customizing your vehicle

How to build a custom van.

Body Work - page still under construction, more to added yet


First we cut off the old guards.

There is an outer and inner skin to cut through.

In this case the 'old' guards are actually the first set we modified in 1985 but had been beaten up over the years and need a lot of repairs and a reshape to hug the tires more closely.


Protect the windows as we have or the metal sparks will totally ruin them .


Make a new tubing edging shaped and held in position by tack welded straps to form a temporary framework.











Cutting off the old guards













A tubing edge makes it easier


 The spring removed and the van lowered onto the bump stop for a clearance check at the front.

This shot shows a check at the stage where the guards have had some paneling welded on







Not much clearance but it works.

Making Templates

Working out the outer guard skin shape and drawing on cardboard.



Each guard has a semi circle shape like a fan when flat, and when the outer edged are pulled together form a cone or funnel which makes 2 guards

large dia - small dia , divide by 2 = A

width of guard divided by A = B

large dia divide by 2 X B = C (the Radius indicated by the ruler in the photo above)

 large dia X 3.14 = circumference of the outer cone

Use a compass to draw the outer edge of the fan shape to the circumference measurement as above, cut the fan in half and you have 2 guards.




Trim a cardboard template to shape.




The new steel skin being spot welded in place.

Back to the front

After some panel beating adjustment the gaps are closed and everything mig welded together, as shown in the pic on the right.

the procedure is the same front and rear.



Shortly to be finished with my favorite tool,,

The angle grinder!!


View From the Inside

 The inner part of the rear guards were modified to match up with the new bodywork sections. 









Never satisfied. more work. Made more room tho, was it worth it... hmmm 

Inner guard partially cut away


The inner guard trimmed to the desired height.

The inside view. Notice the bar holding out the body line. The welding shrank the steel and pulled the side in. It was sent to a professional panel beater ( Dough Smith Panel Beaters Tuam Street ) in 1999 for $1700 of panel beating which didn't really do much - apart from shrinking the side panels.The bar was an instant and remarkably successful fix. So much for the $1700 - DIY, do a better job and save the money.






The inner guard lost 100m in height to make more room inside the vehicle. It still clears the tire under full bump.

More to be posted on the inner guards soon

Parts for the inner guards being formed in the press




side door

 These hinges are concealed. Holes were cut in the frame with more mounting steel added and passenger door hinges were used. Note the covers over the factory access ports. Looks neater and adds strength to the frame.  Hint: If the bottom hinge was mounted a bit higher up the door frame it would fit the body work better.


More details later. The door can open only the same as the driver/passenger doors with these hinges. With the factory Bedford external hinges the door  swings open all the way. If I was starting again, I would....Leave it alone!

The pockets are handy for maps and 1st aid kit etc. The carpet and fabric lining stlye is consistent with the gull wing rear door







Concealed hinges. I don't remember how I figured this out . I was young and silly when I did it back in the late 1980s - so it can't be too hard to do.


Another view of the side door hinges before the lining went on.

The extra panel is to mount the inside door handle.








Steel has been removed from the lower part of the door for a large map pocket.

Rear door

The rear door is a gull wing made from the factory rear doors . 


 Ordinary gas struts open the door with ease even with the spare wheel mounted . 

The extra frame work has been added to accomodate the opening rear window.



 still to be trimmed but looking like a wheel well


A gull wing door with a recessed spare wheel well for a Bedford CF in the making.

The tail lights are Suzuki 4WD recessed - $350 brand new 1985. Still in service but behind a tinted cover these days.

Note the fuel filler. This was changed back to original position in later years.