A preserved Bedford SB from 1959 in the United Kingdom
|Manufacturer||Bedford (General Motors)|
|Body and chassis|
|Doors||One behind front axle|
|Floor type||Step entrance|
|Chassis||Straight Ladder frame|
|Length||27ft 6in, later 30ft|
|Width||7ft 6in, optionally 8ft and later 2.5m|
It was the first Bedford vehicle to have a “forward control” design, with the driver’s seat located at the right of the engine and the front axle underneath. It used a four-speed synchromesh gearbox, with five-speed gearboxes offered later. It could be fitted with Bedford’s own petrol or diesel engine, with the Perkins R6 and Leyland O.350 and O.370 engines also being offered during the 1950s and 1960s.
Wheelbase length was originally 17 ft 2in (5.23 m), but from 1955 an 18 ft (5.49 m) option was also offered. Bodywork was provided by a wide range of builders, including Duple, Plaxton, Harrington, Willowbrook and Marshall of the United Kingdom, Hawke Coachwork, Coachwork International and New Zealand Motor Bodies of New Zealand, and many more.
There were numerous variants of the SB, each determined by the engine fitted:
1951 Bedford SB with Duple C33F bodywork
1951 Bedford SB
1952 Bedford SB Duple Vega Ad
1952 Bedford SB with Duple C35F bodywork.
1952 BEDFORD SB
1953 NB-78-49 Bedford SB with Hainje coachwork
1953 Bedford SB 25653 Plaxton C35F seats
1953 Bedford SB 26568 Plaxton C35F seats
1954 Bedford SB 29-AC-83 Mulliner C29F Air Ministry
1954 Bedford SB carr ECF nr 19
Bedford SB carr. ECF Vechtstroom 12 ex De Vries
Bedford SB – Edesche Carrosserie Fabriek
1954 Bedford SBG with Mulliner body
1954 Bedford SBG with ‘Seagull’ body
1956 Bedford SBG with Burlingham C35F bodywork
1956 Bedford SBG with Burlingham Seagull C35F bodywork.
1956 Bedford SBG with Yeates C41C bodywork
1956 plaxton consort bus brochure Bedford SBG
1957 Bedford SBG Yeates Europa C41F
1958 Bedford Duple Vega SB3
1958 Bedford SB3 Duple Vega UK
1958 Bedford SB3 with Plaxton C41F bodywork.
1958 Bedford SB3 Duple Vega UK
1955 Bedford SBO with Duple C36F bodywork
1954 Bedford SBO with Duple DP35F body
1954 Bedford SBO with Duple Vega C39F body
1962 Bedford SB5 with Yeates Fiesta C41F bodywork
1958 Bedford SB8 with Plaxton C41F bodywork
1958 Bedford SB8 24DAR was Duple C41F bodied
1963 Bedford SB8 Duple Bella Vega (C41F)
1965 Bedford SB13 Duple Firefly (C37F)
1965 Bedford SB13 Duple Vega (C41F)
|SB||Bedford petrol 4.927 L|
|SBG||Bedford petrol 4.927 L|
|SB3||Bedford petrol 4.927 L|
|SB1||Bedford diesel 4.927 L|
|SB5||Bedford diesel 5.42 L|
From 1968, the SB series used computer classification codes from Bedford’s parent company General Motors, with the petrol-engined SB3 variant becoming NFM, and the diesel-engined SB5 variant becoming NJM. However, they were rarely referred to under these codes.
The SB was built for the UK market and export, and production spanned 37 years – longer than any other Bedford bus chassis – until the sale of Bedford Vehicles in 1987.
Versions of the Bedford SB exported to New Zealand were powered by the standard petrol or diesel engines, except the last batch sold to New Zealand Railways Department, which used Caterpillar C7 engines and Allison transmissions. The use of Caterpillar C7 engines and Allison transmissions by New Zealand Railways Road Services is not supported. All the NZRRS SB buses had Bedford petrol or diesel engines. 40 of the Bedford YMT buses had Caterpillar C7 engines. Many were later powered by Caterpillar, Leyland, Scammell, Cummins, Detroit, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Gardner and GMC engines. While most retained the standard gearbox, many later ran with Eaton/fuller manual, Allison automatic or Daimler epicyclic gearboxes. NZR buses were also fitted with 2 speed Eaton differentials for the country’s hilly terrain and mountain passes.