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Old 14 Aug 2012
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Nr Thame, Oxon
Posts: 1
1988 Bedford MJ Overland Camping Truck

Bob (Big Orange Bedford) has his own website which, not surprisingly, is
Overland Expedition Camping Truck for Sale! - Bob is For Sale!
where even more details of this amazing overland machine can be found!

Please note that Bob is currently in Gordons Bay, Cape Town, South Africa, ready to be driven round Southern Africa and perhaps northwards.

Bob is a 1988 Bedford MJ 4x4 “Dropside 4 tonner”, ex British army. He “retired” from the British Army in 1997 and came to me in 2007. He is last generation truck technology meaning that there is no computerised engine management system. The 5.8 litre turbo diesel engine is extremely simple – anyone with a very basic knowledge of diesel engines and a minimum of engineering skill can fix any problems that arise “alongside the road”. On the trip down to Cape Town (19,431kms covered) the most significant repair was the replacement of the braking master cylinder which was undertaken in a few hours in Nanyuki, Kenya. This is a supremely tough and reliable truck.

Bob carries most of his own spare parts, including a couple of leaf springs, clutch friction plate, fuel pump, starter motor, alternator, master cylinder actuator, brake seals, steering column parts, wiper blades and arms, wing mirrors, inner tubes, etc. As a Bedford, now quite an old make, spares are not readily available around the world but they can be ordered on the international market, particularly from the UK where there are numerous suppliers. This is likely to remain the case as the British army finally relinquishes its remaining Bedford MJ’s into private ownership. Spare parts can be flown out to a post restant address in any country (you collect at the post office) or to a private address. On his trip south through Africa some small spare parts were flown out to Khartoum, having been ordered in advance from north Sudan, and some gaskets were ordered to be posted to Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

Bob comes with a set of original Bedford manuals and a lever arch file of British army manuals on “how to do the job”. There is also a lever arch file with the instruction manuals for all the equipment and installations.

Bob weighs in at 9 tons. This means you probably need an extension to your driving license to drive this vehicle legally. The weight cannot be reduced to allow the truck to be driven on a standard car license without compromising the whole concept and function of the vehicle. If you are seriously contemplating touring Africa then going on a short driving course and passing a test should not be too challenging for you. In the event of a sale it will be necessary for me to have my carnet de passage “stamped out” of South Africa on the Zimbabwe, Mozambique or Angola border (NB not other borders) so the initial trip can be with me to familiarise you with the vehicle and how all the systems work.

Bob cruising speed is not fast, around 70kms/hr and max speed is 80kms/hr. (This might be improved by fitting a 5 speed gearbox but no promises!) However the cab armchair seats are very comfortable; the height of the cab enables you to view the countryside and the speed gives you lots of time to look around and take photos, perhaps from the observation/gunners hatch in the cab roof! However speed is not really an issue in most of Africa - 70kms/hr is plenty fast enough on most roads.

Fuel consumption for a 9 ton truck is very reasonable at 19 litres for every 100 kilometres or, if you prefer English, roughly 15mpg. This fuel consumption figure was obtained whilst driving on smooth and relatively level roads in France. Off road the consumption will be more, of course. By the way, we found that Bob also runs on used vegetable oil without any modifications to the engine.

The accommodation is supremely comfortable and safe. The height of the windows means that no one can see in, whilst you can see out. The cab is also high, dominating the road. You are looking down on other road users, police and customs, hawkers etc. When you arrive somewhere you barely have to get out of the vehicle to lay up for the night – just unclamp and fix the access ladder and turn the gas supply on – after that you can stay inside the back if the weather is poor or the natives hostile!

Bob is being sold as a fully equipped travelling truck, not a half completed project. The sale includes all kitchen utensils, crockery, cutlery, food containers, tools (including an extensive socket set) bed linen (duvets, mattresses, mattress covers, pillows etc) spare fuel cans, two bicycles etc. etc. A full inventory is listed below.

Similar vehicles are made in Germany by Unicat. You can get an idea of the present vehicles for sale second hand by visiting this website -
UNICAT� - going there is half the fun

Bob is a travelling machine designed for a maximum of four persons. Two can travel in the back where there are seat belts fitted to the forward facing seats. There are two single beds in the back and two people can sleep in the
rooftop tent. If only two people are travelling the accommodation is positively luxurious!

You can see from the photographs that Bob's equipment and inventory includes:

100 litre 12v fridge with icebox
90 litre 12v freezer
Gas hob
Gas grill
Gas oven
(All of the above are sitting on a thick foam base to absorb shock)
Full sized shower
Kitchen sink with washing water and drinking water taps
Instantaneous gas water heater, to serve shower, kitchen sink and basin
Thetford chemical WC
Wash hand basin with washing water and drinking water taps
Medicine cupboard
Digital safe
10 x 20 litre water cans; one pumped system; one manual system
Two yacht hatches in the roof (Lewmar)
2 chests of drawers with single bed over
Dining area/ single bed
Drying cupboard and hanging cupboard
7 wall cupboards
240v mains power from the battery bank (860amp/hr), up to 1.5kw output
12v power socket outputs
Full lighting and spotlights
Blinds and mosquito netting to windows and hatches
2 fire extinguishers in the back, one in the cab
Fire blanket
Cooling fans over both bunks
Three Maglite torches in the back, one LED Maglite in the cab
Diesel central heating (Eberspacher)
Cooling fans in the cab
“Armchair” seats in the cab
4 fluorescent vests
2 warning triangles
Spare bulbs for headlamps, side lights spotlights etc.
Hand held spotlamp
Magnetic compass in the cab
Two person rooftop tent
2 bicycles on rack to rear
Fiamma awning fitted to nearside
Honda 2kw generator
6 x 20 litre fuel jerrycans
2 x 13kg propane gas cylinders
Propane gas BBQ (portable)
Sterling Power Products Inverter/battery charger (1.4kw)
Sterling Power Products Circuit distribution board
Sterling Power Products 24v/12v battery to battery charger
Standby 12v/24v battery charger
2 x 25 metre mains electrical cables & connectors/adapters
4 x solar panels on the roof for trickle charge to batteries, 5A max output
Halfords socket set, imperial & metric sizes
240v electric drill & extension cable
General tool kit
2 x tow ropes (mostly for pulling Land Rovers and Toyotas out of trouble!)
Tow chain for trucks
12 ton hydraulic jack
Engine immobiliser
Vehicle alarm system with movement detector in the accommodation
Rear view camera system
2 x hand held CB radios

Price £37,500 GBP or you could try an offer!

To register your interest, make an offer or just ask a question, please email
david@bigorangebedford.com

Here's a couple of Youtube links so you can see Bob in action on the army ranges in Hampshire before leaving for Africa.

Big Orange Bedford MJ on Test - YouTube

Bedford at Slab Common - YouTube
Attached Thumbnails
1988 Bedford MJ Overland Camping Truck-img_1316.jpg  

1988 Bedford MJ Overland Camping Truck-img_1319.jpg  

1988 Bedford MJ Overland Camping Truck-img_1302.jpg  

1988 Bedford MJ Overland Camping Truck-img_1307.jpg  

1988 Bedford MJ Overland Camping Truck-img_1309.jpg  

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