The TK range from GM in the UK replaced the Bedford S type in 1960, and served as the basis for a variety of derivatives, including fire engines, horse boxes, tippers, flatbed trucks, and other specialist utilities. Available with inline four or inline six cylinder petrol and diesel engines from Bedford, Leyland and Perkins, the TK was the quintessential light truck in the United Kingdom through most of the 1960s and 1970s, competing with the similar Ford D series. It was available in rigid form, and also as a light artic tractor unit. There was also a military 4x4 version called the MK. Corgi Classics made good use of this cab too follow this link to see those trucks elsewhere in the Little Wheels Museum: Bedford TK Corgi Classics
The Corgi when it was released caused a bit of excitement I recall, not least because of those foil covered mirrors - Corgi being first again.
1130 Chipperfields Horse Box
This was the first outing for the new Bedford TK cab with a trailer of it's very own, not one inherited from the old S Type. This horse trailer though outlived the cab by some decades. It had another outing with the TK as the 'Newmarket' re-hash in 1973 and then came back again in 1976 with a Berliet tractor unit. Later in the 1990s Corgi Classics brought it back as a Chipperfields trailer behind a Bedford O and as transport for the Whitbread Brewery heavy dray horses behind the Atkinson.
That's all in the future though - when this came out it was a knockout. A great model, good engineering and play value by the lorry load. The red and blue Chipperfields version had a very long life from 1962 to 1971 and sales were high at nearly 700,000 never the less values remain fairly strong for this ever popular Corgi. There are three listed variations, it can have spun hubs or cast hubs, the labels can also have a green background, Values are similar for all.
1105 Carrimore Car Transporter
The old car transporter trailer that was originally paired with the S Type cab unit is now tagged on the back of the TK cab. The TK version was released in 1962 and remained in the range until 1966 during which time it also featured in a number of gift sets each with a suitable payload of cars. There are no listed variations. This is a popular model and will always demand a good price. As a piece it works very well, with the Glidamatic suspension, detailed interior and mirrors it is very good.
GS27 Machinery Carrier & Cub Shovel
The Digger as a stand-alone item stayed in the range for 13 years and you can see why. It was a splendid piece of miniature engineering. Not only is it an accurate model of a Priestman digger, it has been well thought out and beautifully made. The knob on the side takes the digger through a continuous, circular cycle of a digging action, emptying the bucket at the end of each pass. It must be one of Corgi's best engineered items, better even then the Simon Snorkel fire engine. The set was released in 1963 and stayed in production until 1971 with no listed variations, however both the truck and the shovel did go through a number of minor changes so they will be variations as they fed through.
1131 Machinery Carrier
It is a re-release of the 1958 original with the addition of the newer Bedford TK cab unit and the loss of the winch from the trailer. This is the first example of de-speccing I can find as a cost saving. Production of this revised version ran from 1963 to 1966 when it was deleted. The cab is always blue, the trailer is always silver/grey. The detachable rear axle can be yellow or black. Lorries with the yellow rear axle will get a small premium over the ones with a black rear axle.
1132 Low Loader
A re-release of the 1958 original with the substitution of the newer Bedford TK cab for the old Big Bedford S unit and the loss of the winch from the trailer. This and the 1131 Machinery Carrier, both lose the winch, no doubt to manage the margin on the product. The revised Low-Loader was made from 1963 through to deletion in 1964. The cab is always yellow, the trailer is red and the two-piece rear ramp is yellow. Fewer of these were sold than the Machinery Carrier and they are consequently harder to find and a lot more expensive now. It took me ages to find one of these and even then it's got the wrong cab unit, it should be yellow, and the loading ramp is missing the end piece.
GS28 Car Transporter & Four Cars
The Car Transporter Gift Set was the very first Corgi Gift Set back in 1957 with this same trailer being hauled back then by the Bedford S Type unit and with an Austin A55, a Jag Mk1 and a pair of sports cars, a Healey and an MG on the back. It has been through three changes of payload since then while retaining the same Big Bedford tractor unit, now we have the replacement for the Big Bedford and it is the TK. Aboard we have a FIAT, a Renault, a Merc and a Ford - only one British car this time - good models though, all of them.
503 Chipperfields Giraffe Transporter
Real clever thinking here, using the TK articulated tractor cab unit as a self-contained animal transporter, The rear ramp lowers and there are a pair of giraffes inside. This was issued later on in a Daktari set in a sort of khaki and beige camo finish so if you come across one of those it is not necessarily a repaint. The Giraffe transporter was first released in June 1964. The core range item is always red with a blue rear container. Most of them have spun hubs but some of the later ones have the more detailed cast hubs. They are fairly easy to find so values are not that high. Later releases with the cast hubs get a good premium though which is even better if it is in a window box.
1127 Simon Snorkel Fire Engine
A piece of genuine precision engineering excellence from Corgi - well designed and well made. It sold well over a million pieces over 12 years, which probably accounts for the fact that prices can be modest. It is a must have though, one of the peaks of engineering achievement for the brand. The pantograph mechanism for raising and lowering the cherry picker is amazing, clever, precise and durable. I've sold 13 of these over the years and I had to go back to pictures taken in 2005 by me to find the mechanism being shown. I shall have words with my photographers! Production began in 1964, being released in September of that year. It was finally deleted in 1976. Early releases have spun hubs and are in a pre-formed polystyrene box and a cardboard lid with artwork, the early spun hubs were first replaced with the cast spoked hubs. I've also seen it with wheels similar to later Whizzwheels, but on standard axles, the last releases had the larger cast wheels seen on the TK Tipper. Later releases are in a black & yellow window box. Some releases have the pantograph rods in silver chrome plate, most of them have gold coloured chrome on the rods, this occurs all through the life of the toy.
1140 Mobilgas Tanker
Two familiar pieces put together. The Bedford TK cab unit has been around since 1962 and this tanker trailer first tuned up behind the S Type Bedford unit in 1959. Now they are together. The tanker has been seen with petrol (here), milk and military fuel. It is getting on a bit by 1965 though. No tankers were this shape by then and it is quite surprising to see a new corgi in 1965 with a tin bottom. This version of the Mobilgas tanker replaced the one with the Big Bedford tractor unit in 1965. It remained in the range for two years and was deleted in 1967. There are no listed variations.
494 Tipper Truck
This is such a nice combination of the old ERF Earth Dumper and the newish Bedford TK tractor unit, the old ERF must have been looking very long in the tooth by 1966. To my mind it's a shame they changed the wheels. I like the silver turned hubs you get on the other versions of the TK. These wheels remind me of the rather poor Newmarket Horse Box that came a year or two later. The Bedford Tipper was released in December 1966 and remained in the range until 1972. There are four colour variations, most of them are red with a yellow tipper, some red ones have a silver grey tipper. It is also seen with a blue cab and yellow tipper or yellow with a blue tipper. The blue/yellow variations are the hardest to find and worth the most. The red truck with a grey tipper gets a reasonable premium over the red/yellow version.
1104 Newmarket Racing Stables
OK, where do I start. What were they thinking of? Surely by 1973 the Bedford TK was an antique! And why did they take away the detail from the radiator grille? How did that either save money or enhance the model? In any case it is an attempt to get some more mileage out of the old Chipperfields horse box produced from 1962 through to 1972. Now, as someone who was a boy when the TK Bedford first came out - both real and model - one of the most fun things about the toy was those big silly mirrors, gone on this model leaving it looking strangely bereft. And the other fun thing about Corgi artics is detaching the cab - on this it's screwed on. This model was specced by a cost accountant with no sense of fun! The interior tack room detail is nice though. The Newmarket Horse transporter was released in 1973 and deleted in 1977. It is always green and is reported as being found in metallic or gloss green. It came with four racehorses and a stable lad. As an aside; I add a number to each model I buy, the original example of this truck used on this website was No.26, the updated item featured here is No.163,984, at the time of writing (July 2022) we are up to No.201,000.
Order of Release
|Corgi Toys 1130; Bedford TK Chipperfield’s Circus Horse Transporter||Corgi Toys 1105; Bedford TK Carrimore Car Transporter; Red Cab, Blue Trailer||Corgi Toys GS27; Bedford TK Machinery Carrier and Cub Shovel; Blue, Silver. Orange||Corgi Toys 1131; Bedford TK Machinery Carrier; Blue & Grey, Detachable Rear Axle||Corgi Toys 1132; Bedford TK Carrimore Low Loader|
|Corgi Toys GS28; Bedford TK Car Transporter & Four Cars||Corgi Toys 503; Bedford TK Chipperfield's Giraffe Transporter; Red Cab, Blue Plastic Body, Spun Hubs||Corgi Toys 503; Bedford TK Giraffe Transporter; Yellow With Giraffe Pattern Back From The Daktari Gift Set||Corgi Toys 1127; Bedford TK Simon Snorkel Fire Engine, Early Box, Spun Hubs, Gold Plated Rods||Corgi Toys 1127; Bedford TK Simon Snorkel Fire Engine, Early Box, Spun Hubs, Silver Plated Rods|
|Corgi Toys 1127; Bedford TK Simon Snorkel Fire Engine, Cast Spoked Hubs||Corgi Toys 1127; Bedford TK Simon Snorkel Fire Engine, Later Box, Whizzwheels Style Hubs, Gold Plated Rods||Corgi Toys 1127; Bedford TK Simon Snorkel Fire Engine; Later Box, Large Cast Hubs, Gold Plated Rods||Corgi Toys 1140; Bedford TK Mobilgas Tanker||Corgi Toys 494; Bedford TK Tipper Truck; Red, Yellow Tipper, Cast Hubs|
|Corgi Toys 1104; Bedford TK Race Horse Transporter|