More times than not, on almost any good old Pakistani road, you will find giant, metallic, and flamboyantly artistic canvases scrambling down on wheels. Well, for any of us, envisioning a Bedford truck is a piece of cake considering that we’ve been seeing the modest fellow since we were kids. And the Founders of this great nation can probably relate too.
The Bedford truck is a commonly used vehicle for commercial transportation and has been the go-to choice for heavy haulage duties across Pakistan. Also exquisitely known for the creative and culturally figurative illustrations, Bedford TJ series trucks have always had the roads to themselves, especially with competitors like Toyota and Mitsubishi out of the picture.
History and Popularity:
Despite the dominance on our roads, Bedford TJ trucks did not originate from Pakistan or any other South Asian country for that matter. These were first imported by the Pakistani government in 1940 from Bedfordshire, UK. On increasing demand and shipment cost, General motors set up an assembly unit in Karachi in 1963. Even then, however, only a few parts were manufactured here.
But, by the 80s, 65% of the parts began manufacturing locally. General Motors manufacture multiple variants of Bedford from J1- J6 however, J5 and J6 are mostly seen in Pakistan today which were introduced in 1968 along with the previous models which were imported earlier. Both the trucks have a 112 horsepower (5420cc) diesel engine along with a 3728 kg front axle and 8182 rear axles.
So here is the big question now: why are these so popular, anyway? More than half of the transport that takes place within Pakistan is done via Bedford trucks. First, we got to give credit to the trucks themselves too for their ability to hold their own in versatile conditions along with massive load-carrying capacity.
Primarily, a Bedford TJ has a load capacity of 9 tons. But upon a bit of tweaking by our local mechanics, it can be increased up to 14 tons.
Let’s Talk Art and Culture:
In Pakistan, Bedford trucks are decorated meticulously using wood, paint, glass, and whatnot. Very rarely you’d find a Bedford TJ without the make-up. In Pakistan, truck art predates to 1920 but it picked up the pace during the 1950s when Pakistan started importing these trucks. It started as a means for marking these trucks by the owner to avoid any confusion or disputes.
But before they knew it, it had become a full-fledged tradition. Today, more than 50,000 people are employed in workshops. These trucks have a crown on top along with bumpers, wooden paneling and are beautifully painted with vibrant colors. According to a survey, a truck driver can spend up to 2 years of his salary decorating his Bedford. whoops.
Maintenance and Cost
In Pakistan, a Bedford truck can cost anywhere from Rs 1.5 million to Rs 3 million, and maintaining them is pretty inexpensive as most of the spare parts are now manufactured locally. The truck art, however, as mentioned above could put a toll on the pocket. However, dynamic art is a risk worth taking for them as it aids their business.
Related: The Rise & Fall of Toyota Corona
Despite going way out of production and time, their spare parts are still being manufactured. Plus, they still are a common sight on the roads. This may be due to their low cost as compared to newer models, the attraction associated with familiarity, or the remarkable strength of these even. whatever the reason may be among these, we do believe Bedfords TJ will remain to be a worthwhile flamboyant presence on our roads in the future too.
The beautifully decorated Bedford TJ trucks in Pakistan
A random girl who writes when she isn’t sleeping. Her heart is divided into three parts. One part adores sleep while another is deeply affectionate towards writing. The third is a large sensitive spot for her pets. The pets include a cat and a metallic, fuel-consuming giant.