customizing your vehicle

How to build a custom van.


 It began in 1982 when 17yr old Colin  fell off a horse and broke his leg. As he lay in agony on the hard earth he swore from that day forth to have 4 wheels beneath and never again use 4 legs as his mode of transport.


  A couple of years later he purchased a 3 year old Bedford CF 2.3 auto for $4500 from Cooper Henderson Motors.  Around that time personalized plates became available and for reason he decided to name his first vehicle 'Hoss' possibly because he had been watching episodes of the old cowboy movie Bonanza and one of the characters was named ,, Hoss.

That name had been taken, so the next best thing was 'Moose'


Photos to be scanned as there was only 'kodak'colour prints back then.


None of the modifications have been certified as the work was done before the law changed in the early 90s so a declaration form is all that is required. Sometime in the future the 14" and 15" wheels may need to be replaced with 17s or 18s as the old wide tire sizes are hard to come by these days. As the guards have been made to hug the tires the closest height and widths in modern 17s or 18'' are being checked out. The stud pattern may then need to be altered and certified.

Check out the Wheels and Tyres page for a tyre size calculator.



Tom white, on the left, was a great help at the start of the modifications and showed the 'boys' how to weld and work with sheet metal.


Ford Motor in a Bedford????

Young Colin had a Ford 3L V6 motor and a set of 12"wide Kelly supercharger tires that he had purchased for a T Bucket (or C cab) that he and a friend were in the process of constructing. That project lost its appeal for some reason and he wondered what would suit the motor and tires. He decided he would customize a Bedford van to utilize the leftover parts.

Running gear

The V6 motor and 4 speed box were used initially.

Diff. Standard Bedford 4.6

And did it go! The kelly superchargers were very easy to smoke up from the lights and with the low gearing the moose could sprint off the mark and pull up hills  leaving many surprised car drivers in the dust. A 5 speed Toyota box made open road traveling easier in overdrive with plenty of torque left even for hill work.

Suspension: With everything set up the ride is firm but it corners flat and holds the road well.

The OEM front springs and shock absorbers having worn out were replaced with aftermarket shocks and heavy duty shorter coils. The really stiff rear springs were replaced with a softer set which gave the stance a neat rake -which was fashionable back then. The ride and handling was much improved.

 Other parts like the radiator and steering are standard Bedford and do the job just fine. Actually the steering is dead straight and drives as well as any decent car apart from being very heavy when parking.

Transit power steering units can be grafted in. There is a Toyota people mover power rack purchased from Murray McQuoid Engineering to be fitted.



Wheels and Tires

Arrow Wheels made a set of Trident style mags, 14x9 front and 15x11 rear which were fitted with the 12" Kelly Superchargers and 265/50 x 14 BF Goodrich on the front.

Several sets of tires have been used up over the years starting with names like Kelly and BF then Eagers and Hankook .

Body work

 1985, Once the wheels were fitted the guards were constructed.  Some details are on the Construction page.

The body was rust free as would be expected with a vehicle only a few years old but having been an Air New Zealand courier van it had a lot of dings and bog repairs from a short but hard life.

A list of modifications that were done over about 12 months:

Flares and wheels. construction page

Rear pan. see home page

Gull wing rear door with recessed spare wheel and flip up perspex rear window.

Tail lamp modifications .

Sunroof. Neatly grafted in with rain channels around the sides. No thick layers of sealant.

Side door hidden hinges and shaved handles.

Passenger drivers doors shortened with flush handles.

Running boards between the flares.

Front air dam. redone in 2007

new tube grill- 1 of many

headlamps. Falcon to start with, Maxima later

front indicators mods





 The Moose was doomed to drive around in primer or various shades of grey or white topcoat in patches for 20 years while the final colour was decided on. That came about by chance when 4 litres of a metallic blue for a Corvette went smokey and the shop sold it cheap. 

In Jan 2007 the moose was stripped ( again) to bare metal, repaired and panel beaten. Some cosmetic mods to the airdam, grill and headlights were done for a 'chevron' look then on went the paint - along with a number of insects.


More on that later with a "how not to apply your own paint job " :o)



 The airdam was opened up at the front.The headlamps were swapped from Falcon ( Fairmont) to Maxima and the main grill shaped to suit


 Almost ready for a coat of paint





The moose being stripped for repairs in 2007. 

The airdam had the 'slots' reshaped to be chevron shaped rather than retangular