Bedford Trucks

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Bedford Trucks

Bedford Trucks

1913 - 1927
  United Kingdom
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Bedford Trucks
When GM took over Vauxhall in 1926, the grand plan was to manufacture vehicles at the Luton, Bedfordshire facility, and import both Chevrolet and GMC trucks. It was the Depression that put pay to any such notion, with the British government applying a heavy import tax on imported vehicles, and the public also calling for local manufacture, particularly given the unemployment levels.

A decision was made to instead manufacture a local truck, using the excess capacity at the Luton facility. The name "Bedford" was adopted, although it would take until 1930 for the first true Bedford to hit the road. As it would turn out, the change of heart by GM turned out to be a blessing, the company becoming adept at the manufacture of commercial vehicles just in time for the outbreak of World War 2.

With the government suspending all civilain vehicle manufacture during the war years, tThe British Army assigned the construction of the Churchill Tank to Vauxhall, which was completed from drawing board to proving trials in less than 3 months. The company also manufactured military vehicles during the war, then resumed the manufacture of the K, M and O types which had been released prior to the war.

The new "S" Type and following in 1951, this in turn being joined by the four wheel drive "R" Type. Assuring the companies viability was the British Army's decision to adopt the 4 tonner as their vehicle of choice. In 1955 the company opened their Dunstable facility, where the large Bedford trucks were manufactured, while the smaller vans continued to be manufactured at Luton.

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.

The CA van gave way to the CF, and eventually to the Isuzu inspired Midi range. A subsidiary company IBC Vehicles was formed and operates to the present day, though production now is Vauxhall-badge Renaults the Vivaro and Movano range.

Recession during the eighties, and foreign imports took their toll and GM announced its closure. 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. The TL range was adopted by Marshall of Cambridge who continued it for a while before introducing their own SPV design.

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