The original number plate of DWP 40 on this iconic Bedford was first owned by the Worcestershire War Agricultural Committee as a flatbed truck to help the Allied war effort. Post war, it was purchased by Maudes Transport and bodied in 1951 as a removal van with a 750 cubic foot box and drop tail.
In 1967 it was stood down in the corner of the yard and simply forgotten about. Many years later, in 1983 it commenced a 7 year full nut and bolt restoration, all remaining original except a few panels and hinged bonnet.
In 2015 it had a further refurbishment including cellulose repaint and hand sign writing. For the technically minded this particular Bedford has a 6 cylinder 27.34 hp petrol engine, 4 speed crash gearbox with a single dry plate clutch delivering power to a floating rear axle with spiral bevel final drive. Brakes were Lockheed hydraulic type and servo assisted operating on all four wheels. The vehicle was originally designed to carry loads of 2-3 tons.
Maude was then moved around to various owners before one of Abels shareholders at the time, John Guilford, saw the Boston lorry advertised on Car & Classic UK website and the owners of Abels arranged a viewing and purchased her on the first meeting!
They say it was love at first sight, even going so far as arranging to take the whole family to look at her. They went back the following weekend to drive her to their Ely store until they found out the best way to restore her to former glory.
The M series is a commercial vehicle chassis, the first variants of which were made by Bedford in 1939 mainly to support the war effort and production ran through to 1953. There were two wheelbase lengths offered; MS (short) 10′ 0″ or ML (long) 11′ 11″. Abels are showing the MLD and the D meaning drop-side.
Abels are no strangers to the world of restoration and preservation. They have other vehicles in various forms of restoration including this 1896 Removal Pantechnicon with a 37cwt drop well body that was built by Hyde & Cheshire.
It toured all over the UK and into Europe with Noel Abel as you will see from these two photos. On one occasion, Noel decided that he would stop off in Paris on route back from a show in Germany; and proceeded to give the Shires a stretch of their legs around the Tower! This isn’t something you might expect to see at the Eiffel Tower!
Abels have their own impressive pedigree including:
• Started delivering goods as an Auctioneer in 1958
• Completed first large container warehouse in 1976
• Opened own Training School in 1980
• Moved wedding presents for Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981
• Developed Marks & Spencer Home Delivery Service
• Awarded the Royal Warrant to Her Majesty the Queen since 1988
• BS EN ISO 9001 awarded in 1993
• Abels purchased by Hays plc in 1991
• Gained Investor in People Award in 1995, the first moving company to do so
• Management Buyout in 1998
• Updated corporate identity and service presentation in 2001
• Warehouse facilities in Brandon (Suffolk), Ely and Huntingdon (Cambridgeshire)
• Obtained contracts for the Abels Home Delivery Furniture Service in 2003 from The John Lewis Partnership and Wesley Barrell.
• Most Recently in October 2016 acquired by Paul Evans and now a member of the AGM Group of Companies that includes Gerson Relocation and Momentous Relocation
Our thanks to Neil Pertoldi, International General Manager of Abels Moving Services for providing us with this excellent story.