GUY Motors Wolverhampton England UK

       Guy Motors                       Guy Motors logo

Aerial_View,_Guy_Motors_Ltd.,_Fallings_Park,_WolverhamptonAn aerial view of Guy Motors’ Fallings Park Factory

1953 Guy GS bus built for London Transport1953 Guy GS bus built for London Transport

Guy Motors was a Wolverhampton-based vehicle manufacturer that produced cars, lorries, buses and trolleybuses. The company was founded by Sydney S. Guy (1885-1971) who was born in Kings Heath, Birmingham. Guy Motors operated out of its Fallings Park factory from 1914 to 1982, playing an important role in the development of the British motor industry.


Foundation and the First World War

Sydney S. Guy registered Guy Motors Limited on Saturday 30 May 1914, the same day he departed his position as Works Manager at the Wolverhampton company, Sunbeam. A factory was built on the site at Fallings Park, Wolverhampton. and by September 1914 production was underway on the newly designed 30cwt lorry. This employed a much lighter form of pressed steel frame, unlike the more commonly used heavy rolled steel channel frames of the time. This made the vehicle able to cross difficult terrain and a 14 seat poster bus built based on the design was used for crossing the Scottish Highlands.

Guy's 14 seater bus designed for use in the highlandsGuy’s 14 seater bus designed for use in the highlands

In 1915 Guy came under control of the Ministry of Munitions and production was focused on the war effort. The factory continued to produce 30cwt lorries which were supplied to Britain’s allies in the First World War. They also produced Wasp and Dragonfly radial aircraft engines, Tylor truck engines and Maudslay gearboxes as well as being the country’s largest maker of depth charge fuzes. For their efforts during the war Guy received a commendation from William Weir, Secretary of State for Air. Due to orders from the ministry Guy prospered during the war, expanding its factory and became an established name in British manufacturing.


The post-war period was difficult for the motor industry as military contracts were cancelled and military vehicles no longer required for service were sold onto the market at low prices. Guy returned to the civilian market, deciding to make luxury cars with a design by RH Rose, also from Sunbeam. They produced the Guy 8-cylinder car, powered by the first British V8 engine and featuring horizontal side valves. Around 25 of these were made and it was joined by a smaller model in 1922 with the 2465 cc four-cylinder 16.9 hp. A cheaper model followed in 1924 with the 1954 cc 13/36 with an engine from Coventry Climax. About 110 of the 4-cylinder models are thought to have been made. Production also continued on vehicles based on the 30cwt chassis such as the Guy charabanc and their major success the 30 seater bus.

In 1924 the company adopted the slogan ‘Feathers in our Cap’ which led to the addition of a Native American mascot to their vehicles. 1924 also saw Guy produce the first ever dropped frame chassis for passenger vehicles (the B-type). This design allowed passengers to enter buses in a single step and became extremely popular, Guy receiving an order for 170 from Rio de Janeiro.

Guy Motors logoGuy Motors badge

Growing populations in towns and cities meant larger capacity buses were a necessity, leading Guy to develop a 6-wheeled version of their dropped-frame chassis which allowed for the introduction of the first 6-wheeled double decker buses and 6 wheeled trolleybuses in 1926. Guy double decker buses and trolleybuses would prove popular with a fleet of double deckers sold to the London Public Omnibus Company and exports supplied all around the world. Exports served as a major source of income for Guy with sales to South Africa, Pakistan, India and the Netherlands, their armoured vehicles proving particularly popular for covering difficult terrain with 100 supplied to the Indian government in 1928.

1923 Guy's first military vehicle

Guy’s first military vehicle produced in 1923

In 1928 Guy took control of fellow Wolverhampton manufacturer the Star Motor Company, who had seen declining sales throughout the decade, in an attempt to expand their luxury car manufacturing. Under Guy, Star Motors moved to a new factory in Bushbury and the range of vehicles was narrowed to prevent competition against itself. Despite this Star continued to struggle and a loss was made on every car sold. The Wall Street Crash had a crippling effect on industry and the subsequent recession meant Guy could no longer afford to fit out Star’s Bushbury plant and in 1932 the company entered receivership.

Despite performing well throughout the decade, by the end of the 1920s Guy was facing an uncertain future due to the takeover of Star and the Wall Street Crash which had seen share prices fall from one pound to one shilling.


Guy was able to endure the depression due to orders from the war office and by taking advantage of the 1930 Road Traffic Act which encouraged the development of lighter vehicles. In 1933 the Arab bus chassis, designed for use with diesel engines, was launched and would prove a mainstay of Guy’s success for the next twenty years.

From the mid-1930s, the company became increasingly involved in the British rearmament programme, developing and producing military vehicles. In 1935 Guy submitted their new four wheel Ant armoured car to military trials where it impressed and 150 were ordered by the government. After this success Guy began to concentrate solely on the production of military vehicles and by 1938 Guy relied exclusively on Government contracts and had ended civilian productions. During this time Guy designed a new armoured car, the Quad Ant, which was welded rather than riveted together. This development made armoured vehicles much safer and is reported to have saved the British government £100 million, earning Guy a commendation from the Royal Commission.

Guy Arab Mark IV, Guy's most successful bus design

The Arab Mark IV, Guy’s most successful bus design

World War Two

Guy armoured vehicles were used throughout the war, featuring prominently in the North African campaign and at the evacuation of Dunkirk. Although production of the Ant and Quad Ant were moved to Karrier the factory was still involved in the war effort producing anti-aircraft guns.

Passenger car sales in the UK virtually ceased during the war, which was accordingly a good time to be a UK bus manufacturer, and more than 2,000 Guy double-decker buses entered service between 1942 and 1945. The Ministry of Supply had ordered Guy to produce a chassis suitable for double decker buses, the blitz having resulted in a shortage of buses. In 1942 Guy launched the Arab utility deck bus based on their original 1933 design, but with a frame of identical shape to the Leyland Titan TD8. It was immediately successful due to its reliability and low running costs. The company’s contribution to the war effort established them as a leading supplier for the government and meant they were financially stable heading into the post-war years.

Post-War Years

After the war Guy returned to civilian production with bus production remaining a mainstay and retaining a strong emphasis on export sales to their major markets including South Africa, Pakistan and the Netherlands. In 1948 Guy acquired Sunbeam Commercial Vehicles Limited and from then on all trolleybuses produced (except some for UK operators carrying Karrier badges) carried the Sunbeam name. Trolleybuses continued to sell well with the Sunbeam becoming the most popular model in South Africa.

Sunbeam Double-Decker Trolleybus Guy Motors

The Sunbeam Double-Decker Trolleybus

Guy continued to update their old models, introducing a new version of the Otter chassis in 1950 for 30-seater vehicles and 84 were ordered by London Transport. By 1954 Guy passenger vehicles were operated by 150 companies in the UK and in 26 countries abroad. The company developed the first 30 ft two-axle double-deck trolleybus chassis in 1954, the Sunbeam F4A, which could seat 68 passengers.

Guy 'Otter' Tractor Vehicle Wolverhampton

The Otter Tractor Vehicle

In 1957 Sydney Guy retired after 43 years with the company. Guy continued to develop new models of chassis, introducing updated versions of the Otter and Warrior models and the high performance Victory chassis. However an ill-advised decision to take South African sales in house proved an extreme strain on the company’s finances. Combined with their attempt to develop a new double decker chassis this would prove highly damaging for Guy’s future. Launched in 1958 the Wulfrunian promised many innovations in its design but crucially lacked the reliability upon which Guy had built its name.

The decline of the company

Although new designs such as the Warrior Mark II were being produced and despite the fact their lorries were performing well by 1960 Guy faced seemingly insurmountable financial problems. The failure of the Wulfrunian was a commercial disaster and the operation in South Africa was losing them £300,000 a year.

By 1961 Guy had no choice but to enter receivership. Sir William Lyons, managing director of Jaguar, acquired the company for £800,000, transferring its assets to a new company, Guy Motors (Europe) Limited which left all the liabilities with the now defunct Guy Motors Limited the name eventually reverting to “Guy Motors Ltd” in 1966. Jaguar immediately set about rationalisation, decreasing the number of employees and the range of vehicles in production.

Guy continued to be successful throughout the 1960s with the development of the Victory trambus and the Big J series of trucks. The Big J was designed around a new Cummins V6 engine, and was intended for motorway operation. However a series of mergers by their parent company had left them in a precarious situation In 1966 Jaguar had merged with the British Motor Corporation to form British Motor Holdings. This company had then merged with Leyland in 1968 to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation. Leyland ceased the production of Guy badged buses in 1972 although Leyland badged versions of the Guy Victory were produced at Wolverhampton and Leyland until 1986. Despite the mergers the British motor industry continued on a generally downward trend and British Leyland looked for where it could make savings.

Guy Motors was able to postpone closure due to the success of its Big J range which meant it was one of the few companies owned by British Leyland operating at a profit. Despite this in 1981 Leyland decided to close the Fallings Park plant as part of a rationalisation drive and in August 1982 the doors were shut at the cost of 740 jobs. On 5 October the factory was stripped clean and the contents auctioned.



  • 20 hp 1919–1923
  • 16.9 hp 1922–1924
  • 13/36 1924–1925


1954 Southampton Corporation Guy Arab III omnibus1954 Southampton Corporation Guy Arab III omnibus


1950 Guy Otter diesel lorry, Castle CombeGuy Otter

  • Armoured Car
  • Lizard – Armoured Command Vehicle
  • FBAX – Truck 3/5 Ton 6 x 4, General Service, Searchlight, Machinery, Wireless, Breakdown Gantry, Derrick.
  • Ant – Truck 15cwt 4 x 2, General Service (G.S.) & Wireless (house type)
  • Quad-Ant – Truck 4 × 4 Field Artillery Tractor (F.A.T.) & 15cwt G.S.
  • Wolf
  • Vixen
  • Warrior (1956)
  • Invincible
  • Big J
  • Otter

1920 Guy Motors 1923 Guy's first military vehicle 1924 Guy 2,5t 1929 Guy FBAX, 6x6 1929 Guy Flat Bed Lorry 1929 Guy 1931 Guy CAW, 8x8 1933-36 Guy Wolf created the chassis from 1933-36 Holland-Coachcraft-Van-2 1933-36 Holland Coachcraft of Govan, Glasgow did the body work, while Albion, Commer and Guy Wolf created the chassis from 1933-36 1938 Guy Vixant 1939 Guy Armoured Car Mark I 1939 Guy Motors badge 1939 Guy Motors logo 1939 Guy Wolf Dropside Lorry 1939-45 Guy Mk I armoured car 1940 Guy Lizard ACV 1940 Guy Quad-Ant, 4x4 1941 Guy “Lizard” Armored Command Vehicle 1941 Guy Ant radio truck OSU439 Duxford Military Vehicle 1941 Guy Ant 1941 Guy Mk IA during anti-invasion exercises in Southern Command, 7 May 1941 1942 Guy Ant, 4 x 2, 12 V 1946 GUY Wolf 4 1947 Guy Vixen GDV802 1948 GUY 9628 1948 Guy Vixen in Film 1948 Guy Vixen truck 1948-Guy-Wolf-2-3-Ton-Truck-Brochure 1949 Guy Otter (1) 1949 Guy Otter at Black Country Museum 1949 Guy Otter Lorry Brochure 1949 Guy 'Otter' Tractor Vehicle Wolverhampton 1949 Guy Otter 1949 Guy Vixen BRS Truck 1949 Guy Vixen 1949 Guy Wolf - Forward Control (FC) Van 1949 Guy Wolf  KLC 780    F 1949 Guy Wolf  KLC 780 1949 Guy Wolf Originally supplied to the John Lewis Partnership in 1949 1949 Guy Wolf 1950 Guy flat bed 1950 Guy Otter   1950 1950 Guy Otter diesel lorry, Castle Combe 1950 Guy Otter UHN795 1950 Guy Otter 1950 Guy Pickfords 1950's Guy Vixen Pantechnicon 1951 - Guy Otter Pantechnicon 1951 Guy dropside 1951 GUY Vixen 784 XUG 1952 GUY Destructie Overschie NL 1952 GUY Tanker 1953 Guy GS bus built for London Transport 1953 Guy Otter pantechnicon JDA808 1954 Guy Goliath 1954 Guy Otter Chassis 1954 guy-wervo 1954 Southampton Corporation Guy Arab III omnibus 1954-Guy-Wolf-Diesel-2-3-Ton-Truck 1955 Guy Otter BRS Artic 1955 guy-thumb 1956 Guy Invincible 1956 GUY Trekker met Oplegger Capstaff 1957 Guy Invincible 1958 guy 1958- 1958 Guy Otter 1958-GUY-Vixen 1963 Guy Warrior 3877RF 1964 GUY Bonnetted Invincible 1964 Guy Warrior 1964 1965 Guy Invincible MK II 4-6-8-wheelers 1965 Guy Invincible 1966 Guy Invincible Articulated Engine Cummins Diesel Registration MGP 1966 Guy Invincible 1967 Guy Big J Shell Tanker 1968 Guy Invincible Mk.II Cement mixer 1970 Guy Towtruck 1971 Guy Big J4T Jones 1972 Guy Big J4T a 1972 Guy Big J6T Truck Brochure 1972 Guy Big Jaguar 1972 Guy towtruck in Leominster UK 1973 Pioneer Guy Big J6

1973 Guy Big J 4T

1974 Guy Big J Artic 1974 Guy Big J6 Registration GDN 1974 Guy Big J6, MHV 446P 1975 Guy Big J4T - B101 SFK 1975 Guy Big J8, SWV 700J 1975 GUY images 1975 Guy2 1975 Mason's GUY Big J4T, COA 404K 1976 Guy Big J generator truck UFD447G 1976 Guy Big J low-loader, Wrings Transport Bristol 1976 Guy Big J8 - reg 888 GUY 1976 Guy BigJ19 1977 GUY Big J6 1977 Guy Big J8, EBO 727L 1978 Guy Big J4 RRH356M BRS British Road Services 1978 Guy Big J4T Tractor Engine Gardner 180 Registration B101 SFK 1978 Guy Big J6T 1978 Guy recovery truck Vintage Vehicles Shildon 1979 Black Country Guy Big J6 GEA 320N 1980 guy 8 wheeler knowles transport

That’s what I could find. The End

Author: Jeroen

In Dutch, my homelanguage: Ik ben Jeroen, tot januari 2015 was ik al dik 26 jaar werkzaam in een psychiatrisch ziekenhuis in een stad vlakbij Werelds grootste havenstad Rotterdam. Eerst als verpleegkundige/begeleider op high care, later op afdeling dubbeldiagnose (verslavingen) en ook nog een tijdje als administratief medewerker. Ik heb een spierziekte "Poli Myositis" (alle spieren zijn ontstoken) daardoor weinig energie. Sinds augustus 2015 is daarbij de diagnose Kanker gesteld, en ben ik helemaal arbeidsongeschikt geworden en zit middenin de behandelfase. Gelukkig ben ik daarnaast getrouwd, vader, en opa, en heb de nodige hobby's. Een daarvan is transportmiddelen verzamelen en daarmee een blog schrijven. Dit blog begon met bussen, maar nu komen ook sleepboten, auto's trucks en dergelijke aan bod. Kijk en geniet met me mee, reageer, en vul gerust aan. Fouten zal ik ook graag verbeteren. In English: I'm Jeroen, till januari 2015 I was already 26 years working as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital, near Rotterdam, Worlds biggest harbour with more than 98 nationalities living within it's borders. First I worked on closed high care ward and the last years on a ward with mainly addicted people. I liked my work very much. In 2007 I got ill. I got the diagnose Poli Myositis, a musscle dissease. Al my mussles are inflamed. And last august I got another diagnose. Cancer. It's plaveicelcel carcinoma and treated with Chemo and radioation. So I've even less energy than the last years. Still I try to make something of my life and the blog is helping with surviving with some pleasure.

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