1959 Bedford TJ J-Type

Highlights


  • Huge and expensive restoration over 6 years
  • Housed in a temperature controlled environment 
  • No better J-Type on the market

The Appeal


Production of the Bedford J Types (or TJ’s) started in 1958 and would continue production in several guises until 1998. Enduring an interesting production life, the J-Type never really caught on in the UK due to the ‘bonneted’ design, this now makes them a rare truck to come across. 

You could have your J Type in many different configurations to suit your commercial enterprise from light duty pickups to heavy duty trucks that could haul up to 8 tons. This example has been fitted with the drop side bed at the rear, so it can carry just about anything.

The most incredible part of this Bedford is that it has been through an extensive restoration that cost in excess of £100,000 that lasted 6 years. Since then it has been housed in a museum and will be sold in practically immaculate condition. You would be hard pressed to find a better example.

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The History and Paperwork


  • As with all Bedford trucks, this TJ starts its life trundling down the Dunstable production line in 1959.
  • Upon the build completion, the truck is registered on the 24/12/1959 so someone had a very happy Christmas indeed.
  • As you can see the truck is finished in a two-tone red & burgundy paint scheme, this was done to correspond with the first owner's farming business.
  • With commercial trucks, history is very rarely kept as they are seen as a tool for a job, so the first part of this TJ’s life is hard to piece together.
  • It would stay as a commercial vehicle until the previous owner acquired the truck.
  • As soon as they got their hands on it, a thorough restoration was started, in total it would take 6 years and around £100,000 to complete.
  • This restoration wasn’t a simple coat of paint and engine service, it is said that nothing went untouched
  • For example, they spent around 320 hours stripping, prepping, and painting the chassis alone.
  • The engine was sent out to have a full rebuild and was then balanced professionally. As were the transmission and rear axle.
  • Interestingly the rear axle was taken from an ambulance of the same era, the higher gear ratio now means that the truck can comfortably cruise a 70mph.
  • During the restoration the cab was also replaced, although the original one was still in good shape, the restorer had heard of a new old stock cab that they had to buy.
  • For the longest time, Bedford restorers had been trying to buy a cab from Marshalls in Cambridge to no avail. The restorer made it their mission to buy this cab
  • A conversation later and £10,000 lighter, much to the surprise of the manager, they had acquired this rare, and brand new part.
  • With the new cab fitted the interior was smoothed out and painted in gloss grey, with the seats being re-trimmed at the same point.
  • Custom made carpets and mats were then installed in the cab.
  • The work didn’t stop at the new cab, or chassis work, under the bonnet the engine has been painted in gloss black along with the other accessories
  • At the rear you will fit a custom made Hawson body, all the sides fold down for larger loads.
  • There really has been no expense spared during the restoration and as such, this is possibly the best J-Type on the market worldwide.
  • When the restoration wrapped the current owner bought it off of the restorer, who he knew well, and has since had it stored/displayed in a museum.
  • It has only covered a handful of miles during the 7 years of ownership, as it has only been bought out for special events. 
  • When it hasn’t been in use it has been displayed at a museum in Enfield.
  • This really is an incredible truck, that you will now have the pleasure of owning. With all this work completed, you shouldn’t have to worry about anything for some time so you can get on enjoying your new purchase. 
  • You will never see one like this again.

The Interior


  • Re-trimmed seats
  • Rare factory stamp on the dash
  • Great condition

If you were to pop your head into the interior of this Bedford, you’d be forgiven in thinking that it had never been sat in. The incredible work of the previous owner is on full show here and as such you will be able to enjoy every mile with a huge smile on your face.

As we have previously discussed, this is not the original cab that came with the truck in 1959, instead, it is an even rarer new old stock part found in the rafters of Marshalls. It has then been fitted and put back to how the original cab would have looked like.

Whilst the cab was empty it was smoothed back and painted in gloss grey, this light interior gives the cab a big and airy feel allowing the occupants to relax on long drives and not feel hemmed in. To complement the nice new interior paint, the seats were sent away and re-trimmed, having covered so few miles since the restoration it is no surprise that they are still presented in ‘like new’ condition. 

To help give the interior a more comfortable feel the restorer decided to order some custom carpets and mats. These elevate the interior of this truck from a run of the mill commercial vehicle into a great place to sit and watch the miles roll by.

Upon the newly painted dashboard, you are presented with a beautifully classic linear speedometer. This is where you will also find the odometer, it is believed that the number shown here are genuine original miles. 

The interior of this truck is truly mesmerising, nothing has been left untouched even down to the smallest switches and toggles. Wherever you take this Bedford throughout your ownership, be in no doubt that you’re doing it inside one of the best Bedford J Types around.  

The Exterior 


  • New old stock cab fitted
  • Custom built drop side bed
  • Show winning quality 

The J Type was a bit of a mystery when it was launched in 1959 as bonneted trucks were falling out of favour for their now more common cab-over counterparts. This meant that although the J Type was a very capable lorry, it never sold to its full potential. Nowadays, this is great news for collectors as you seldom see these trucks out and about.

Today, the classic lines of this Bedford look stunning, and they are further enhanced by the big restoration that we have already mentioned. From a quick glance, you can see that the paintwork is excellent and that the rear bed section has been treated to some attention too.

Once the body had been stripped of every part and the previous owner was left with the bare chassis, they spent a whopping 320 hours on prepping and painting the chassis, the result is a very smooth and glossy black finished. It is incredible that so much effort was put into a component that you rarely look at. To match the nice new shiny chassis the leaf springs and new rear axle were also treated to a lick of paint.

When looking at the exterior of this truck you can’t help but marvel at the craftsmanship, nowhere is this work more present than the drop side bed at the rear. It has received a lot of attention with an inordinate number of hours spent getting it to this condition it is now like a piece of art. 

You won’t be surprised to hear that the rest of the exterior is also in excellent condition, the chrome bumper at the front looks more like a mirror than a bumper, and the chrome headlight surrounds are also in great condition. As this is a drop side truck, the sides fold down on their hinges giving you easy access to every side of the bed.

The exterior of this Bedford is incredible, it has a fit and finish better than most modern luxury vehicles but has about ten times the practically. This classic commercial will look incredible in your collection, don’t miss out on such a rare find.

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The Mechanics 


  • The engine has been fully rebuilt
  • The new axle helps achieve comfortable cruising
  • Matching numbers

Unsurprisingly the extensive rebuild didn’t stop at the exterior and interior rebuild, the mechanical elements got an entire overhaul. As a result, it probably now runs better than it ever in its 60 plus years on the road.

The 3.5l inline six was sent off for a full rebuild, it was then re-balanced, so it is lovely and smooth. At the same time, the transmission was also rebuilt, and the newly sourced rear axle also received a rebuild. Interestingly the rear axle was liberated from an old ambulance, for its higher gear ratio, so it will now cruise nicely on modern roads at all speed limits. 

It is incredible to see that as soon as you open the large bonnet you are presented with a beautifully painted engine block. It must also be mentioned that this 3.5l inline six also produces quite a nice soundtrack from the exhaust. 

With all of the work that has been completed on the mechanical elements of this Bedford, it is no surprise as to why it performs so effortlessly on the road. On the day that you come to collect it, you should be able to drive away with a large grin from ear to ear.

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Summary


What an amazing classic commercial this Bedford is. With all of the painstaking restoration work that has been completed, you are unlikely to ever come across another J Type in this condition. The lengthy and expensive restoration has extended the life of this truck well into the future, so you will have lots of time to enjoy your shiny new purchase.

As it is presented in such an amazing condition you could be in with a shot of winning awards at several prestigious car shows. Some would describe the condition as Concours.

Don’t pass up this opportunity today, there is a great chance that you will never see another J Type in this condition.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1959
  • Make Bedford
  • Model TJ J-Type
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 36,958 Miles
  • Engine size
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Location Hertfordshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
90 bids
  • An•••• £46,250 14/08/22
  • bi•••• £46,000 14/08/22
  • An•••• £45,750 14/08/22
  • bi•••• £45,500 14/08/22
  • bi•••• £45,250 14/08/22
  • An•••• £45,000 14/08/22
  • bi•••• £44,999 14/08/22
  • bi•••• £44,750 14/08/22
  • An•••• £44,500 14/08/22
  • bi•••• £44,250 14/08/22

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