A VAN dating back more than 60 years and which was used by a toy maker to create a model replica is to go under the auctioneer’s hammer next month in Thornton-le-Dale.

The 1951 Ford Model 8 van could fetch several thousand pounds when it comes up for auction in its original green livery, advertising Quality Carpets by C Pearson.

The van was used by renowned firm Corgi Toys to produce about 2,000 model replicas which were snapped up by enthusiasts around the world.

It is now being sold by DT Mathewson, a family garage which also runs the North Yorkshire Motor Museum in Thornton-le-Dale.

The business has been going for 40 years, 22 of them in Thornton-le-Dale.

Last year, the family took the plunge and launched the auction side of the business which also includes a body shop, showroom and workshop.

The van was regarded as the Ford Escort of its day with many businesses and services using them for delivering goods and food such as butchers’ shops, bakers and the Post Office.

The second owner of the van was Clive Pearson of Clive Pearson carpets in North Frodingham near Driffield who bought it from the original owner in 1986 for use in connection with his business there.

He had it painted in the business livery and two years later he was contacted by Corgi wanting to make a replica model.

It is thought quite a lot of the vans were made but it is estimated that many will have been scrapped and that only between 50 and 100 are still in existence.

David Mathewson, a partner in the Thornton-le-Dale business, said: “It’s quite famous in as much as anyone who has a full Corgi collection will have this van.

“It has got to be the most well-known Ford 8 van in the country because of the model.

“Even the Corgi model is rare and and sought-after, let alone the actual van.”

The van is being auctioned at the museum on Saturday, October 27 and is expected to sell for up to £7,000.