1946 Bedford DB bus at MOVE

BUSES AT MOVE... Kialla's Museum of Vehicle Evolution (MOVE) has a stunning display of vintage buses and trucks that will transport you to another era. Photos: Kelly Lucas.

CHEVROLET buses and light trucks were built in 1931 by General Motors UK for the British market before launching the Bedford range. Bedfords date back to Vauxhall Ironworks, a company based at Vauxhall, London in 1857 by Scottish engineer Alexander Wilson. In 1905, Vauxhall moved to Luton, Bedfordshire and was later bought by American giant, General Motors, in 1925.

The original Bedford OB was built in 1939 and remained in production for only two months, creating only 73 OBs, before production was turned over to the war effort. During the war, Bedford built truck, 3,398 OWBs and 5,640 Churchill tanks. The Bedford OWB was a wartime austerity version of the Bedford OB combined with bodies that were even more austere.

Post war production restarted in 1945. Bedford built 12,693 post war OBs in the UK. Unlike Australia, where Bedford OBs were popular for private city bus routes, UK production catered for regional commuter and charter operators.

Although General Motors-Holden Australia sold complete Bedford OBs as forward control (flat front) buses from 1947, other Australian bus body builders, such as Syd Wood and Grice, initially built bodies on Bedford OB chassis using a conventional layout.

The 1946 Bedford OB with Grice body, now at MOVE (Museum of Vehicle Evolution), originally operated in Toowoomba, QLD until the mid-1970s. It was subsequently acquired by John Masterson, bus enthusiast and owner of Bellarine Bus Lines, who completed a remarkable restoration.

This Bedford OB is powered by a Bedford 214ci, 6-cylinder, petrol engine with a 4-speed constant mesh transmission. Bedford’s OB designation signifies ‘O’ as the model series and ‘B’ for bus. To learn more about the 1946 Bedford DB and more vehicles, visit the new MOVE located at 7723 Goulburn Valley Highway, Kialla.

If you, or anyone you know, is passionate about their car, truck, bus, motorbike, bicycle, or wheelbarrow (basically anything with wheels), please get in contact with The Adviser at [email protected] Happy driving!