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Bollywood movie Shahenshah made good business. It was released in the late 80’s and had Amitabh Bachchan play the role of a lead protagonist. Son of a righteous police officer who is framed by the very people he is investigating, and thus compelled to end his life in a way, Bachchan’s role is that of a corrupt spineless cop by the day and a crime fighting machine by night. Not exactly Robinhood, but a bit on the same lines. In a crucial sequence as he turns out to fight against crime one evening, camouflaged to look older than he is, unkempt grey streaks of hairs drooping down his forehead, so the criminals are not able to find out who he really is, Bachchan is shown having set up a trap. He is behind the wheel of a Bedford truck painted in a bright shade of red. Quite unlike for a truck with a big ‘T’ written on the sides. But then, this is the truck of the villian played by Amrish Puri and used to transport his smuggled and stolen booty. Confident of having got at him, the criminals led by Amrish Puri, fire at Bachchan, dressed as a Shahenshah. Certain that he have finally killed him, they get closer. As Puri opens the driver door of the turn, Shahenshah’s mannequin tumbles down. It falls on Puri taking him down with it.

Roughly resembling Robinhood, Shahenshah emerges on the scene much to the surprise of the criminals. He picks them out as a fight ensues. At the end of the fight he is shown blowing up the Bedford truck, signalling the end of a criminal empire. The truck’s gone but not without leaving a lasting impression. Bedford trucks in India were built by Hindustan Motors. They emerged on the scene sometime in the late 50s. The first model to be introduced was the J4. Soon the J5 followed, and was replaced by the J6. They were a part of the TJ series. With a payload of five tonnes, the J5 boasted of an amount of local content. Hindustan Motors took upon itself to localise the truck right from its inception. Not quite different from its predecessor, or its successor in terms of appearance, the Bedford truck was made distinctive by its fascia. It contained a grille made up of horizontal slats. On either side were round head lamps. The front seemed to have been set into a scooped up section of the body and cowl that were fairly rounded and bulbous. The J5 was powered by a Perkins P6 86 hp, 4.7-litre six-cylinder diesel engine. The Perkins P6, when introduced, was projected by the company as the world’s lightest engine. It was claimed to match the power of a petrol engine. Many trucks at the time the Bedford J5 was being offered, came equipped with a petrol engine. The front axle of the J5 was rated at 3728 kg. The rear axle was rated at 8182 kg.

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