Ford BB Van - The Iconic Jones's Van
.With festive season in full swing, this December we’re keeping it mega nostalgic with a well known TV famous vehicle: The Jones’s Van from Dad’s Army - our last ‘Vehicle of the Month’ this year!
We’ve had the pleasure of seeing it live for the first time at the Classic Motor Show, NEC last month. To us, learning the story of such a recognisable vehicle was like reading your favourite actor’s biography. We couldn’t help but ask its current owner - Dad’s Army Museum to help us put a few words about its upbringing to share with you.
The iconic Jones’s Van is synonymous with the Dad’s Army TV series. Built in 1935 this Ford BB Van (badged as a Fordson) became the main mode of transport for members of Walmington-on-Sea platoon as well as the delivery van of J.Jones the butcher.
The vehicle made its first appearance in 1969 in the first episode of the third series: The Armoured Might of Lance Corporal Jones. Modifications for use as troop transport included the used of marble slabs to protect from land mines and the familiar holes in the side and roof to allow rifles to shoot out. In one episode the a was converted to run on gas!
The van itself was originally discovered by the BBC in an unwanted and dilapidated state in a street in Streatham, London and underwent considerable amounts of restoration before the vehicle could be used in the TV series. When Dad’s Army ended, the van was sold to a Ford Dealer in Finchley before it was sold at auction to the Patrick Motor Museum in Birmingham in 1990, where it remained for the next 22 years.
In 1979, the van featured in episodes of the TV Series Dick Barton-Special Agent, based on the original 1940s BBC Radio series. Boards were placed onto the sides to hide the J.Jones livery although it was still identifiable from the distinctive gold paint on the cab and the original number plate.
In 2012, the van was acquired by the Thetford Dad’s Army Museum at auction for £63,000, considerably above the guide price of £20,000-£30,000! He museum was grateful to the assistance of the two local families who provided financial assistance Prior to its ‘homecoming’, the can visited Thetford on many occasions and featured in various documentaries about Dad’s Army, including Don’t Panic! - The Dad’s Army Story; when Victoria Wood could be seen behind the wheel in and around Thetford. The van is now displayed at the Charles Burrell Museum in Thetford and regularly attends events during the course of the year.
Next time it’s out, you’ll be able to view its updated story and perhaps restoration photos on one of our Facts Discs. Until then, check out Dad’s Army Museum 2023 Tour Dates. The tickets went live today!
And As Jones would say, “Don’t panic!”
You can purchase your very own model van from the museum’s online shop.