Bedford SB
A preserved Bedford SB in the United Kingdom
Manufacturer Bedford Vehicles
Replaced Bedford OB
Floor type Step entrance
Engine(s) Bedford
Perkins R6
Transmission 4-speed synchromesh
Options Various customer options

The Bedford SB was a front-engined bus chassis built by Bedford Vehicles in the United Kingdom. It was launched at the 1950 Commercial Motor Show[1] as the replacement for the Bedford OB.

It was the first Bedford vehicle to have a "forward control" design, with the driver's seat located at the right of the engine and the front axle underneath. It used a four-speed synchromesh gearbox, with five-speed gearboxes offered later. It could be fitted with Bedford's own petrol or diesel engine, with the Perkins R6 and Leyland O.350 and O.370 engines also being offered during the 1950s and 1960s.[2]

Wheelbase length was originally 17ft 2in (5.23 m), but from 1955 an 18ft (5.49 m) option was also offered. Bodywork was provided by a wide range of builders, including Duple, Plaxton, Harrington, Willowbrook and Marshall of the United Kingdom, Hawke Coachwork and New Zealand Motor Bodies of New Zealand, and many more.

There were numerous variants of the SB, each determined by the engine fitted:

Variant Engine
SB Bedford petrol 4.927 L
SBG Bedford petrol 4.927 L
SB3 Bedford petrol 4.927 L
SBO Perkins R6
SB1 Bedford diesel 4.927 L
SB5 Bedford diesel 5.42 L
SB8 Leyland O.350
SB13 Leyland O.370

From 1968, the SB series used computer classification codes from Bedford's parent company General Motors, with the petrol-engined SB3 variant becoming NFM, and the diesel-engined SB5 variant becoming NJM. However, they were rarely referred to under these codes.

The SB was built for the UK market and export, and production spanned 37 years - longer than any other Bedford bus chassis - until the sale of Bedford Vehicles in 1987.

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