A preserved Bedford SB in the United Kingdom
|Production||1950 - 1986|
|Body and chassis|
|Floor type||Step entrance|
|Chassis||Straight ladder frame|
|Length||8.39m, later 9.14m|
|Width||2.28m, optionally 2.44m and later 2.50m|
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. Initially only available with a Bedford petrol engine, from 1953 a Perkins R6 was an option, with a Bedford diesel and the Leyland O.350 options from 1957, and the Leyland O.370 from 1963.
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, Marshall, Plaxton, Harrington and Willowbrook. It was primarily fitted with one door, although examples were fitted with two.
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 Army, RAF and Royal Navy, plus several other government departments took large numbers of them. The Armed Forces version was more austere than civilian versions and capable of being converted to ambulances in times of emergency.
The New Zealand Railways Road Services were the largest operator, purchasing over 1.200 primarily with New Zealand Motor Bodies bodywork with some fitted with Caterpillar C7 engines and Allison Transmissions.
There were numerous variants of the SB, each determined by the engine fitted:
- Furness, Nigel (2016). Bedford Buses and Coaches. ISBN 9781785002076.
- Thirty years old and still going strong Commercial Motor 9 August 1980
- Railway Road Services a sign of growing importance of road transport Kiwi Rail
Media related to Bedford SB at Wikimedia Commons