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Bedford RL Army lorries.
Firstly, I'm indebted to Ray who sent me these photographs, taken during his service with the British Army during the 1950s. The Army RL was in effect a military version of the civilian S-Type lorry, albeit with 4x4 running gear as opposed to the civilian S-Type's 2wd arrangement. The first photograph, shown above, has a young Ray at the wheel of his Bedford, en route to Hanover in Germany.
The RL was fitted with a 6 cylinder petrol engine as standard, producing 110bhp and proved sufficient to pull this 3-ton rated lorry around. The RLs in service were upgraded to 4 ton capacity in 1968. Apparently over 73,000 RLs were produced, with the model first being offered to the public in August of 1952.
Next up are two photographs again featuring Ray's Bedford. To the left is a shot of his lorry parked up at the Hamelin Barracks, being washed down by hose, and alongside a shot from inside the cab, as driver and vehicle cross the River Weser, a river that runs down through Bremen, passing close to Hannover and southwards in the general direction of Frankfurt, albeit some way to the East of this city.
As with most military vehicles, these Bedfords ran on bar-grip tyres, designed to offer decent traction in varying road and off-road conditions. They could however clog up as this tyre design isn't always at its best on mud once the grooves have clogged up, but overall they are the best compromise. On the road though they can give a hard, and noisy, ride. No power steering in those days either, so drivers of lorries back then had to be made of stern stuff.
Thanks again to Ray for sending these photos over, and allowing them to be featured at oldclassiccar! Original photographs of this model's predecessor, the OY, can be found on this page of the site.
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