- A short wheelbase 12 Seater registered as a shooting-brake
- 1508cc Engine
- Believed to be the only remaining Aristocrat Woody Split Screen roadworthy survivor
- Stored for two decades
- Comprehensively rebuilt
- Retains original registration VXR 409
This Bedford CA Aristocrat is more than just another classic vehicle. It represents so much more than that. Not to overstate things – this a historically significant classic. It shaped the social and commercial history of Britain.
In the 60’ & 70’s the cute, ‘snub-nosed’ Bedford was everywhere. It was impossible to travel more than five minutes before spotting one. As the Sixties began to swing, the short wheelbase, light delivery van with its sliding doors was transforming and transporting a booming post war Britain.
For many, the Dormobile version of the classic Bedford CA holds many precious memories.
When Bedford unveiled the CA in the mid ‘50s, it was a bit special. The specification included
- Independent front suspension
- A modern powertrain layout
- Front-mounted longitudinally-oriented engine
- Rear-wheel drive, via a 3-speed gearbox mounted immediately behind the engine
- Drive was conveyed to a live rear axle via an open prop shaft.
These models are referred to colloquially, quite correctly, as Dormobiles. The legend on the inscribed plaque inside the Bedford says ‘The Aristocrat by Kenex’. Even that is interesting.
- Kenex were a subsidiary of the Folkstone Motor Company and well known for their Dormobile conversions
- In 1951, Folkstone Motor Company redeveloped commercial premises in 55-56 Castle Street in Dover
- In 1955 a disastrous fire broke out wiping out the building so Kenex moved again
- In 1962, Martin Walker Ltd, took over Kenex and conversions moved to their HQ in Folkstone
This paints a picture of post war Britain booming and flourishing, exporting British goods around the globe. With nearly 400,000 produced, the charming Bedford CA was a huge feature of those boom times. Those of us lucky enough to arrive in to the world in that era are called ‘boomers’ for a reason.
- This Bedford CA was first registered on 24 October 1958
- It was discovered in a barn in 2012 where we understand it had been stored there since the 1980’s
- As you can see, this Bedford CA has been meticulously restored with little thought given to cost
- The CA retains its original 6 digit UK vehicle registration – VXR 409
This Aristocrat is a celebrity in its own lunchtime. It is believed to be the ONLY roadwo rthy surviving Aristocrat Woody Split Screen in the World! Check it out.. It has numerous magazine and on-line media articles, providing it with a unique and outstanding provenance. The last little spot-light of celebrity to shine on the Bedford was as recently as June 2022 when it appeared in ‘Classics Monthly’ – images courtesy of Classics Monthly are below
If it isn’t broken, why change it, was Bedford’s clear mantra. The overall profile and construction of the CA changed little during the vehicle’s seventeen-year life.
The first and very rarest CAs like this one featured a split screen windscreen with a wide central pillar. The characterful snub-nose design was retained throughout.
- Two sliding front doors
- ‘Barn doors’ to the rear
- Opening/sliding windows
- Two tone paintwork
- Numerous extremely rare original features
We are advised the body restoration was completed to an extremely high standard. This includes the sperate chassis.
On file is comprehensive documentation, with photographs, in a large ring binder.
The two glorious sliding doors on this short wheel base Bedford CA work as they should. So called ‘barn doors’ at the back, give easy access to of the lovely interior. There are a number of sliding windows as well.
The bonnet has a service panel, which is period correct.
We understand all exterior brightwork has been re-chromed and is in “immaculate condition”.
The Aristocrat came with and this one has retained many unique features; chrome Aristocrat bonnet crest, chrome Aristocrat script window badge, Aristocrat body plaque. It is all present and correct.
If, like us, you think the outside is astonishing, you’ll find the inside a pure delight.
- 12 seater shooting-brake style
- Under-seat storage
- Tilt facility in front seats
- Absolutely adorable
The genuine Aristocrat body plaque is fitted. Along with those are the Bedford and manufacturers plates. There is a lockable under seat storage. The nearside front and middle row of seats slide and tilt. The headlining is new, along with the floor. Period correct green sun visors are at the front.
The exclusive wooden window frames, rear curved windows and wooden exterior trim are all wonderfully unique features of this rare Bedford CA Aristocrat classic.
As always, we’re keen to let vendor voices appear in our description. This is what Fred told us.
“Extremely rare, unique and original 1958 Bedford CA SWB Aristocrat 12 Seater Station Wagon “SHOOTING-BRAKE”, built by KENEX.
Now 64 years old, this is believed to be the ONLY surviving ARISTOCRAT WOODY SPLIT SCREEN CA on the road, WORLDWIDE! We are yet to be proven otherwise!
Feel free to enter BEDFORD CA ARISTOCRAT into Google and you will find only this actual vehicle covered in a magazine and photographed at various classic vehicle shows in recent years. Kenex were later brought out by the more well known company called DORMOBILE from Folkestone, ENGLAND. This charming vehicle was found in a barn in 2012 after being put there in the mid 1980’s. The vehicle has been meticulously restored by its previous owner with no expense spared and retains it’s original 6 digit, 3 letters and 3 numbers, UK vehicle registration of VXR 409.
The 1508cc engine starts on the button and the vehicle drives perfectly, the clutch and 3 speed column change gearbox is without fault. The body restoration was completed to an extremely high standard along with the chassis which has been documented thoroughly with photographs, enclosed in a ring binder. Having two sliding doors to the front that operate effortlessly and barn doors to the rear, access to any part of the interior is easy. There are a number of sliding windows to the vehicle also. The bonnet has an opening service panel correct to the vehicle and a surrounding larger bonnet panel is easily removed via 4 turn clips for more in-depth servicing and maintenance. There is also a large interior access engine cover operated by turn handle. All exterior chrome was re-chromed and is in immaculate condition. Wheel spats to the rear exterior as standard really set this classic van off. Being a very rare Aristocrat it has unique features; chrome Aristocrat bonnet crest, chrome Aristocrat script window badge, Aristocrat body plaque fitted to internal engine bay cover, Driver under seat storage lockable locker, N/S/F & Middle row seats slide and tilt arrangement and finally the exclusive wooden window frames, rear curved windows and wooden exterior trim are all unique to this rare Aristocrat vehicle
The interior has its original Bedford chassis and makers plates, (V5 Document in hand), to the side of footwell and retains its original 12 seat layout with only the drivers seat and rear armrests to rear being recovered. The headlining was replaced to original specification during restoration, along with a complete new floor. Period green sun-visors are fitted for both passenger and driver.
The 5 tyres were brand new on completion of restoration, including the spare fitted underneath that has not been used. This vehicle was Front Cover featured in Classic Van & Pickup Magazine March 2016 with the title reading “Bedford Aristocrat” “CA Designed For The Upper Classes”!
It has also been featured in the June 2022 issue of Classics monthly”
As you all know, we’re not generally lost for words, but when Fred Dukes, Chairman of the Vauxhall Viva Owners Club contacted us about his pride and joy, we were rendered speechless. We realise what an honour it is to market such a remarkable classic.
It is difficult to add anything to Fred’s words that would not diminish them in some way.
We understand this is the only genuine Aristocrat left. For us, that says everything.
Good luck bidding! Please remember, our site uses anti-sniping software which ensures fairness to all bidders. So, if a bid for a lot is received in the last minute, the auction will go into a 2-minute overtime period for each subsequent bid.
Vehicle Location: Newport, Shropshire TF10 – it’s the responsibility of the buyer to make collection / transportation arrangements directly with the vendor.
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