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Homepage. This page: An ex-Ministry of Technology 32 seater mobile cinema is being restored.

Bedford SB3 1967 cinema and trailer.

Ollie dropped me a line in 2009, sending photographs of an interesting old Bedford that he's involved in the restoration of. KJU 267E is a 1967 Bedford SB3 chassis, on to which this eye-catching coachwork has been fitted. Below are a couple of "before and after" shots of KJU, the first shows the lorry back in the 1960s, followed by a recent snap of the same vehicle.
The Bedford SB3 before restoration
The mobile cinema in the 1960s
The plan is to restore the Bedford to full operational condition, resurrecting the cinema equipment and the luxury 32 seat theatre, and then offer it out for private hire etc. The Ministry of Technology built several of these vehicles in the late 1960s, to tour the country, promoting modern production techniques to British industry. The seven Bedfords were operated by PERA, or the Production Engineering Research Association. Films would be played within the cinema, with supporting displays shown in the trailer that accompanied the Bedfords as they toured the nation's factories.
The Bedford SB chassis was fitted with coachwork by Coventry Steel Caravans, utilising cabs supplied by Plaxtons (hence their similarity to Plaxton-bodied coaches that used to be common throughout the 1970s). The remote control projection equipment was placed in the steel framed, perspex-glazed dome above the cab. CSC also built the towable display trailers.
In 1974 the Government sold off the mobile cinemas, and this one is the sole survivor as far as is known. KJU was purchased from the auction to accompany the re-patriated Flying Scotsman steam locomotive, but was donated shortly afterwards to the Transport Trust, who owned it for a further 15 years before selling it on.
Ollie has set up a website outlining the background to this project, Vintage Mobile Cinema, and is keen to add to the information that he has. He's also popped some footage of it on YouTube. If anyone remembers one of these Bedford SBs visiting their works, or has material (leaflets, photos etc) relating to them, I'm sure he'd be interested to hear from you.
Quite a few people have now submitted stories about the classic cars and commercials they own - find them all in the Your Classics section at oldclassiccar.

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