The Bedford KB hit UK dealerships in the late 1970’s, and was pitched strongly against the Ford P100 (then known as the Cortina pickup). It was essentially a rebadged Isuzu KB although, unlike the Isuzu, the Bedford KB was only available in single-cab and with a 4×2 layout.
In 1972, General Motors (the parent company of Bedford Vehicles) acquired a 34 percent stake in Isuzu. In the same year, Isuzu had launched a pickup variant of its Florian car, called the KB, which interested the management at Bedford.
Because Isuzu had very little presence in Europe at the time, the two companies agreed that General Motors would sell and distribute the Japanese-made pickup under its European commercial brand. The Bedford KB was replaced by the Bedford Brava (later the Vauxhall Brava) in 1988.
Engine and driveline
At the time of its launch in 1978, the Bedford KB was only available with a 1.6-litre petrol engine producing 79hp and 116Nm, and two years later a 46hp/99Nm 2.0-litre diesel engine (designated the KBD) was introduced. Top speeds were rated at 90mph and 71mph respectively and all engines were hooked to a four-speed gearbox with the option of floor or column gear change.
Practicality and load area
The Bedford KB had a wheelbase of 2,990mm, a load length of 229mm and a width of 1,460mm, which meant the 3.34 square metre load bed was slightly bigger than its main rival, the Ford P100. The heavy-duty ladder frame chassis was fitted with six cross-members to provide an impressive payload of up to 1,200kg and the towing capacity was around 1,800kg. The seat backs folded down to provide a secret, covered storage space for small and expensive items.
On the road
Unlike most of its rivals, there was a bench seat in the cab which could accommodate the driver and two passengers. The independent A-arm front suspension was effective at cushioning the blows, although the leaf-springs at the rear meant there was a lot of bouncing around when unladen. Meanwhile, the front disc brakes provided ample braking force, even when fully laden.
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