By the early 1930s, vans built on light truck chassis were starting to enter the fleet. Some of these were designed for a specific task, such as this one used to move parcels between ships and the Chief Post Office in Wellington. Parcels would have come into and left New Zealand in traditional mailbags that would have been loaded/ unloaded by rope nets from the ship’s hold.
This W series ‘British’ Bedford entered service in May 1936. With a 6-cylinder 19kW (26hp) engine it had a capacity of 1½ ton. From the front window back, the body would have had a timber frame covered in sheet tin and built in the P&T Workshops. The roof was most likely canvas. Compared with other similar vehicles at the time, the body design is unusual with the curved front – perhaps this was an early acknowledgment of the effects of airflow around the front of a vehicle. It is an adaptation of the Luton body, common in furniture removal trucks. Luton truck bodies take their name from the English town of Luton, the traditional home of Bedford trucks.