Two of more interesting lots from our  June Industrial Collective Auction are two Bedford J-Type pick up trucks. Paul Cooper shares his thoughts:

The Bedford J-Type pick-up truck seemed a bit old fashioned from the very start. The first one actually rolled off the production line in 1958 but the model had the look of something from an earlier time.

It would never be a great success in a UK that was just about to enter the swinging sixties. The AA did buy some, as did Post Office Telephones – and so too did the famous Lancashire pie company Holland’s, indeed in those parts the Bedfords were known as ‘Holland’s pie vans’.

It was however a very different story so far as the export market was concerned. Buyers in New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan, South Africa and elsewhere were untroubled by the fact that that the Bedford’s style was not cutting edge. They liked its price, power, reliability, durability and ease of maintenance. Furthermore, using the vehicle in warm, dry climates, they would not be troubled by what would be the Bedford’s great weakness in damp old England – susceptibility to rust.

Fast-forward six decades and everything has changed. Classic vehicle enthusiasts, commercial companies and others looking for transportation that will attract attention, just love the style of the Bedford J. Unfortunately surviving British examples are quite rare but thankfully our friends in far-flung parts of the world have been able to help. Bedfords have survived in considerable numbers abroad and they are now being brought back.

Both of the Bedford pick-ups that are now gracing the Eddisons Saleroom Centre in Scunthorpe have been brought back home from abroad, albeit in the case of the oldest example not very far abroad – just Southern Ireland.

VZ 3797 was first registered in October 1958, so it is an early example, and it is in remarkably good condition, with no signs of rust or rot in the commonly susceptible places. Rather a surprise given that Irish weather could hardly be said to be so much different to UK weather. The explanation for the condition is that when its seemingly rather gentle working days were over the vehicle was stored for many years in a nice dry barn. A great find and a wonderful restoration project.

The second Bedford dates from 1965 and was brought home from South Africa about ten years ago. Since then it has been kept in a dry storage unit, so again the condition is unexpectedly good, with no signs of rust or rot that occurred in the susceptible places. The body of this vehicle has what are known as ‘eyebrow wings’, a feature that was introduced to give the bonnet a more stylish appearance.

So to the question of value: At auction in this condition they should make £5,000-£7,000. Fully restored and in concours condition we could be talking three or four times as much, perhaps even more.

The two Bedfords are to go under the hammer in the online June Industrial Collective Auction that is scheduled to end at 1pm on Tuesday 6th June. Viewing is 10am-4.00pm on Monday at the Eddisons Auction Centre on Dunlop Way in Scunthorpe.

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