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The Bedford TK is a truck that was produced by Bedford. Launched in 1959 to replace the Bedford S type, the TK was scheduled to be replaced by the Bedford TL in 1981, but manufacturing of the TK continued as a cheaper alternative. A military 4x4 version called the Bedford MK (later MJ)[2] was also produced. After Bedford's Dunstable factory was sold in 1987 to AWD, the TK restarted production for military only use[3] until 1992 when AWD went into receivership.

Bedford MK/MJ
Bedford MK 4x4 truck.JPEG
British Army Bedford MK/MJ 4x4 truck
ManufacturerBedford (General Motors)
Also calledMK (military model)
Production1959–1986 (Bedford)
1988-1992 (AWD)
AssemblyDunstable plant, UK
Petone, New Zealand
Australia [1]
Body and chassis
ClassCommercial vehicle, military vehicle
Body stylechassis cab, flatbed, troop carrier, tipper, recovery vehicle
LayoutLongitudinal front engine
two-wheel drive (TK)
four-wheel drive (MK)
EngineEngine choice was 200 and 220 cubic inch 4 cylinder diesel, 300 and 330 cubic inch 6 cylinder diesel, 214 cubic inch 6 cylinder petrol and on heavier rated chassis the Leyland 6 cylinder diesel. 103 bhp[citation needed] 6-cylinder diesel
Transmission4-speed manual
Wheelbase3.962 meter
Length6.579 meter
Width2.489 meter
Height2.501 (cap)
and 3.404 (tarpaulin)
Kerb weight5.1 ton
PredecessorBedford S type
SuccessorBedford TL

History and useEdit

Bedford TK

The TK range replaced the S type in 1959, and served as the basis for a variety of derivatives, including fire engines, military, horse boxes, tippers, flatbed trucks, and other specialist utilities. A General Post Office (later British Telecom) version used for installing telegraph poles was known as the "Polecat".

Available with an inline four or inline six cylinder petrol and diesel engines - the TK was the quintessential light truck in the UK through most of the 1960s and 1970s, competing with the similar Ford D series. It was available in rigid form, and also as a light tractor unit normally using the Scammell coupling form of semi-trailer attachment.

In 1981, Bedford introduced turbocharging to the "Red Series" 3.6-litre and 5.4-litre diesel engines, now producing 72 bhp and 102 bhp respectively.[4]

TKs were assembled for many years by General Motors New Zealand Limited at its Petone truck plant. The model was very popular and competed with the like of the also locally assembled Ford D series. It was succeeded by the TM series and GMNZ later switched source to launch a range of Bedford-by-Isuzu models assembled locally from kits shipped from Japan.


The Bedford MK/MJ - a 4x4 variant of the TK - was used in large numbers by the British Armed Forces and others. The Bedford MK was introduced to replace the Bedford RL. It was very successful and, by year end 1977, a total of 11,700 units had been produced for the British Army and overseas military services. The MK/MJ was produced in many variants. From April 1981, Bedford changed the designation of the MK to MJ as the K multi-fuel engine was superseded by the J diesel engine. It was confirmed in March 2014 that, with the exception of a handful of light recovery vehicles, all British Army Bedford MK/MJ trucks had been disposed of, replaced by RMMV HX60 4x4 trucks.[2]


In popular cultureEdit

In the original series of Fireman Sam (1987-1994), Jupiter is a 1974 Bedford TK fire engine. In the 2002 Danny Boyle film "28 Days Later" multiple MK4s are seen during the Manchester blockade scene.


  1. ^ Vintage Truck & Commercials Magazine, November-December 2018, page 55
  2. ^ a b "Bedford MK/MJ (4 × 4) 4,000 kg trucks". IHS Jane's Shaun C Connors, Christopher F Foss and Damian Kemp. 23 September 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  3. ^ "AWD wins MoD order". Commercial Motor. 31 March 1988. p. 15. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  4. ^ "Red Turbo Bedfors". Commercial Motor. 13 June 1981. p. 23. Retrieved 14 October 2013.