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Great Britain's Bedford QL truck


Bedford started to develop a 4x4 truck on its own due to a lack of interest from the War Office. It hoped that it would later get military contracts.

In September 1939 the War Office asked Bedford to proceed with its prototype 4x4 general purpose truck and in October it was approved.

Road Travel

When the Bedford QL was to travel on solid surfaces for long distance the drive to the front wheels could be disengaged so as to reduce the amount of wear and tear on the gearbox and tires.


The Bedford QL prototype started road tests on February 1, 1940. By March there were two more prototypes added to the testing.


  • Bedford QL:
  • Bedford QLD: First of the production series. Had a steel body. Used as a general cargo carrier.
  • Bedford QLT, "Drooper": Chassis lengthened so that it could carry 29 soldiers.
  • Bedford QLR: Used for radio operations.
  • Bedford Portee: Had a 57 mm / 6 pdr put into the bed. Cab was cut down and a canvas top was installed.
  • Giraffe: Amphibious. Only prototype. The main body of the truck was raised 7' / 2.13 m to be able to wade through deep water.
  • Bren: Only prototype. Replaced the rear wheels with a Bren Carriers track assembly. This was to reduce the amount of rubber being used for tires as it was feared there would be a rubber shortage.
  • ?: Firefighting truck.
  • ?: Fuel tanker.


The Bedford QL proved to be rather trouble free except for some vehicles shaking when the brakes were applied. This was solved by replacing the cross country tires with normal road tires.

Royal Air Force

The Royal Air Force used Bedford QLs as fuelers for aircraft.

Post World War II

The Bedford QLs were used into the 1960s.


  Bedford QLD
Crew 1
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 26,998 lb
12,727 kg
Length 19' 8"
5.99 m
Height 9' 10"
3 m
Width 7' 5"
2.26 m
Ground clearance  
Ground pressure  
Side arms  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Engine (Make / Model) Bedford
Bore / stroke  
Cylinders 6
Net HP 72
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering ratio  
Electrical system  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Speed - Road 38 mph
61 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 230 miles
370 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Fording depth 1' 4"
0.4 m
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  


  1. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  2. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site