Jeff Cooke's 1948 Thames Panel
(from Volume 19, Issue 234)

While Jeff Cooke has built cool cars himself (including the tangelo pearl 1948 Anglia which we featured on the cover of Issue 173 about five years ago), the 1948 Thames 1/4 Ton Panel Truck you see here was built by Jack McCallum. Jeff told us that Jack was one of the best body men he has ever seen in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, in the late 1980s. The car was finished in 1990, and first shown at the Detroit Autorama. It stayed in Canada until 2006, when good friend Carl Gilrod and his son, Gary, drove up and bought it. Carl then did a makeover on the Thames, which included new paint. Jack Harrington of Winter Haven stripped the complete truck, then applied the flawless Fiesta Red paint job. At the same time it also received a new interior, plus a set of new Billet Specialties rims.

Jeff had his eye on the truck ever since Carl brought it back from Canada, and drove it to the Cruise-In that takes place in Plant City, Florida. Jeff recently attended the Southeast Street Rod Nationals in Tampa during October of 2013 with his ‘48 Anglia, and since Carl was there too Jeff figured he would see if Carl wanted to do some trading. He did, and they both parted ways happy, and with a different ride.

The body on the Thames is one of a kind, made using all steel, including the back doors. What makes it so unique is that it was modified and improved by utilizing Anglia doors, which are 10 inches longer than regular Thames doors. This makes the truck 10 inches longer than stock, giving it not only a unique look but also more room to stretch out inside. The body is chopped two inches at the windshield and left regular height at the rear of the doors, which gives the truck a raked look. It also has the stock dash with a tilt-out windshield. Basically, the car is an Anglia from the doors frontward, and from the back of doors rearward it is a Thames panel truck. Or as Jeff calls it, the best of both worlds!

The frame is custom made out of 1-1/2 x 3 inch tubing. It utilizes Mustang II independent tubular front suspension with custom disc brakes, and has Aldan coil-over shocks on all four corners. The engine is a 355 cubic inch Chevy with a 4-bolt main block, steel crank, pink rods, forged pistons, Manley heads, roller rockers, and is topped off with a 600cfm Edlebrock carburetor. What looks like old school mechanical fuel injectors poking through the hood is actually a carburetor cover, made by “Big Daddy” Don Garlits. The exhaust flows through custom made fenderwell ceramic coated headers, and a set of stainless steel mufflers. A B&M shifter manages the 350 Turbo Hydromatic transmission which is equipped with a shift kit, while a 2.73:1 gear set is housed in the 9-inch Ford rear end. Other details include a Suspension Racing radiator, dual electric fuel pumps, 4-point roll bar, and 12 gallon fuel cell.

The Thames was built to be a driver. It has 30,000 miles on it so far, and Jeff plans on putting many happy miles on the odometer himself in the future. He also told us that he already has plenty of plans to tweak the truck and make it better....but wow, what a nice start he already has! CN