Right from my childhood, I was very interested in automobiles. Be it cars, trucks or buses, they always fascinated me and my set of “Dinky Toys”, which were small die-cast scale models of real automobiles, were one of my most prized possessions during that time. Some of the models survived my childhood days and as I grew up, my outlook of them changed from mere toys to valuable collectibles and so, when scale models became available in India since the early 90s, I began collecting them. Soon, this became a hobby of mine.
My only gripe with the Indian scale model market was that there was seldom anything related or relevant to the Indian automotive scene. But that soon changed after this website called www.scalemodelcart.com appeared on the horizon. Their slogan “Diecast – get more than the usual” and sure enough, most of their products were unique, rare and nothing like anything I’d ever seen before. What got me really excited was that they had few models which played a very crucial roles in Indian history and as I was scrolling through their product list, something caught my eye which instantly pulled me down this wonderful sepia toned alleyway of childhood nostalgia. It was the model of a BEDFORD Truck.
For the young readers of this article who may not be familiar with this legendary vehicle, the Bedford J series of trucks was manufactured by Hindustan Motors at Uttarpara (District Serampore), West Bengal since 1948.
They could be seen on the Indian roads well into the 70s and were quite popular with government departments such as public works, municipal corporations, fire force and even the police.
For me, the Bedford Truck being a commonplace sight on the roads during my childhood days was in itself an ample reason for pangs of nostalgia but nevertheless, it also holds an even more personal connection to my early life. It, in fact, was my school bus at Lawrence School, Lovedale which is in Ooty (Tamil Nadu). I cherish wonderful memories of this machine draped in the school colours of red and blue, taking us kids on joyful picnics and school outings during my school days. The images of it belching out thick black smoke while climbing the Nilgiri hills and the driver Mr. Rangaswamy (affectionately called by us boys as, Ranga) manoeuvring it up the winding roads like a pro, are forever in my mind like vibrant vestiges of a bygone era.
Even though it happened to be a truck, I lost no time in purchasing the model from Scale Model Cart as I considered it to be one of my most sentimentally valuable pieces to be added to my collection. I thank Scale Model Cart for providing me with this exquisitely made piece of art which will always claim a decorated space in my scale model display shelf for itself.
I managed to get an undated picture of this magnificent vehicle from the internet. Looking as majestic as ever – my Bedford School Bus. Who knows, tomorrow www.scalemodelcart.com may even source the exact scale model of my school bus for me! Well....................................my Malgudi Days.
- Varun, Bangalore