Historic Transport Club


On this page you will I hope in due course find articles on various motoring topics submitted by club members. The editor would be delighted to receive anything you may care to submit, perhaps an interesting rally or run you have been on or indeed have you restored a vehicle recently. If so why not write a few lines with photos if possible and forward to me either by email to"htc@dugdalevms.com" (do not include inverted commas) or burnt onto a CD to Editor, Historic Transport Club C/o 2 Lower Polsham Road, Paignton, TQ3 2AF. (please save photos in jpeg format)


Book Reviews:-

Wooden Bodied Vehicles (Buying, Building, Restoring and Maintaining)

The Buses and Coaches of Bristol & Eastern Coachworks


To get things away I hope you will enjoy the following article. If you find it of interest and wish to read further motor related topics then click Here

Bedford Trucks by Chris Dugdale

In 1903 the first Vauxhall car was built and in 1905 the factory was moved to Luton in Bedfordshire, England. The first factory covered an area of about one and a half acres but by the end of the 1930`s this had increased to thirty nine acres.

The first Bedford Truck was introduced in 1931 and by 1937 over 8000 men were employed in the manufacture of Vauxhall and Bedford vehicles. Many more were indirectly employed in the supply of materials.

The Company warranted the trucks for 12 months from the date of purchase against any defect in materials or workmanship and to replace that which was defective and to deliver to their dealer`s establishment without cost. The purchase price of your new Bedford could be spread over monthly payments by "The Vauxhall & General Finance Corporation Limited", this enabled dealers to arrange a payment plan best suited to their customers requirements.

Many famous firms were using Bedfords by 1937, a few names that will be familiar to you today are Anglo-American Oil , Brown Brothers, Cadbury`s, Chivers, C.W.S., Every Ready Batteries, Express Dairies, Fry`s Chocolate, H.M.V, Huntley & Palmer, Kodak, London County Council, Pickfords, Rose`s Line Juice, Riley Car Company, Sainsbury`s, Standard Telephone and Cables, Southern Railways, Transport & General Workers Union, Waring & Gillow, Youngers Ales.

The Bedford 8 cwt Van had 75 cubic feet of loading space with two double opening doors at the rear, the front was trimmed in leather cloth and doors had locks and winding windows. The body was constructed of seasoned hardwood, all joints being glued and screwed and strongly reinforced at all vital points. the roof is supported on strong hoopsticks and covered in waterproof leather cloth. Motive power was provided by the 12 h.p. six cylinder engine which had a four bearing crankshaft with torsional vibration damper. The engine was insulated completely from the frame by rubber mountings. Overall length was 13ft 1 inches, 5 ft wide and a height of 5ft 8 inches. The Radiator Shell, Bumpers, Hub Caps and Door handles were Chrome Plated, to the front of the radiator there was a stoneguard in silverlac, the roof was black, wings and valance in black enamel, body and bonnet in brown primercoat. The Van could be supplied ready finished in cellulose paint for a small extra charge.

The Bedford Ambulance Chassis was designed with specially soft springing, low pressure tyres and hydraulic shock absorbers front and rear. This de-luxe ambulance had a fully domed roof with a body panelled in silver finished steel and aluminium. The two full width rear door opened flush with the body sides and could be fastened to the side panels.

The Bedford 3 ton Short Chassis formed an excellent tractor unit for use with an articulated trailer. The small turning circle of 39 feet was a great advantage with this type vehicle. Many leading trailers manufacturers of the day designed trailers specifically for use with this Bedford 3 ton chassis.

Many older readers will well remember Bedford Coaches, especially the postwar OB model, the writer has many fond memories of travelling on these as a child. This chassis was designed expressly for passenger work, with semi-forward control and a wheelbase of 167 inches. It was available for both 20 and 26 seats. The coach illustrated is a Duple "Vista" with 26 seats. This coachbuilder produced a wide range of standard coachwork for the Bedford Passenger Chassis, there being six body models covering practically every need in light bus and coach work. The power was supplied by the 27 h.p. six cylinder engine, vacuum servo brakes, grouped chassis lubrication, heavy duty four speed gearbox and a full floating rear axle.

For the Building and Delivery Trades a number of Dropside Lorries were manufactured from 30 cwt to 3 tons, varying in length from 16ft to 21ft with unladen weights from 33 cwt to 48 cwt.. Also Tippers from 30 cwt to 2 tons were available.

By 1937 there was a range of 50 standard models, the Company set out to produce a body for practically every business need, however, not everything could be catered for and Bedford Dealers were glad to supply designs for a body especially built to suit a firms business. An example of this is the Shell Petrol Tanker, Fire Engines were another popular line.

I hope you will find this brief outline of Vauxhall Bedford Commercial Vehicles from the year 1937 to have been of interest.

Copyright Chris Dugdale 2008 - 2016