Carshow Outake: 1955 Austin Loadstar BBC Outside Broadcast Van – Smile, You’re On Candid Camera!

1955 austin loadstar-4

If you like old trucks and the BBC, this is just your thing. If not, keep reading, because the tale is worth telling anyway.

1955 austin loadstar-2

Austin’s first new truck after the Second World War was the Loadstar, and was usually offered as a dropside or flatbed and rated for  one ton. It was powered by a 4L, 125 bhp engine, and was in many ways unremarkable; Ford, Bedford and Rootes in the UK were all building something similar.

A bare chassis-cab was also available, and this one has had the good fortune to be preserved and has a BBC history. Or does it?


In 2009, it looked like this – a regular dropside as used by thousand coal merchants across the country. And then its owner, a man called Brian Morgan,  then came across a photograph of the truck from 1957, in Manchester.

RXX905 on BBC active service

Photo from Historic Commercials magazine


This showed the same vehicle, registration RXX905 (UK registrations stay with the vehicle), being used by the BBC as an Auxiliary Power Vehicle, hosting a generator for an outside broadcast setup, and also acting as a camera platform. Indeed, this vehicle was used in this role for the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill, in January 1965.

1955 austin loadstar-1

The decision was taken to recreate the vehicle in its prime, in the BBC configuration, with a new body replacing the dropside with a recreation of the BBC van, albeit built with a softwood rather than a hardwood frame, and fitted with a caravan interior rather than the generator.

1955 austin loadstar-5

A thorough restoration of the chassis cab and an excellent finish in the BBC dark green completed the look, along with a mock-up camera on the top.

So, although not fully original, it most certainly looks it, has a great dose of period appeal and is in good (and very skilled) hands.

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So, what’s not to like? Much like the BBC itself, really.