After discovering this 1953 Thames panel on Coronado Island, we towed it home and began cleaning up the chassis and engine compartment. With 46,000 miles since new, and being owned by a garage, the mechanical end of this Thames was in really nice shape. The engine, although tired, was still standard bore, and standard on the crank. We surfaced the head, added new piston rings, a new stainless steel exhaust, wiring harness, and rebuilt the fuel pump, it was back on the road. Our idea was not to fully restore this Thames but rather, to bring it back to the way it looked throughout most of its life.
The photo above was taken this past spring, after we added the correct front bumper, remove the bogus rear bumper, redid the rear apron, painted the wheels and tires, and generally, detailed the snot out of it. Head and park lights are now correct, as are the side mirrors and rear license plate light assembly. Paint job and lettering dates back to the late fifties. All of the address, phone and names shown on the body are still correct and working!
ABOVE, it's too bad that someone cut-out the side windows, but it does make driving around town easier. The rear doors are steel, and rear apron is now correct, with no bumper. BELOW, rear wood has been replaced only down the center, as the main framing was in good shape. We used cherry wood, and stained it to match the rest of the wood (dark green). Dark green paint on rear doors is the original factory color for most Thames panels. As you can see, at one time, this truck was red and black.
|BELOW, from underneath you can see the new wood flooring in place. The rear end and chassis was cleaned of grease and dirt and repainted black. Tires are new 5.25x16-inch Firestone bias-ply tires. Brakes are cable, rear end ratio is a wild 5.50:1!|
|BELOW, the original matching 1172cc/30hp engine was given a clean-up, new cloth wiring harness, new hoses, new Model A battery (positive ground), correct brass ground strap, wire hose clamps, and oil bath air cleaner (since painted black). Generator is a two-brush system matched with the correct voltage regulator.|
|ABOVE, interior was redone somewhat, by repainting the dash, steering wheel and window frames gloss black. Gauges are NOS, pedal pads are fresh, floor mats are new, seats are original upholstery. Front windshield frame was repainted satin black and a new front seal was installed. Door sliding windows are now complete with locks and handles. Thames has been driven about 500 miles since being first found, in a garage on Coronado Island. It is now fully licensed, insured, (everything works!) and back on the road.|