The name refers to the Bedford VAM bus chassis of the British manufacturer Bedford Vehicles. It was built from 1965 to 1971.
In 1950, Bedford had the SB released, which was required according to the company from the market. The bus was able to establish successfully, but only allowed for one-man operation, in which the bus driver took over the role of the conductor, because of the far back past the entrance door only partially suitable for a conductor. Yeates developed the project FE44, however a bus with 44 seats had already been presented. The basis of FE44 was a modified SB chassis. The conversion, however, was without the consent of Vauxhall Motors, the parent company of Bedford, due to Vauxhall fearing the overloading of the chassis frame and the resulting fractures. By then, the FE44 was Bedford, however, pointed to the demand for such a bus was put before the 1965 VAM, (VA series medium.) The shorter or longer versions were called VAS and VAL respectively. Both the VAM and the VAL had a large front overhang that allowed the positioning of the front entry on the overhang.
The chassis of the VAM enabled structures of 36 feet in length, which was at that time in the United Kingdom was maximum permissible length for two-axle buses. The wheelbase was 4.9 m. Depending on the structure, it had the capacity for 41 to 45 seats.
The engine was located at the front. Originally, there were three options of six-cylinder engines: a 4.9-litre gasoline engine, a 5.4 litre diesel engine, both of Bedford, and the O.400 of Leyland with 6.6 litre displacement. From 1967, an optional 7.7-litre diesel engine of Bedford was the strongest version available. The buses with a gasoline engine could either be fitted with a manual switching synchronized four-or five-speed gearbox, however, diesel cars were only available with a five-speed gearbox. The braking system was different in two engine variants also.
The bodies came from Duple, Plaxton, Strachan, Willowbrook and Alexander. Duple designed in accordance with the designed for the VAS Bella Vista, and build the Bella Vega for the chassis, which corresponded to its clear lines with the zeitgeist of the early 1960s. The buses were manufactured as travel buses and multi-purpose buses.
After more than 9000 VAM chassis were produced, it was replaced by the Bedford Y, with its underfloor engine arranged in the same size more seats were fitted.
|VAM3||Six-cylinder gasoline engine with 4.9 l displacement of Bedford|
|VAM5||Six-cylinder diesel engine with 5.4 l displacement of Bedford|
|VAM14||Six-cylinder diesel engine with 6.6 l displacement of Leyland (O.400)|
|VAM70||Six-cylinder diesel engine with 7.7 l displacement of Bedford|