If you’ve been around this industry for a few years you will probably recognise a Marsden Vanplan TK. At one time they were the backbone of the industry in one guise or another and this month’s story features one such vehicle belonging to Andy Vater in East Sussex. This family business was started back in 1933 by Andy’s grandad, Arthur Vater under the name of A H Vater & Sons. After it collapsed in 1992, Andy set up Andy Vater Light Haulage, now known as Andy Vater Transport and it has progressed since then.
Andy very kindly sent us the following story about the restoration of JUX 95V, a 10 tonne Bedford TK Marsden Vanplan-bodied pantechnicon lovingly restored to its former glory.
‘I started out in the restoration of older lorries with a 1978 Bedford TK Tipper modelled on one our family had run. Then we did a Volvo F6 SWB Tipper. This was a big job as she had stood for over 10 years but most of the praise must go to Stephen Fuller our mechanic. JUX 95V was new to Horsleys of Stafford in 1980. It stayed in service until it retired and was sold to the Bedford Removal Truck Museum in Ireland in 1999. It stayed there on show in the Museum until 2010 when it was bought by Webbs Removals in Ramsgate. Webbs painted it in their livery and used it for shows etc.
I bought the lorry from Webbs in 2013 and started the restoration which is still ongoing to this day. I have a great file of the history of the lorry that Webbs gave me. These include the first bill of sale through to inspection sheets, accident damage, and paperwork from when it was repaired by Marsden Van Plan following an accident. Details also include the bill of its sale from Horsleys to the Bedford Removal Truck Museum, and from them to Webbs.
I have not owned many vehicles with such a lot of history. These Bedford Marsdens are really rare now and there certainly aren’t many about that do the miles I have in her.
The lorry itself wasn’t too bad, just some rust issues underneath but nothing too bad. The first job was to get it to the paint shop for its repaint into our colours green and white. I could be accused of liking the colour green! Most things are not long in our yard before they get a dose of the green!! The worst problems on the restoration were sourcing suitable tyres of which I am still looking for four for the rear. They are not made any more so you have to change the wheels to early Ford Cargo 8 stud rims. They have the same dish as the Bedford rims and then modern tubeless tyres can be fitted. I managed to find and fit the front wheels and tyres but the four rears are still to find and fit.
The other main problem was the rear axle which was an odd variant to the lorry, but with the help of our local Bedford parts specialist Graham, an army rebuild one was found and fitted which after a year of road runs and travelling to shows threw up a few more problems such as seals, but this also got sorted. Other than that she’s been a “Good ole girl!”
I’ve travelled most of the country to take part on Road Run Days such as the London to Brighton, The Transpennine Run and many others along the way. I think “The Ole Girl” is going to have a rest this year in the shed. There’s a young pretender lurking in the yard, a 1987 Bedford CF car transporter (have you spotted a pattern yet with the Bedfords?) I always wanted one as it was the first truck I drove when I worked for my Dad many years ago. This one is just something a bit different being a transporter. However, I’m sure it’s feeling the odd one out as it’s blue at the moment so would only be fair to splash a bit of green about I reckon.’