1959 Bedford C-Type lorry

Posted by Chris Graham on 1st March 2022

It’s not everyday that you meet a TV star, but Alan Lusted sees one every time he drives his immaculate 1959 Bedford C-Type lorry.

Text and photographs: Patrick Boniface


1959 Bedford C-Type lorry

The vehicle was bought new in 1959 by Peter Barker of Staines Road Farms at Shepperton and subsequently passed through many owners as Alan explains: “It was bought for a market garden company in Shepperton, all it used to do was go across the Thames to the Western Market by Heathrow, very low mileage. Then it was passed to a company called Barbers, then Teesdale Brothers who used to do the large advertising hoardings around new building sites and stuff like that. He used to transport the hoardings around and erect them there. Obviously, it wasn’t used a lot there either. Then it went to Benhill Motors who totally restored it and then left it outside for 10 years with no cover on and it was in a hell of a state. The cab was rotten, the sides were out, but all the underframe is still the original hardwood. Took me ages to clean it.”

1959 Bedford C-Type lorry

The Bedford C type is a lightweight version of the S-Type and is a four-ton, long wheelbase lorry which has a 3,519cc 21.4 petrol engine and can support four-ton payloads but grosses at seven-and-a-half tons. When Alan bought the vehicle it was in a very poor state indeed. “Water when it expands can bend a 10mm coach-bolt. It had been left outside for 10 years with no cover on it. I rebuilt all the body on the original 1958 subframe. Every nut and bolt has been done.” The whole process took four-years to complete. “The chap who did the coachwork on it, all the painting, I had a trailer on which I improvised an engine frame, and he could wheel it in and out of his paint shop. He had it for about six-months or so and did a brilliant job.

1959 Bedford C-Type lorry

“You have to have a goal really, and mine was the London to Brighton in 2004. We were still working on it the night before, but we did the Rally, and I was very pleased as the truck hadn’t been used for 20 odd years. We show it a lot, every year I am out in it. You have to have a very understanding wife. I was fortunate I worked for DAF Trucks, and I did the recovery so, I always had my mobile van with me. My cousin had a farm just up the road from where I live, and I could be up there while the wife thought I was doing breakdowns on the M25 while I was restoring it.

“We did all three episodes of Rock and Chips which was writer John Sullivan’s prequel to Only Fools and Horses. Sadly, John Sullivan died, and they never wrote any more, but then I got a call from a friend of mine who said they want your lorry for the 100th edition of Midsomer Murders which was set in a biscuit factory. Actually, it was Amersham old brewery. We did a couple days filming up there. Obviously it is nice to see your truck on the telly. The family think it’s wonderful because my family go back to 1777, my grandfather, that was his colours. We had a fleet of vehicles. I’ve always loved Bedfords because I used to sit with the old man for hours and hours as you do as a boy and mainly people seem to restore vehicles that they grew up with from their childhood.

As for the future Alan said, “I’d like to find a big enough hole to be buried inside it. As long as it keeps going, I’ve done everything on it but there’s always something to do on them because, obviously, being 63 years old it does require a bit of attention.”

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