Gordon Bedson

Gordon Bedson

Gordon Bedson was born in the Channel Islands in 1918 and became a prolific, if slightly eccentric, designer. His career started in the mid 30's at Weybridge where he founded the Airscrew company, making propellers, then developed a training aircraft with Robert Kronfeldt.

When war broke out, he was co-opted to to the Bristol Aircraft Company, birthplace of the 500 movement. Post was, he joined BOAC flying Halifax bombers, converted for civilian operation, on the African routes.  In 1950, he joined Vickers and played a part in the development of the Valliant jet bomber, though this also gave Gordon access to their extensive engineering capabilities including one of the most advanced wind tunnels in the world, which he put to use designing and building racing cars.

Though not known as a driver, Gordon made at least one competitive outing in October 1950, driving a Cooper at Brands Hatch, taking a second in the heats of the junior championship. He sometimes acted as mechanic for Alan Brown so perhaps it was Alan's Mk IV. During late 1951, Gordon designed the Mackson, with Mac McGee, the name being a merging of their names, and it's no coincidence that the Mackson featured a distinctly bulbous and aerodynamic form but he also moonlighted for the opposition, wind tunnel testing the Cooper Mk V Streamliner which set numerous records at Montlhéry in October 1951.

In 1952 Bedson quit the Mackson concern and joined Kieft as chief designer. He drew the 650 and 1100 sports cars then the Kieft Formula 1 car, the first to use a Coventry Climax V8 engine. Sadly, Coventry Climax believed the inflated power claims from Ferrari and Maserati and withdrew the engine. The car never raced competitively and Gordon left to join Henry Meadows as sales director, mostly travelling the world selling generators but, while in India in 1956 he put together the idea of a small car based on Lamberetta components which would become the Meadows Frisky. The body was designed by Michelotti with Gordon engineering the chassis and Villiers two-stroke power was eventually chosen.

Gordon at the wheel of the Frisky "Sport" prototype

In 1958 he was approached by the Lightburn company of Australia to design a small car for them and migrated to Australia to join Lightburn's in 1959. Gordon designed and built the Zeta Sports, and also a Saab based Sports car but  Lightburn argued with Saab and the project was cancelled at the last minute. The Zeta sports did not go on sale for 3 years and Gordon became frustrated and left. He briefly worked for the Australian-British Trade Association before quitting engineering to go into the restaurant business.

Many years later, Gordon developed an ultra light two aircraft, the Resurgam. Sadly, in 1984, the prototype two seater  version suffered a structural failure with him at the controls, crashed killing Gordon Bedson.