The Bedford Rascal and Suzuki SuperCarry were originally built in the same factory in Luton, England between April 1986, and July 1993. It was a joint venture between General Motors and Suzuki, who GM owned shares in and who needed a replacement for their similar sized Carry model.
Available as a van or pick-up truck, the vehicle’s main attributes were it’s diminutive size and maximum payload weight (500kg for the van, 575 for the pick-up) - more than it’s main rival at the time, the Honda Acty.
From June 1990, the Rascal, along with the rest of the Bedford light commercial range (Astravan, Astramax, Midi van and KB pick-up) were badged as Vauxhalls.
When production ceased. Suzuki then sold a slightly modified version in the UK, built in Japan until it was replaced mid 1999 by the ‘bonneted’ Carry model, which has a higher payload capacity and a 1300cc engine (it is still under the seats though!). See the Links page for more information on the history of the Suzuki model.
Vauxhall made their first car in 1903, although the Vauxhall Ironworks, with the familiar griffin emblem, was set up in 1857. In 1925 the now Vauxhall Motors Limited was bought by General Motors. The Bedford name was introduced in 1931 as a commercial vehicle marque producing 2ton trucks very similar to GM’s Chevrolet models of the time. Bedford went on to be one of Britain’s major commercial vehicle manufacturers, creating the motto “You see them everywhere”. In 1987 however, due to substantial losses during the 1980s, production of trucks and buses was sold to David J. Brown, where they were produced under the AWD name. The much-reduced production was then sold to Marshall SPV in 1992, before finally closing in 1999.
For more information on the history of Bedford, I can recommend the two volumes (at present) of The Bedford Story by Stuart Broatch and Alan Townsin, published by Venture Publications.