A Bedford Double Decker

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Peter Crerar's Coachworks at Crieff in Perthshire created this luxurious motorhome on a 1933 special long wheelbase passenger version of the Bedford WLG. Upstairs there was accommodation for six in bedrooms furnished with spring mattresses and the dormitory area also boasted a wash handbasin. The all-round glazing of the overcab section indicates that this would have been the observation deck when on the move and the grandstand when this eye-catching outfit appeared at the races and similar events.

On the lower deck the lounge/diner featured a folding table to seat six. The kitchen compartment was equipped with a refrigerator, a hot water boiler, sink and cooking stove. The motorhome's bathroom boasted a lavatory and washbasin and bath both supplied with h&c. Entry to the driver's cab was by a door on the left and it is probably that this compartment also served as sleeping quarters. That was a common arrangement in an era when those who could afford such a grand motorhome would have also had a servant or two. On tour, perhaps the chauffeur also took on the roles of chef and general factotum.

Bedford's WLG was powered by a 3/2-litre ohv six-cylinder petrol engine (RAC rating 26.3HP) which by 1933 had been developed to produce 57 bhp. Drive was via a four-speed 'crash' gearbox and the mechanically operated brakes acted on all four wheels but were without the benefit of servo assistance, that advance arriving only with the launch of a 3-ton Bedford at the 1933 Commercial Motor Show.

How much might one have paid for such a superb motorhome in the Thirties? We know precisely, for the constructors, who described their creation as a 'Touring Caravan', advertised this outfit in 'The Autocar' in July 1934. All new and ready for the road, said the ad., which went on to note that bedding, linen, crockery and cutlery were included in the price of the motorhome and that it was 'superior to anything else driven by motor and the only one of its kind in Great Britain'. The £1050 asking price is put into context by the cost of a small car around this time. In 1935 you could have bought a Ford Eight for £100, although admittedly the Dagenham-built model was the price-buster of its day - the first time a buyer could get a 'real' car for just twenty of those famous white fivers.

Note: Article published in Motorhome Monthly, Britain's former number one motorhome magazine, by Chris Burlace, now an author at Motorhome and Campervan Magazine.

Did You Know?

The fastest towing of a mobile home was recorded by the UK's Martin Hadland of Redline Magazine who towed a standard Compass Lynx 340/2 caravan to a top speed of 207.38 km/h (128.86 mph) using a modified 1996 Ford Escort Cosworth at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, Leicestershire, UK, on December 20, 2001.

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