The History of Bedford trucks

Dansk Deutsch

Bedford was a subsidiary company of Vauxhall Motors which was the provider of commercial vehicles for the UK and export markets.
The origin of Vauxhall Motors can be traced to the year 1857 when Alexander Wilson founded the Vauxhall Iron Works and set up business as a marine engineer in Wandsworth Road, Vauxhall, London. By the turn of the century, Wilson had left the business and the remaining board directors became interested in cars, after the company had developed a petrol engined launch - one of the first ever made. In 1903 a 5 h.p. single cylinder car was presented. In order to expand the company, it was necessary to move out of London and a suitable site was bought in Luton, Bedfordshire in 1905. The company adopted the Griffin as its badge which is still in use a century later. Itīs a funny thing, that Scania in Sweden at the same time adopted the Griffin, the old badge for the Swedish landscape Scania.
The car production was growing, and in November 1925 Vauxhall was acquired by General Motors. Chevrolet trucks had been on sale in Britain since 1923, but the high import tax made them too expensive. In 1925 GM set up an operation at Hendon to prepare imported GM cars and Chevrolet and GMC trucks. The country was hit of the world-wide recession, so there was public hostility to imported products with over two million people unemployed in the UK so it was decided to build a complete British truck using the free workers at Vauxhall's Luton factory. In 1930 and 1931 the last Chevrolet and GMC trucks and vans was assembled and the number one real Bedford built. The "W" series featured 30 cwt trucks and a 2 ton version. There was also a bus version offering 14 seats or 20 on the longer 2 ton chassis. In 1937 Bedford sold 30,000 pcs. During the war production of civilian vehicles was suspended, like it was in many other firms. The British Army had lost many of its tanks at Dunkirk, and Vauxhall was given the task of building the Churchill, which was completed from drawing board to proving trials in fewer than 3 months. Bedford brought out the QL 4x4 for military use, the most numerous British marque.
Production resumed after World War Two using the K, M and O types introduced in 1939, and in 1951 the new S type was launched, and later it's 4x4 relative the R type. This was chosen by the Armed Forces and was to be the standard 4 ton truck for many years, finally being followed by the MK and MJ types.

Bedford type S
Another milestone in 1955 was the opening of the Dunstable truck plant, all large commercials were built there until the transfer to the new Halewood factory. m

Bedford type J
Normal controls were not neglected with the A type appearing in 1953 and followed by the D and J types. These were still being sold for export well into the seventies when all British trucks were virtually all forward control types.
Recession during the eighties, and foreign imports forced GM to close the manufacture down. The Dunstable plant was sold to AWD, who continued the MJ and TL ranges for a couple of years, chiefly to export markets. With no large contract coming forward from the Ministry of Defence (It went to Leyland) AWD itself was forced to close.

Bedford type TK
Bedford gallery, thumbnailed
Type W Churchill tank Type OL
  Type TM Type J
Type S Type TK Type J
Type TM Type A Type TK


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