(first posted 12/10/2017) Several very good guesses but unfortunately no winners from yesterday’s CC Clue – but let’s take a look at this unique vehicle anyway. What we have here is a Bedford OB CAC 31/33 passenger bus – the CAC stands for Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, an Australian aviation company originally from Melbourne.
CAC CA 13 “Boomerang” Fighter
Incorporated in 1935, CAC was a privately owned company that expanded greatly during WW II and manufactured both indigenous and foreign aircraft designs in support of the war effort.
After the war, with aircraft production winding down, the Australian government wanted to retain the aluminum and metalworking skills it had developed within the workforce at CAC, so the company entered into a partnership with Bedford to supply aluminum bodies for the Bedford OB bus chassis.
The Bedford OB (O = series number, B = Bus) was built from 1939 to 1951, and with over 12,000 produced, was one of the more prolific buses of the inter and post-war period. It could be seen throughout the UK and most of the colonies.
A little over 16 feet in length, it could typically carry 25-29 passengers – power in early models was a small Bedford petrol 4 cylinder that produced only 28 horsepower. Later models had a version of the Chevrolet “Stovebolt” OHV inline six cylinder that had in been in use by Bedford since the mid-1930s. The chassis was semi-forward control, with the rear of the engine extending into the cabin – resulting in the somewhat “shrunken” nose and bonnet.
CAC had the chassis modified to a full forward control configuration, allowing more passenger space, and endowed it with a streamlined aluminum body with fully enclosed sides, similar to Nash models in the US. George Mason would have been a fan.
They were used for a variety of services; regular passenger to school bus.
Obviously, similar to the Nash, this body style tends to be fairly polarizing – as for the CAC, I give it a “thumbs up.”