«Bedford» vehicles are among the most famous English trucks, although neither by appearance nor by singularity of construction, they never stood out among all the other vehicles. In practice, they were universal and undemanding workhorses which could be found anywhere in the British Isles and around the world.
The first years of the brand of Bedford were associated with the well known engineering and ironworks company Vauxhall, founded in the middle of 19th century in the London's block of houses named Vauxhall. In 1905 the company moved to the town of Luton, Bedfordshire, where it began producing vehicles. In the years of the 20-ies, difficult for the company, the American concern of GM which for a long time has been intended to establish a beachhead in the UK for an invasion of the European market, got interest in the Vauxhall Company and in 1925 made it a British subsidiary. Plans to build business in the European market also covered the sector is trucks. The activities in this direction began with importing of Chevrolet trucks to the UK, and their assembly began at the factory in Hendon in the late 20's.
In 1931, the U.S. government decided to expand the country's own production of light trucks that are adapted to the requirements of the UK market. Their name became Bedford – named after the neighboring town and the whole County where the factory was located. The new production became the truck department of Vauxhall. Reliable and fast trucks of Bedford had a great success and soon became popular in all types of cargo delivery.
The first appeared two-ton trucks WHG and WLG with a wheelbase of 3330 mm and 3990 respectively, which cost ultimately cheap - only 198 pounds and soon were followed by the manufactured light vans VY and VX, 1.5-ton series of WS and 3-ton trucks WT. They were installed a 6-cylinder overhead valve gasoline engine (3177 cm3, 44 hp, a series of WT - 64 hp) and a rare at that time in Europe, four-speed synchronized gearbox.
The first Bedford truck of own design appeared in 1934. It was a light commercial vehicle BYC with capacity of 600 kg recognized by contemporaries as the best commercial truck in its class.
The company had just to finalize the deployment of series production of trucks when it was made to hurry up to remake them into military options. The principle model became the "O" series based on which the trucks models of OXD, OYD, and OWS with a payload of 1.5-5 tones were produced. They received a specific flat front facing, which has become a kind of identification mark. The most famous version of the Army Series "M" was the light pick-up MWD with capacity of 750 kg. In 1941 Bedford produced a 3-ton model of QLD (4x4) with a cab over the engine and 8-speed transmission.
By the end of the war the assembly lines of Bedford resumed the production of pre-war designed civilian vehicles.
The first new design model - the so-called "Big Bedford" - a 7-ton truck series «S» with a semi-bonneted configuration and with a very elegant for its time, rounded cab with chrome radiator grille appeared in 1950. Three years later this range was offered in four versions: on-board model of SSZ and SLZ, respectively, with a wheelbase of 2.9 and 4.0 m, tractor SA with base 2.2 m, four-wheel drive truck R (4x4). In 1953 a series of "O" was replaced by a new "TA" range of bonnet type and 76-strong engine series consisting of multiple models with load capacities from 1.25 to 5MT.
In 1952, there took place an event which was seemingly unremarkable for Bedford - a specially designed light commercial truck CA with semi-bonneted configuration and load capacity of 500-750 kg was first introduced into its program. It was distinguished by a peculiar appearance. The car was a huge success and was produced for about 20 years.
In 1958, the bonnet a series of "TA" has been replaced by a new «TJ», the design of which was made in the same style.
In 1960 to replace a series of «S»there was presented a brand new range of "TC" with capacity of 3.7 tons, shifted forward and low-lying extended cab. In its rear there was placed an engine of 98-138 hp.
Heavy trucks of "KM" series of the full weight of up to 24 tons and with a new diesel engine of 143 hp was first introduced into the Bedford program in 1966. Two years later there came the variant with the wheel formula 6x2, and in 1972 - the tractor to operate road trains of total mass of 32 tons. By this time the construction of British trucks began more and more influenced by the internal co-operation among the members of the GM group, including the European branch of Opel and partly owned by it Japan company Isuzu.
Parallel to the continued improvement of light trucks, and based on popular small cars of Vauxhall Viva the company began making vans and pickups "HA" with carrying capacity of 300-500 kg in 1964.
In 1969 the famous series of "HA" was replaced with the«CF» range with a payload from 900 kg to 1.75 tons. In the early 80s there appeared a new series of «CF2» consisting of the four models having total mass 2.3-3.5MT, an integral body, side sliding door and substantially redesigned appearance.
In 1980 a series of "TC" was added to the range of «TL», distinguished by a more stringent design and a lift-up cab over the engine. In 1986, the most powerful representative of the range - three-axle truck TL2440 (6x4) and total weight of 24 tons - was one of the last vehicles which bore the brand-mark of «Bedford». But despite the economic lag of Great Britain by 1980 the position of Bedford remained fairly prosperous. There had been manufactured 2 million trucks and 1 million various wagons. Up to 70% of total output of the company has been to export into over 100 countries all over the world. Bedford still remained one of the leading manufacturers of trucks in the country.
In 1986 they had to take a painful decision for Bedford to leave the heavy-duty truck market. In November 1987 a plant in Dansteyble, together with the rights for the manufactured range of trucks was acquired by the company of «All Wheel Drive Ltd». It managed to continue production of 2 - and 3-axle trucks series «TL» and "TM" under the brand-name of «AWD» just for over 6 years, after which it went bankrupt. In 1992 the brand of Bedford was revived by the Marshall Engineering Group of Cambridge which made the production of trucks its new domain of activity.