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Fordson Roadtest - dated March 1949.

Read about a roadtester's impressions of the Fordson 10cwt when the van was new

magazine cover showing the E83W roadtest van
The following road test was found in the March 1949 issue of Measham magazine, which looks to be a trade magazine of the time. The reporter tested what seems to be a slightly earlier example of a standard Fordson 10cwt than the 1949 test date may suggest. Reference is made to central throttle pedals (which I thought had long gone by 1949 on UK vehicles, hmm) and floor mounted handbrake, which by 1949 had been replaced with the umbrella type that is fitted under the dash panel on later examples. Many export vans and pickups however continued with central throttle pedals til production ended. The van tested here ran on 18" rims, pickups however often came on wider section 16" wheels.

I hope you enjoy reading this period roadtest for our favourite little van, the comments regarding the Fordsons 'exceptional liveliness' in acceleration will bring a smile to anyone who drives these classics vans and pickups nowadays!

One of the best sellers in the Fordson range of commercial vehicles produced at Dagenham, the 10cwt van, is a very attractive and economical proposition for light delivery work. Like all Ford products, it is backed by first-class service facilities, and all components when due for overhaul are reasonably cheap and easy to replace. The engine is the Company's well known 10h.p., or 1172cc four cylinder side valve unit with a cast alloy steel crankshaft and camshaft, the former being carried on three bearings of 1.623 in. diameter, providing a total bearing surface of 22.69 sq. ins.

The drive is taken through a 7.5in diameter single dry plate clutch to a three speed gearbox, provided with synchromesh between the middle and top ratios, and thence by the well known Ford system of radius rod and torque tube to the three-quarter floating rear axle, which has a final drive ratio of 6.83 to 1. Suspension is of the Ford transverse leaf type damped by large double-acting Armstrong shock absorbers, and the tyre equipment is 500 by 18 mounted on pressed steel wheels.
The electrical equipment is of the 6 volt type with constant voltage control, and the side-lamps are incorporated in the head-lamp casings. Direction indicators are fitted as standard equipment. The petrol tank is mounted on the left-hand side of the frame and has a capacity of 7 gallons.

Vehicle Details
MAKER: Ford Motor Co. Ltd, Dagenham

PRICE: 271

ENGINE: 4 cylinder side valve, bore 63.5mm; stroke 92.5mm; cubic capacity 1172cc; maximum bhp 30.1 at 4,000 rpm

TRANSMISSION: Borg and Beck 7.5 in dia. single-plate clutch; 3 speed synchromesh gearbox; enclosed torque tube with radius rods transmission to spiral bevel-driven rear axle - ratio 6.83 to 1

OVERALL GEAR RATIOS: Top 6.83; Second 12.06; First 20.98;

SUSPENSION: Transverse leaf at front and rear

BRAKING: Girling mechanical

DIMENSIONS: Wheelbase 7ft 6in; track, front 4ft 2.5in; rear 4ft 6in; overall length 13ft 1.5in; overall width 5ft 4in.

TYRES: 500 x 18

ACCELERATION: 0-30mph through gears - 15.2 seconds; 10-30mph in top gear - 17.6 seconds


BRAKING: 30mph to rest - 39ft

Vehicle Details
Providing both lively and economical performance, the Fordson 10-cwt van is a vehicle which is in eager demand by a wide variety of traders for light delivery work. As this type of work is invariably carried out in the main in, and around, large towns and cities, this class of vehicle needs to be capable of rapid getaways in traffic and also easy to manoeuvre. The Fordson is very well planned in these respects. For a power unit it has the very widely used Ford 1172cc four-cylinder side valve engine, which is rated at 10h.p. and develops 30.1 bhp. at 4000 rpm., with a maximum torque of 46.4 lbs./ft. at 2,400 rpm.

The van is of the semi-forward control type, this arrangement being facilitated by offsetting the engine and transmission line to the nearside of the chassis. On a compact wheelbase of 7ft 6in, no less that 120 cu.ft. of loading space is provided, while the turning circle is only 36ft which, of course, is another asset for town delivery work.

Pleasing Lines
As the accompanying illustrations show, Ford's have avoided the usual box-like appearance so often found with this class of van and have given the bodywork quite pleasing contours without any infringement on loading space. Furthermore, the wide side panels give full scope for attractive lettering and display work by the user.

I found on taking over the van that, as is invariably the case with Ford products, the engine started almost immediately from cold even after the van has been standing in the open all night in wintry conditions, and soon warmed up to its job with little use of the choke.

The space provided in the cab is quite adequate and comfortable even for a long-legged person, and the controls are nicely placed although I would prefer to have the accelerator pedal in the more usual position on the extreme right. On this van it is between and slightly below the clutch and footbrake pedals, a position which was presumably forced upon the designers through the lines of the body and cab tapering in towards the bonnet in this form of semi-forward control layout.

Steering is fairly high geared and makes the vehicle very easy to manoeuvre in congested streets. Braking I also found was particularly good, comparatively light pedal pressure being sufficient to bring the van to a very smooth stop in less than 40ft from 30mph. The brakes are cable operated and the shoes operate in 11in diameter drums on all four wheels. The handbrake functions on the rear wheels only, and the lever is placed horizontally alongside the right hand side of the driving seat.

In the timed tests of acceleration I found that my initial impressions of exceptional liveliness were amply borne out. From rest to 30 mph through the gears could be attained in just over 15 seconds, while to reach the same speed in top gear from only 10 mph required a bare 18 seconds. This lively acceleration is, of course, assisted by the fairly low final drive ratio of 6.83 to 1.

Robust Chassis Layout
The chassis is of simple but robust design, and consists of two deep I-section main members braced with five sustantial main members. This is mounted on the familiar system of Ford transverse leaf springs which are damped by large double-acting Armstrong shock absorbers.

With this arrangement of springing and damping the vehicle is very stable, well able to deal with any reasonable degree of overload which might be imposed on the van, and at the same time is sufficiently 'soft' to ensure safe carriage of fragile goods.

Also in keeping with Ford practice, the transmission from the gearbox is taken through an enclosed torque tube with radius rods. According to the class of work on which the van is employed, fuel consumption averages from 25 to 30mpg, which indicates that the Fordson is quite an economical vehicle to operate.

Since it was first introduced, the van has undergone very little modification. A noticeable one during the past two years is an alteration to the rear wings. These now sweep outwards at the rear and taper into the body, an alteration which has proved very effective in stopping mud from being splashed on to the rear quarter panels.

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