s a shit load of effort and work. Did I already say thank you?

This place is an oasis in a sea of not so great sites, which are like watching the network news. Everyone copies the pr food fed to them and spits out their take on an issue related to cars, travel, etc. You guys don’t appear to cut from the same bolt of cloth. We all probably prefer a little bit of “nuts” in the writers here. The fact that there is no click bait BS knee jerk articles filled with fake outrage at the subject up for discussion also lends a ton of credibility here. So I only can say a huge GRACIAS Amigos , and hope there is some cash flowing into everyone”s pockets. May the Gods of the Internet grant you wisdom and everlasting protection from the douche bags of the world. Now go in peace, and write more shit. NOW please. As soon as I can get the other place to let me delete my account, I am gone. God bless you children. Amen.

DysLexus
DysLexus
1 year ago

Huh. This was what commercials were like before the 30-second Super Bowl spot?
Kind of modernized Silent Film-esque thing.

Chris with bad opinions
Chris with bad opinions
1 year ago

WTF did I just watch?

Roofless
Roofless
1 year ago

That was delightful! Real Hanna Barbera vibe to the whole thing, too.

FlyingMonstera
FlyingMonstera
1 year ago

My dad would sometimes refer to Transits as Ford Thames vans. Cue eye rolling from six year old me. Thank you for educating me 45 years on what a Thames van actually was. Love that ‘deployable step’ and traumatised about the poor kitten.

W124
W124
1 year ago

This thing is both cute and ugly at the same time.

Nic Periton
Nic Periton
1 year ago

The violent street musicians are the good guys in this film. They are trying to prevent the deplorable practice of using kittens as trumpet and trombone mutes that was a, thankfully short lived, fad in some of the less respectable jazz clubs at the time.

Richard O
Richard O
1 year ago
Reply to  Nic Periton

Nah. They were just jellie.

Dave Garland
Dave Garland
1 year ago
Reply to  Nic Periton

Where did you think the sound guy got his “dead cat” from, anyhow?

Dar Khorse
Dar Khorse
1 year ago

Wow wow wow, that drop-down step is the cat’s meow! What a fun little video and a fantastic little van.

SquareTaillight2002
SquareTaillight2002
1 year ago

Great commercial. Even better van. You are right, that is a keeper.

Dave Horchak
Dave Horchak
1 year ago

That 12 passenger van looked really crowded with 6 people and a kitten.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Horchak

The kitten’s probably still young enough to have all nine lives, so they really should have gone with a 15-passenger van.

Old Busted Hotness
Old Busted Hotness
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Horchak

Kittens are passengers, too! How do you think they got the 12-passenger rating?

CharlesP
CharlesP
1 year ago

Jason, thank you for getting my day started with a smile! Fresh cup of coffee and The Autopian make the world a a better place.

Mr. Frick
Mr. Frick
1 year ago

There’s a lot to unpack in that video. My favorite was that woman with the kitten. Who is she? A groupie or a girl friend, manager of the band? I like the way she gets out and changes a tire in a skirt while all the guys just stay in the van and keep on playing. Then gets back in and resumes rubbing that kitten.

That drop-down step is cool. My A100 has a sliding step but it’s only wide as one door. I wonder if the fixed rear step is removable. So many questions. I also like the weaponized musical instruments.

There is no H in Doug
There is no H in Doug
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr. Frick

I assumed the woman was a singer; it looked like she was scatting.

Mr. Frick
Mr. Frick
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr. Frick

I forgot to mention that this the first time I’ve seen eyebrows on a vehicle.

Brummbaer
Brummbaer
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr. Frick

She’s a traditional “Scat” singer. They fill in sorta like the “doo whop” singers in 50’s rock and roll.

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
1 year ago

Dang, that film was seriously fun to watch; the world sure could use more stuff such as that film and the ads Madness did for the Honda City in the 80s. Is there anything comparable being produced for advertising cars today? There’s the Nissan ad campaign with Brie Lawson which includes a pretty cool ad involving a montage of their SUVs from the earliest Nissan Patrol to the present but AFAIK none of those commercials have lethal violin bows or going one step beyond…

Phyrkrakr
Phyrkrakr
1 year ago

I had never seen those Madness ads before, holy cow.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
1 year ago
Reply to  Phyrkrakr

Yeah, those ads really go one step beyond.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
1 year ago

They were actually pretty middle of the road for their time.

Ncbrit
Ncbrit
1 year ago

I see what you did there. Even brightened up my Grey Day.

Maymar
Maymar
1 year ago

Going about a decade back, and far less violent (unless you’re a piano), but there was OK Go playing one of their songs using a Chevy Sonic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Op9owJiujY

Doug Kretzmann
Doug Kretzmann
1 year ago

thank you for the Madness/Honda City reference, those were a trip too..

https://youtu.be/VAYd2AK53P8

the Honda City became the Honda Jazz sold here as the Honda Fit, which I drove today.. I’d buy a City 😉

There is no H in Doug
There is no H in Doug
1 year ago

I like how the others couldn’t be bothered to get out of the van while the tyre was being changed. Lazy sods.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
1 year ago

It was demonstrating how powerful the jack was. If they got out the van would have flipped.

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