Collectable Ford and Fordson BBE and 7V models

Posted by Chris Graham on 21st June 2024

Mike Neale takes a nostalgic look at a selection of collectable, shelf-sized Ford and Fordson BBE and 7V models.

Ford and Fordson

Ford and Fordson: Tri-ang Minic forward control box van toy closely resembles the Ford Model BBE.

Ford’s BBE was introduced in December 1934, a forward control lorry derived from the normal control Model BB, powered by a sidevalve V8 engine.  It had a squarish cab with a single-piece windscreen, a sliding roof panel and large headlamps mounted either side of a grille with vertical bars.  A two-ton truck and 340cu. ft. van were offered with a wheelbase of 118in.  A six-wheeler was introduced in 1935.

This was followed by the Fordson 7V (7 signifying 1937, its year of introduction) with a new tapering grille like that of the E83W van, with a central vertical bar and horizontal slats.  Large headlights were now mounted further out, above the wings.  There were two-ton (with single rear wheels) and three-ton variants with either a 115in. or 143½in. wheelbase.  From 1939, four and five-ton models were available in both SWB and LWB form.  Engines were the 3622cc 30bhp V8 or, later, a four-cylinder 24bhp option (until 1946) or a Perkins P6 six-cylinder diesel.

Ford and Fordson

Ambulance version of the Minic van, which had hinged rear doors.

From 1939/40 the 7V was branded as Fordson Thames.  Many were used by the National Fire Service during WW2.  Wartime built models generally had smaller headlights and a utilitarian rectangular grille with a mesh infill.  Civilian production resumed in 1945, postwar vehicles having grilles with vertical slats instead of mesh plus a chrome surround, and larger headlights again.  Production continued until 1949.

Tri-ang Minic
Lines Bros’ Tri-ang Minic clockwork tinplate forward control toy trucks from the immediate post-war era were not specifically identified as a particular make, but closely resembled the Ford BBE, with a square cab and headlamps either side of the grille.  Earlier ones had a keyhole in the passenger side to wind up the mechanism, whilst later versions were ‘push and go.’  The first were issued in 1949, continuing to the late 1950s.  Body styles included tipper, box van, shutter van, ambulance, dropside, tanker, dust cart, breakdown truck and cement mixer.  Scale was around 1/40.

Ford and Fordson

Tri-ang Minic toy dust cart.

Sun Motor Co.
These whitemetal 7V lorries were sold as built models or kits, with prewar, wartime and postwar type grilles offered.  Several different body styles were produced, a box van in LNER, Castrol and Ford liveries, Imperial Airways dropside, both long and short wheelbase tippers in Tarmac livery, tanker in Pool Petroleum and Pratts Petroleum liveries, six-wheel Shell-BP Aviation Service airfield tanker, Pickfords tractor unit and trailer, breakdown truck in Ford Recovery livery and ERA transporter.  Scale was stated as 1/50, but I think maybe closer to 1/45.

Ford and Fordson

Sun Motor Co. Fordson 7V box van in Castrol livery with postwar grille.


Ford and Fordson

6-wheel airfield tanker, Shell-BP Aviation Service, by Sun Motor Co.


Ford and Fordson

LNER Sun Motor Co. 7V with postwar grille (photo: Vectis

ASAM Models
1/48 scale white metal models of civilian and military 7Vs were produced, with both prewar and wartime grilles.  Versions included a yellow prewar Wimpey tipper, a wartime RAF tipper and a wartime olive green army water tanker.  See, although the 7Vs are no longer available.

ASAM Models Ford 7V 4×4 tipper in Wimpey livery with prewar grille.

Fire Brigade Models
Paul Slade of Fire Brigade Models produced several fire variants of the Fordson 7V in resin to 1/48 scale with the prewar grille, sold both as built models and kits.  An Escape Carrying Unit with a wheeled escape ladder and a trailer pump was issued in grey National Fire Service livery, as was a version with a Barton Pump on the front, without the trailer.

Fire Brigade Models NFS Fordson 7V Escape Carrying Unit with Barton pump.

There was also a Heavy Unit with roof mounted ladders, a box van Hose Laying Unit, and a Mobile Dam Unit, again in grey NFS livery. Models were also issued in red as used by Middlesex Fire Brigade.  Some of these are still available, see for more details.

Fordson 7V Hose Laying Unit, Middlesex Fire Brigade, by Fire Brigade Models.

Phoenix Bygone Age Transport 43 (& others)
This was a 1/43 scale white metal and resin Fordson 7V 3-ton dropside, with a choice of grilles, mine having the prewar grille and a driver figure.  A similar model was produced by Superscale.  Also in 1/43 scale was a SWB 7V dropside resin kit from Locotec produced in 1994, the rear dropside body being higher than on the Bygone Age model.

Phoenix Bygone Age Transport 43 Fordson 7V dropside with prewar grille.

Otero Models
Spanish model manufacturer Otero Scale Models produce a range of 1/43 resin models of classic commercial vehicles sold in Spain.  These included a Fordson 7V truck, the real ones being imported and distributed by Ford Motor Ibérica in Barcelona.  Issued in 2021, three different variants were produced, solid roof, closed roof and open roof, in a limited production run of 80 units of the ready-built models, with the option of a fixed front axle or with operating steering.  They were also sold as kits.  See

Ruby Toys
Ruby Toys was set up by John Hope in 2013, producing limited run Dinky-style diecast models of early postwar commercial vehicles.  These included a 1/50 scale 7V dropside with the postwar grille.  There was no glazing or interior.  Only one version was issued in maroon and light brown. However, Promod Diecast, who now own the castings since John passed away, plan to issue it in new colours later this year.

Promotional 7V by Lledo for Howdens Joinery.

Lledo days gone
A simple ‘Fit the box’ size diecast 7V, roughly around 1/64 scale, with the postwar grille, was introduced in 1999 – without doubt the cheapest Ford 7V models you’ll find.  An SWB dropside lorry, with or without a canvas tilt, and a crane lorry were issued in the standard range in many liveries.  Various promotional models were made, including one for Howdens Joinery.  The casting was also used for the Classic Trucks and Vans magazine partwork series issued by Hachette in a few different liveries, Castrol, Green Shield Stamps, and LNER.

Lledo Days Gone 7V with canvas tilt in Green Shield Stamps livery, for Hachette.

This feature comes from the latest issue of Classic & Vintage Commercials, and you can get a money-saving subscription to this magazine simply by clicking HERE


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