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introducing thunderbird... Bedford SB-'460'

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2 weeks 2 days ago #251850 by Thunderbird
Introducing Thunderbird, my new Doghouse and what a Doghouse she is. she's powered by Ford's Big Block 460 V8 and C6 transmission. i am totally smitten with her. Licensed and somewhat ready to go. Over the next 5 years i hope to restore her body and get her interior looking the part with 60's Retro Modern revival.
I've got so many questions about the Bedford SB and how she came to be. i have found only a little bit of information on her, with her VIN only 6 digits long: assuming that its either because she's a restoration and re-licensing job (of the 1953-59 SB3's) or that she was built before the standardisation of VIN numbers (or both).
she could have also been originally built by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) or Ansett and later converted to a motorhome in the 60s, 70s, or 80s. according to the PPSR certificate shes on a 1R2 rigid Truck chassis.
if anyone has any further information or comments on how these buses came to be - please share. likewise for any tips and tricks or pointers on what to look out for - all much appreciated. I will be getting a mig welder for the rust - but also considering fibreglass.
I look forward to tinkering with her, reinstalling the long range tanks and restoring her to a custom finish Orange stripes on white with silver toned roof. and of course - bringing back the bus numbers / ID with something cheeky.

Male, 36 years old, Electrical/Automation and Fire Suppression. Perth Hills.








 

1963 Bedford SB-'460' - Unidentified Flying Object.

It's about the Journey AND the destination...
The following user(s) said Thank You: 180wannabe, cobbadog, Mrsmackpaul, grandad, roKWiz, V8Ian, wee-allis, Brocky45

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2 weeks 1 day ago - 2 weeks 1 day ago #251852 by bparo
good looking project. VINs were part of the ADR system and the first batch of them came in in 1969 for cars with heavy vehicles becoming mandatory later. Later still the VINs requirements were modified to meet international standards. Your bus is too old for a VIN and would have been registered using the chassis number.

The 460 and automatic transmission would have been a later modification.  The original motor would have been either 6 cylinder petrol or diesel with a manual transmission

Having lived through a pandemic I now understand all the painting of fat people on couches!
Last edit: 2 weeks 1 day ago by bparo. Reason: add engine info
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2 weeks 1 day ago - 2 weeks 1 day ago #251855 by jon_d
Smitten....  what a great description.

driverclassics.com.au/heritage-fleet/1959-bedford-sb3#gallery-1

Things to keep an eye on....
Brakes, tie rod ends, suspension pins and bushes.
Esp the brakes.  Need regular work more so if they haven't been stainless steel sleeved.

If it is a Comair, the rust should be fairly small. All the steel is coated with the aircraft green paint and then bitumen paint.  Mine had rust in the 2 front side window sills and a little spot under the side rub rail.

 
Last edit: 2 weeks 1 day ago by jon_d.
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2 weeks 1 day ago #251859 by mammoth
The chassis (or parts thereof)were made in England and shipped for assembly by GMH. They were then driven to the body builders.
Bedford chassis numbers are not much good for dating, however you can get close by getting the codes on the original glass such as wind screen and quarter lights.

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2 weeks 1 day ago #251860 by jon_d
The VIN is the chassis number.  Should be stamped in the chassis rail. Front Passengers side.

CAC put a serial number plate on the above the passenger front window. (it's missing in the photos).
All the other plates should be in the front passenger foot well/firewall.

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2 weeks 1 day ago #251865 by Brocky45
That video is of David Driver the Gray Line franchisee out of the Melbourne area. I met him and toured his bus facility in 2015 while on the ATHS Down Under Tour. If I remember right that 1947 Bedford was his fathers first new bus after WW 2. He seemed very conversant on busses as well as having a couple of antique cars and trucks. You can probably get a phone contact thru a Melbourne Gray Line listing??? Since we were riding on one of his busses I cannot tell you if the address on the side of the bus in the video is current?? I have some pictures of his collection, BUT do not see where to post them???

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2 weeks 2 hours ago #251886 by Thunderbird
Thank you all for the replies. It fills me with confidence that i am not alone in this journey. i know i am in it for the long-haul. a 5-year project at minimum.
The immediate priority lists will be the brakes, tyres, steering and suspension. keeping her on the road is my first priority. and i dont just mean starting her engine every month. ideally a desert drive to Kalgoorlie or a HCVC cruise here and there.
With the confidence in her running gear i'll also be needing my MR drivers license (but considering to go straight for my HR).
I also have a great spot for her as a guestroom and second bathroom (as my 1-bathroom house has some major plumbing issues i need to resolve) - she will be parked on the dirt... which i am reinforcing and leveling out with 5m3 compacted 'Ferricrete' (gravel and clay mix) - i am hoping that will be enough not to bog her down. she'll be sitting on 10m3 of clean fill which i had layed to fill and level a hole/void just off my driveway).
her insides fit out i am hoping to get to a livable and funky state ASAP as a guestroom (Think B52's caravan park in California), plus adding in a few coach recliner seats.
her body work will be a piecemeal approach. neatening up and cutting out the rust and priming until i am ready and set up for the full re-spray...

1963 Bedford SB-'460' - Unidentified Flying Object.

It's about the Journey AND the destination...
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2 weeks 48 minutes ago #251887 by bparo
maybe bury a couple of railway sleepers where the tyres will normally sit to help spread the weight and avoid that sinking feeling. (This is the voice of experience with a lister autotruck)

Having lived through a pandemic I now understand all the painting of fat people on couches!
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2 weeks ago - 1 week 6 days ago #251888 by jon_d
"a 5-year project at minimum."

I'm about 16 years into mine... always something to do and maintain.



 
Last edit: 1 week 6 days ago by jon_d.
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1 week 6 days ago #251889 by wee-allis
That spot and view is what it is all about.
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