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Bedford vehicles was part of the Vauxhall Motors group, which in turn was a British subsidiary of General Motors. Bedford vehicles was established in 1930 and began constructing commercial vehicles. Among the products that Bedford vehicles produced are the Bedford Rascal, Bedford Beagle, Bedford CF Van, Bedford Midi, Bedford Astramax, Bedford Brava and Bedford SB.
The history behind Bedford vehicles is quite interesting given the relationship that General Motors has with Vauxhall Motors in Britain. Bedford motors really got started as a result of a worldwide recession that began in 1929. There was great hostility in Britain regarding imported products with many millions of people that were unemployed in the UK at the time. General Motors had been importing vehicles from North America into Britain however as a result of the above hostility General Motors decided to build a complete British truck using capacity at Vauxhall’s plants. Production of the Bedford vehicles began in 1930 and 1931 with the W series featuring 30 CWT trucks and also a two-ton version. In addition there was also a bus offering 14 seats or 20 seats on a longer two-ton chassis. The sale of Bedford vehicles had reached 30,000 vehicles by 1937.
During World War II many vehicle Company’s suspended their production of civilian vehicles in favor of producing vehicles for the war effort. Bedford vehicles and Vauxhall were no different with Bedford focusing on the QL 4x4 for military use, which became one of the most numerous British marques.
After the war Bedford vehicles focused on initially the trusted K, M and O types introduced in 1939 which later gave way to the new S type in 1951 and later on the relative R type which also had a 4x4 capability. The new R type was chosen by the Armed Forces and became the standard four ton truck for many years.
Bedford vehicles introduced the CA Van and later on the CF Van. These vans eventually evolved into the Isuzi range of vehicles. Again, recession took its toll on many companies during the 1980s and foreign imports took their toll, limiting sales of Bedford vehicles to other countries. GM announced the closure of the Bedford vehicles plat and without a large contract from the military defence, Bedford vehicles could no longer produce civilian or military products.
Over the years Bedford vehicles produced over 40 different vehicle models. During production years from 1931 to 1965 the Bedford nomenclature that was used indicated the model, the version, the subtype and the tonnage. For example the first letter indicated the model of the vehicle, the second letter indicated the version of the vehicle, the third letter indicated the subtype of the vehicle and the number indicated the tonnage. The letter V, in the third position indicated a complete factory built Van body. In addition to Bedford vans, Bedford vehicles also manufactured articulated vehicles, buses and coaches, drop side trucks, flat platform, end Tipper and military vehicles.