Ford Thames Trader models for collectors

Posted by Chris Graham on 26th July 2023

Following on from his recent look at Thames Trader toys, Mike Neale considers the later scale models made for adult collectors.

Ford Thames Trader

Corgi Golden Oldies Ford Thames Trader, Heinz 57 Varieties.

Corgi produced a new 1/50 scale diecast Thames Trader casting which appeared in many different guises over several years.  This had the Mk.2 cab, usually with ‘TRADER’ lettering across the middle of the grille (although on some early models this was not applied). Earlier issues generally tended to be rather more basic than the later ones.  

Ford Thames Trader

Corgi box van in Slumberland livery.

A typical early issue was a box van in Corgi’s Golden Oldies range, finished in red and yellow Heinz 57 Varieties livery; Model No. 19303, issued to celebrate Corgi’s 40th anniversary in 1996. The grille was painted silver but without any badges or lettering. The model came with separate, chromed mirrors for the purchaser to fit, but there were no windscreen wipers. A blue, Ever Ready batteries version appeared in the same series, No. 30302.

Ford Thames Trader

Corgi’s Lucozade box van had a simulated roller shutter.

Another box van with the same level of detail was in red Slumberland livery, No. 30301, also a 1996 issue.

The following year, a yellow Lucozade van was issued which now had a ‘Thames’ badge on the front and ‘Trader’ lettering across the centre of the grille, with a tampo-printed representation of sliding side shutters, model No. 30306. Still no wipers, though.  

Ford Thames Trader

Pickfords version of Corgi’s box van with cast-in wipers.

A Robson’s of Carlisle box van, N0. 30304, also appeared in 1997, with similar detailing, as did a Chipperfields Circus box van for Royal Bengal Tigers. That came as part of a four-vehicle Chipperfields set, with a Morris Minor pick-up, Land Rover 109in Series 2 and an AEC Merryweather Ergomatic-cabbed fire engine, set No. 31703.

Ford Thames Trader

Wynn’s-liveried Corgi dropside.

The dark blue and white Pickfords box van, No. 30309, of 1998 had wipers added to the casting above the windscreen.  No. 30501 was a Pickfords articulated flatbed carrying a container.

Also with cast-in wipers was the dropside truck in bright red and black Wynns livery, which came in a set with a Wynns Morris Minor van, set No. 31006, from 1997.  

A different body variation was the elliptical tanker in blue and orange Gulf Oil livery, N0. 30401, issued in 1997.

Ford Thames Trader

London Brick Co SWB tipper by Corgi.

A cute four-wheel tipper in London Brick Co livery, No. 30102, from 2000, with wipers as part of the casting, came in a London Brick branded box. Another version of the four-wheel tipper was in WH Malcolm Ltd livery, a model of one of the construction firm’s preserved real vehicles (registered EDS 686B), which came in a Heavy Haulage set with a modern (P-reg) Scania low-loader, set No. CC12210. This had the cast-in windscreen wipers and also wing top-mounted circular indicators.

In Corgi’s On the Move range, issued in 2004, there was a Thames Trader Luton van in Robson’s of Carlisle livery, CC11002. This had photo-etched wipers, an upgrade compared to the earlier box van in the same livery. There was also a GW Jeakins Luton Van, CC11003, from 2005.

Ford Thames Trader

This WH Malcolm SWB tipper is modelled on a real, preserved truck.

Corgi produced a four-wheel flatbed truck in classic Crimson Lake and Cream British Railways livery, somewhat evoking the old Spot-On Thames Trader artic. Model CC11001 was a Premium Edition issue which, in addition to the photo-etched windscreen wipers, also had the wing-top indicators. Full-house on this one!

That’s just a selection of the Corgi Thames Trader models produced, but gives an indication of the variations available.

LLedo Vanguards
Not to be confused with these Corgi 1/50 models are the Thames Traders produced in the Lledo Vanguards range, beginning in 1996, initially made in England. These were to the smaller and less popular scale of 1/64, seemingly just to allow them to fit into the same size boxes as the Lledo Vanguards 1/43 scale cars. 

Vanguards’ 1/64 box van in Atora livery.

Lledo was acquired by Corgi in 1999, so Thames Traders in both 1/50 and 1/64 scales were being produced by Corgi concurrently for a while, although the Lledo name was still used for the Vanguards range until 2004, when the Corgi name replaced it. By then they were being made in China. The Vanguards range continues to this day under the Corgi brand, no longer with any 1/64 scale models.

Pickfords box van from Vanguards in 1/64 scale.

The Lledo models also had the Mk.2 cab design. They were fairly simple models, with the one-piece front lights, grille and bumper looking a bit basic, but they did have wipers cast in and the ‘TRADER’ lettering across the grille. There were many different liveries produced, and body styles included flatbed trucks, dropsides, tankers and box vans, all four-wheelers.

Vanguards’ 1/64 tanker in Cleveland livery.

A typical example is the box van in blue Atora livery, VA6005, issued in 1996. Like Corgi, they also did one in dark blue and white Pickfords livery, VA6003, and yellow Lucozade livery, VA6004.

A number of tanker liveries were produced, such as VA9002 in dark blue, red and black Cleveland Motor Spirit livery.

Italian artisan model company ABC Brianza made a lovely 1/43 scale resin model of a Ford Thames Trader van in the red livery of Ferrari Maranello Concessionaires Ltd of Wellesley Road, London W4, Model ABC64 was limited to 500 pieces. This was also a Mk.2 and was modelled on a real vehicle registered APR 654B. Separate ramps allowed a suitable Ferrari model to be loaded into the back. The model originally sold for £495, but you’ll struggle to find one, nevertheless.

ABC Brianza 1/43 Ferrari Maranello Concessionnaires van.

You can, however, buy a 1/43 Thames Trader Mk.2 resin kit produced by Scalelink. There is a four-wheel tipper and a six-wheel tanker version. Built-versions (as pictured) can be made to order for an additional cost. Scalelink offers a wide range of model railway rolling stock and accessories as well vehicles, and is run by Bob Wyatt, who had set up W&T Manufacturing back in 1973 to produce white metal kits, so has a long history in the field. See for details.

Built version of Scalelink’s 1/43 Thames Trader tipper kit.


Pantechnicon in Robsons of Carlisle livery, from Corgi.


Corgi Premium Edition BR flatbed with indicators and photo-etched wipers.


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


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