sexta-feira, 30 de março de 2012

50 Years of Bedford in Australia (1981)

Here is an article from CUSTOM VANS & TRUCKS, No. 23 written by Norm Darwin.
I found these scans on the BUGA site and was hoping to learn some history about the Bedford CF in Australia but the article mainly focuses on Bedford trucks. It's an interesting read nevertheless.

It start's off like this:
"1981 saw Bedford celebrate 50 years in Australia. In that time the Bedford range of trucks established itself as a reliable workhorse. In recent times Bedford's have been slowing losing ground to the Japanese imports, GMH even launched its ISUZU range of trucks back in 1972 with Bedford badging to capitalise on the established name."

By the way, GMH does not mean "Gives Me Hope"... it was the initials for GM Holden Ltd, a subsidiary of GM in Australia. You also notice that in 1972, just 1 year after signing an agreement with Isuzu, GM starts the rebadging process that will end up killing the Bedford brand.
Towards the end of the article the CA and CF are finally mentioned:

"Meantime the CA van, having been stretched in 1960 to 102" wheelbase as well as 92". In 1969 the CA was replaced with the CF, GMH continued to import the panels and assemble the vans at Dandenong on the truck line. Two wheelbases were still available and 140". GMH also engineered their own Holden 6 cylinder engines into the CF van in 1972. This proved a popular move. However the rear axle ratio was a bugbear for the recreational enthusiast. GMH commenced shutting down the Bedfords in 1980 and by June 81 had eliminated all models from the assembly lines."

Well this certainly explains why you hardly see any CF "facelift" models in Australia. GMH shut down the operation right when the new model came out. The 6 cylinder engines mentioned were also unique to Australia. In Europe you could only get 4 cylinder engines.
It's funny how he mentions the "recreational enthusiast" because at the time, the vanning scene in Australia had reached it's peak and the CF was the van of choice. So why shut down the CF operation? They could of at least imported it since they were still being built in the UK up until 1987.
The worlds largest community of current CF owners seems to be in Australia so that really indicates the CF's popularity and how GMH made a bad judgement call stopping production of the Bedford CF. 

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