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Nick Dunford's Bedford MWR Rebuild

The plan was to find a Bedford MW to restore in time for the 70th aniversary celibrations in Normandy in 2014. After several months of looking and several dead ends, an advert in a monthly military vehical magazine saw us heading off to Hereford in late June 2013. Described in the add as an un- finished restoration of a Bedford MWC ( MWC is the tanker vershion of the Bedford MW ) we were the first on the list of fourteen potental buyers.
The restored Bedford at Pegasus Bridge 2014.
Un-restored Bedford June 2013.
Inspection of the truck showed that DAS 399, was in fact not an MWC as discribed in the advert, but an MWR ( R being the radio truck varrient of the MW type ). It should be fitted with a box to hold the generator charging set for the radio batterys, in place of the drivers cab step, and the spare wheel mounted on the outside of the rear tail board, because of the amount of equipment fitted in side the body for the radio sets. 
3 small photos showing MWR fittings.
The chassis number showed it to have been built in October 1942, near the start of the MWR productions. The seller had carried out a lot of work on the truck, some good, some not very good at all. It became clear that the truck had not been worked on for over ten years, the last invoices for parts being dated 2001. There were also a lot of parts missing, and as I was to find out later, a lot of the MWR specific parts were missing. A deal was done, and transport arranged to bring the truck back to Yorkshire.
Truck being delivered to its new home.
Stripped chassis.
With the truck now back to Yorkshire, the full extent of the work need could now be assessed. The post war water tank was removed and scrapped ( some much needed funds were recoved from the gun metal and bronze fittings on the tank ). The repaired engine, which the prevoius owner had never got to run was the first thing to look at. After several hours, it was running; not very well, but at least it ran. After fitting the gear stick the correct way round, we now had all four gears.

Further inspection showed that the brake master cylinder and all four wheel cylinders to be ceased. Every spring bush and spring shackle pin were worn out, the king pins and bushes needed replacing. The exhaust system was made from bits of pipe welded together, the steering box was loose on the chassis, the list went on and on. After two days of finding more and more work, the decision was taken to strip the truck to the last nut and bolt, and start again; which was good job, as when the bare chassis was measured, it was found to be two inches too long. After a long Summer of shot blasting, painting and great deal of money, the rolling chassis was finished.

The next job of repairing and fitting the bulkhead back on the chassis, took from the late summer until nearly Christmas. Just before New Year, the truck ran and moved under its own power, for the first time in at least twenty years. Now work could at last start on the new rear body.

Completed rolling chassis.
The now running chassis and the start of new body.
Before the start of the 2014, my self imposed deadline of the Crank Up at York, on the 13th of April, had seemed a long way away, but was now coming very quickly. Work seemed to move very slowly on the body, working from photos and drawings supplied by several very helpful MW owners. The body started to take shape. Yes, it is only a wooden body, but there is an awful lot of steel, and nuts and bolts holding it together.

By late March, the body was finished and fitted to the chassis and work was nearly complete. One of the last jobs, and probably the hardest, was the manufacture of the windscreen frames; these being held together with over forty 3BA screws, which had all to be drilled , tapped , counter- sunk and cut to length by hand.

New body being painted.
The truck ready for the York Crank Up in April. 

Work still to be completed, but nearly there. Hood sticks to make, spare wheel mounting to fit, markings to put on and awaiting delivery of new rear canvas.

Finished truck leaving for Normandy on 29/5/14

After covering over one thousand miles, going to Normandy and back, the work on the truck is still on going. The correct rear interior being the next major project for the winter of 2014-15.