Buses GUY Wolverhampton England UK
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.
1914 Guy’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.
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.
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.
1914 Guy Syzygies
1914 Guy Syzygies
1914 Guy Syzygies
1914 Guy Syzygies
1919 Guy Charabanc T-5182
1921 Guy 30-seater bus
1921 Guy coaches in Wolverhampton Market place
1922 Guy Promenade Runabout
1924 Guy six-wheelers in Rio de Janeiro
1925 Guy first six wheeled pneumatic Trolley Bus
1925 Guy Motors
1925 Guy Rio 1925
1927 Guy 6 wheeled Londonbus
1927 Guy 26 seater
1927 Guy FBB (chassis number 22257) with a Hall Lewis B32R body
1927 Guy Star Flyer
1928 Guy 6 wheeled double deck long distance sleeper coach
1928 Guy BT Dodson DY 4965 in Hastings
1929 Guy php
1930 Guy FC of Newcastle Corporation
1930 Guy Motors
1931 Guy ‘BTX’ Zuid Africa
1931 Guy Trolleybus op weg naar Japan
1932 Guy Open coach
1933 Guy Trolleybus adv1
1933 Guy NL
1934 Guy Wolf Guy GR-1157
1936 Guy Trolleybus adv
1937 Guy Arab
1937 Guy Wolf with Martin body
1938 Guy Wolf with 20 seat bodywork by Waveney
1943 Guy Arab I JUA762 Pickering H30 26R Re bodied ROE H31-25R
1943 Guy Arab I JUA762 Pickering H30 26R Re bodied ROE H31-25R
1943 Guy Arab II as a double decker, later an open top decker similar to 39
1946 Guy Arab III with Massey C35F body new to W. Alexander
1946 Guy Arab Massey TSB019
1946 Guy Arab Seamer Service
1946 Guy Arab with Brush B35F body
1946 Guy Vixen Hainje B-22878 NL
1946 Guy-Arab bus 84 met carrosserie van Verheul. Dienstbus
1947 Guy Arab (Seida)
1947 Guy Arab III with Duple C35F body
1947 Guy Arab Verheul NB-34-13 NL
1947 Guy first post war Trolley Bus Belfast Corporation
1947 Guy Gardner 6LW Arab MkIII carr. Saunders GTW 30 NL
1947 Guy Gardner 6LW Arab MkIII carr Saunders-de Schelde GTW 32 NL
1947 Guy Gardner 6LW Arab MkIII carr Saunders-de Schelde GTW 33 NL
1947 Guy Gardner 6LW Arab MkIII carr Saunders-de Schelde GTW 34 NL
1947 Guy Gardner 6LW Arab MkIII carr Saunders-de Schelde GTW 35 NL
1947 Guy Gardner 6LW Arab MkIII carr Saunders-de Schelde GTW 36 NL
1947 Guy Gardner 6LW Arab MkIII carr Saunders-de Schelde GTW 37 NL
1947 Guy Motors of Wolverhampton, Individually built bus advert
1947 Guy Motors of Wolverhampton, Newport buses bus advert
1947 Guy Motors of Wolverhampton, Southampton Guy Arab bus advert
1947 Guy Saunders Tet 075 NL
1947 Guy-Vixen. Carrosserie v d Bos(linker bus) NL
1947-52 Guy carr. Den Oudsten NB-21-69 NL
1947-52 Guy Vixen carr. Verheul NB-28-40 NL
1948 Guy Arab 16 Brian Shaw
1948 Guy Arab 16
1948 Guy Arab 21 Brian Shaw
1948 Guy Arab 37
1948 Guy Arab carr. Verheul NB-28-54
1948 Guy Arab Fleet LUT&PC 22
1948 Guy Arab Fleet of Maidstone Corporation Transport Department 26
1948 Guy Arab Fleet of Newport Corporation Transport 24
1948 Guy Arab Glasgow Corporation Transport Fleet 23
1948 Guy Arab I 136
1948 Guy Arab III with an MCW 35 seat body
1948 Guy Arab III with MCW 35 seat rear entrance body.
1948 Guy Arab IV African Transport Limited Kenya 30
1948 Guy Arab Mark IV Hong Kong China Bus Company Limeted 34
1948 Guy Arab Mark IV South Africa 35 Greyhound
1948 Guy Arab Mark IV Southdown Motor services Limited 32
1948 Guy Arab Mk III 19 6 1957 Verheul 1948 TET 88 E-45960 NL
1948 Guy Arab MkIII, Gardner 6LW, carr. Verheul GTW 320 NL
1948 Guy Arab MkIII, Gardner 6LW, carr. Verheul GTW 321 NL
1948 Guy Arab MkIII, Gardner 6LW, carr. Verheul GTW 324 NL
1948 Guy Arab MkIII, Gardner 6LW, carr. Verheul GTW 328 NL
1948 Guy Arab MkIII, Gardner 6LW, carr. Verheul GTW NL
1948 Guy Arab Single decker 2
1948 Guy Arab single decker vehicle
1948 Guy Arab Single Decker
1948 Guy Gardner 6LW Arab MkIII carr Verheul GTW 39 NL
1948 Guy met Verheul carr. uit de serie 82 tm 84 uit 1948 werd in 1953 verbouwd . De achterkant is verheul NL
1948 Guy Otters were never common and ones with Alexander bodywork rarer still
1948 Guy Vixen coach
1948 Guy Wolf chassis carries a Barnard body
1948 Guy-Arab met carrosserie Saunders NL
1948 guy-arab dd
1948 guy-arab 440
1948 guy-arab 440
1948 guy-arab dd
1948 Guy-bus 23 erachter Crossley- Scheldebus 20 (NS 1065) op 12 september 1948 vliegveld Beek en EBAD NL
1948 The Arab Mark IV, Guy’s most successful bus design
1948 The Sunbeam Double-Decker Trolleybus
1949 burlingham guy coach
1949 Guy Arab III 6LW with Park Royal H30-26R body
1949 Guy Arab III, fleet number 10 (KTC 615)
1949 Guy Arab IV
1949 Guy Arab IV
1949 Guy Arab MK 5
1949 Guy Arab MKIII Gardner 6 LW carr Hainje GTW 329 NL
1949 Guy ArabIII-Brislington Bus Works
1949 Guy Motors adv.
1949 Guy Vixen carrosserie Den Oudsten NL
1949-53 Guy-carr. Jongman NB-56-18 NL
1950 Guy Arab III with Guy B33R bodywork
1950 Guy Arab III-Harkness Coachworks B31F (may be B30F now) 286, MZ7384
1950 Guy Arab III-Harkness
1950 Guy Arab Mark IV
1950 Guy Arab MK IV South Africa 37
1950 Guy Arab UF with Guy B40F body (using Park Royal framework)
1950 Guy Arab V double deck bus
1950 Guy Motors
1950 Guy Vixen Overland Firms 59
1950 Guy Vixen NL
1950 Guy-Vixen NL
1951 Guy Arab III with a Windover C33F body
1951 Guy Arab III with rare Roe coach body
1951 Guy Arab III with unusual Roe coach body
1951 Guy Arab UF fitted from new with a preselector gearbox and carried a Guy B40F body.
1951 Guy-Arab 76 met carrosserie van Hondebrink. Opname 1955 tijdens toerwagenral NL
1952 Guy Arab III with Roe B41C bodywork
1952 Guy Arab LUF with Weymann B44F body
1952 Guy Arab Underfloor engined single deck Huddersfield 43 seater bus 4
1952 Guy GS – MXX 342
1952 Guy Otters with rare Mulliner bodywork
1952 Guy Underfloor Verheul Jac. van Dijk nr 58 NB-06-72 NL
1952 Guy Vixen Wadham
1952 Guy-Arab 89 met carrosserie van Verheul. Met 45 zit en 10 staanplaatsen. Opname grens Glanerbrug in 1954 NL
1952 Guy-Arab nr. 86 met carrosserie van Verheul NL
1953 Guy Otter
1953 Guy Arab bus 60
1953 Guy GS MXX-343ECW B26F Kerel
1953 GUY Otter Diesel light vehicle12
1953 Guy Special NLLVP with ECW B26F body
1953 Guy Special with ECW B26F bodywork
1953 Guy Special NLLVP with ECW B26F bodywork
1953 Guy Vixen 30 seater vehicle 4
1953 Guy Vixen London Transport GS84 and GS76
1953 Guys with ECW B26F bodies for use on low traffic country area routes
1953 Guys with ECW B26F bodies
1954 Guy Arab Lighteight heavy duty underfloor engined coach
1954 Guy Arab LUF with a Guy B43F body
1954 Guy Arab LUF with Picktree C35F body
1954 Guy Arab LUF with rare Picktree Continental C35F body
1954 Guy Motors of Wolverhampton advert
1954 Guy Motors of Wolverhampton advert
1954 Guy Otter with a Roe B25F body
1954 Guy Sunbeam Trolley Double Deck Bus Walsall Corporation
1954 Guy Warrior 43 seater Trambus with AEC 6cyl 135 bhp engine
1954 Guy-bus 8 van de EBAD met Den Oudsten carrosserie NL
1955 Guy Arab LUF with Alexander C41F bodywork
1955 Guy Arab LUF
1955 Guy Arab LUFs, fitted with Roe B34C+24 bodies
1955 Guy Arab Mark IV East kent Road car Company Limited 31
1955 Guy Warrior LUF Coach 3
1955 Guy Warrior with Burlingham C41F body
1955 guy-s ad
1956 Guy Arab LUFs with Willowbrook C37C bodies
1956 Guy Arab Mark IV Belgium 36
1956 Guy Arab, with Park Royal body
1956 Guy Kusters-bus, de EBAD 91
1956 Guy Raghano België
1956 Guy Seal Small capacity tourist coach 1
1956 Guy Warrior, XUK768, with Mulliner C37C body
1957 Guy Arab LUF with Roe B41R body
1957 GUY Jonckheere België
1957 Guy Arab Toerwagen 88 met carrosserie van Verheul
1957 Guy Otter P6 with Mulliner B26F bodywork
1957 Guy Vixen
1958 Guy Arab LUFs with Longwell Green B44F bodies, XNY419
1958 Guy LUF with Longwell Green B44F body
1958 Guy UF with Burlingham Seagull C41F body
1958 Guy Victory Trambus
1958 Guy Victory Trambus
1958 Guy Victory UF 44 till 65 seater Luxery Touring Coach Victory 2
1958 Guy Victory
1958 Guy Warrior Gardner 5HLW oil engine 2
1958 Guy Wulfrunian
1958 Guy-Arab nr. 89 met carrosserie van Verheul. De bus had 45 zit en 10 staanplaatsen
1959 GUY 1460
1959 Guy Arab LUF Powered by a Gardner 6HLW engine Registration 1294 RE
1960 GUY J- Type
1960 Guy Warrior coach vehicle 21
1961 Guy Arab III-Strachen-Highland Trans.G.Rixon2
1961 Guy Wulfrunians with Roe H43-32F body
1963 Guy Arab IV with Massey lowbridge body
1964 Guy Conquest Luxery Coach
1965 Guy Conquest Luxery Coach with AEC AV505 Gardner 6LX or 6LW Victory Trambus
1960 Guy Victory 40-45 seat
Guy Arab – FRU 224
1967 Guy -ZABO NL © AvdBorg&CBos
1978 Guy Victory U F Victory 1 ?
Cumberland Coachwork (Myers & Bowman Ltd.) of Distington, Cumberland
1950 an advert for Cumberland Coachwork (Myers & Bowman Ltd.) of Distington, Cumberland., whose coachwork seen here could well “crossover” to the Highly Esteamed ‘Oddities on Wheels’ tread. A better photo would be welcome but a fuzzy wuzzy is better than nothing to see this unusual observation coach without a raised rear section. Instead seats behind the back axle are stepped down and face to the rear. Built on a Commer Avenger chassis for Sowerby’s Tours Ltd of Gilsland, Cumberland., where did the luggage go? Imagine too, being stuck behind it for for any great distance with rows of passengers looking out at you! More conventional coachwork from this LKC is seen in the second photo.
1934 Cumberland Motors 38, AAO574, a Leyland Lion LT5A with Massey body
1951 Cumberland 152, LAO146, seen at Wigton was a Leyland PSU1-13 Royal Tiger with Eastern Coachworks B45F body
1951 Cumberland 324, LAO145, carried an early version of the ECW body which was B45F in this case
1967 Cumberland Motor Services 809, NRM809M, a Ford R226 with Duple C53F bodywork.
Inbetween Cumberland decided to do something else and became Cumberland Motors what was a buscompany.
Bus Body – Coach Builder DUPLE Hornsey London UK
Duple Dominant IV
Duple was best known as a British manufacturer of coach and bus bodywork from 1919 until 1989.
The name ‘Duple’ is intended to convey the principle of a single vehicle being suitable for a dual role, an idea Mr. White developed. The first vehicle of this type was called the Bifort. Subsequently, former military Ford Model Ts were fitted with the newly designed dual-purpose bodywork. The bodies looked like a small touring car, but could be transformed into a van by removing the decking at the rear of the car and fitting a van top. This type of vehicle had enormous appeal to the owners of small businesses, who were able to obtain a working vehicle and private car for little extra, and soon bodywork of this type was being produced in substantial numbers. The ‘convertible’ body as it was known internally was built on Morris Cowley and Oxford chassis as well as the Ford T; as well as the standard van top there was a pick-up and even a version with raising sides and slide-out display shelves for use in markets, production ceasing around the end of the 1920s although Duple continued to repair and service examples for many years afterward.
In 1926 a new factory was opened in Hendon to meet growing demand.
Coachwork had been built on occasions since the inception of the Company, including a six-wheeled Lancia–Barton Charabanc. but in 1928 it was decided to make an effort to increase output of this body type substantially. As a result the order book began to grow and within ten years the number of people employed had risen to around 800.
In 1928, Walter Ernest Brown, a former partner in the Strachan & Brown bodybuilding business, joined the firm, and he had a major influence on the Company’s future expansion.
By 1930, the total number of coach and bus bodies produced was 250, establishing Duple as an emerging bodybuilder of some stature, whose distinctive design features were able to influence national trends.
The depression of the 1930s coupled with the introduction of the 1930 Road Traffic Act brought about changes in the bodybuilding sector, which led to a stabilising of the transport industry, established operators feeling secure now that the threat of unregulated competition had been removed by the licensing system. Accordingly, there was a trend towards vehicles with higher standards of finish and more comfortable interiors.
In 1930, Duple received the largest single order to date, for 50 bodies to be fitted to the AEC Regal chassis of Green Line Coaches, the newly established express service arm of the London General Omnibus Company.
In August 1931, two Bedford passenger chassis (the 14-seat WHB and 20-seat WLB) were announced. Duple had built early bodies on the WLB chassis for the Vauxhall Motors (the parent company of Bedford), and was listed in publicity material as one of the four bodybuilders recommended for the WLB chassis. As demand for the type rose, Duple’s ability to produce in quantity set them apart from their competitors, and soon Duple-bodied Bedford WLBs were in service around the country. The association with Bedford was to last over 50 years.
In 1932, Duple acquired the business of London Lorries who, despite the name, were heavily involved in the manufacture of coach bodies.
By the middle of the 1930s, Duple was widely regarded as a coachbuilder, although bus bodies were still produced in quite large numbers. An order was received from Vauxhall Motors for special sports tourer bodies on Vauxhall 14 hp light six chassis and a stand was taken at the 1933 London Motor Show to display them. They were advertised by Vauxhall up to 1935 and may have been Duple’s last car bodies made in quantity, although they also bodied Canadian-assembled Buick 8-50 cars for General Motors in the UK. Also built in the 1930s was a special coupé on an Alvis speed 20 model for Mr Lloyd Thompson of the Holdsworth Moquette company, a major supplier to Duple and many other coachbuilders.
Export business had been developed early, based mainly on the travels of the Duple directors, including W. E. Brown, who had already been to the United States and Canada and now embarked on a Mediterranean tour, taking in Greece, Syria and Egypt. Export orders were also received in quantity from East Africa and Argentina, and closer to home in Europe. This in part helped to compensate for the reduced demand for UK bodywork, which tended to be seasonal.
By 1934, the original site had become inadequate and 3½ acres of adjoining land were purchased for expansion. Although car body production was coming to an end, major contracts for the GPO were obtained during the 1930s, for telephone repair vans in the main, on either Morris Minor or larger Morris Commercial Chassis, although two specials were BLB444 of 1934 the blue streamlined van designed to publicise the air mail service, which was modelled as a Dinky Toy. and GPO1 which was a Morris Commeciral Leader tractive unit coupled to a Brockhouse semi-trailer upon which Duple built a travelling post office for use at agricultural shows, race meetings and other major public events.
The late 1930s saw the era of the classic coach design, with operators becoming increasingly conscious of the appearance of their coaches. Many coach bodies were of individual design, but readily identifiable as Duple. The introduction of sloping pillars, curving roof- and waist-lines along with shaped mouldings on the side panels all contributed to a new ‘aerodynamic’ style that was increasing in popularity. Although coachwork continued to be Duple’s main product, single-deck bus bodies formed a good part of the production from the mid-1930s, with one customer, Barton Transport, placing a bulk order for such bodies to be delivered over an extended period.
In 1936, Duple introduced the Vista design of bodywork, primarily for the Bedford WTB chassis. It had curved roof- and waist-lines, and featured a sliding roof as standard. In 1937 a revised design of the Vista, the Vista II, was introduced together with a new design – the Hendonian. Both of these remained in production until the end of the decade.
In 1939, Bedford introduced a new range of goods models, which included the ‘O’, with characteristic ‘bullnose’ grille. The passenger version was named the ‘OB’ and Duple modified the Hendonian body to fit the chassis, which at 14 ft 6 in, was longer than the WTB. With the advent of World War II, Bedford production was turned over to the war effort, with only 73 OB chassis produced, and it was not until after cessation of hostilities that the Bedford OB with Duple Vista bodywork was to become a familiar sight on British roads.
During the Second World War as a member of the London Aircraft Production Group, Duple built fuselages for the Halifax bomber, along with a variety of military products. Duple also built double-deck highbridge and lowbridge buses to utility specifications, and the only new single-deck vehicle to be produced from 1942 to 1945, the Bedford OWB.
In 1946 the name of the business was changed to Duple Motor Bodies Limited.
The first postwar production model to appear was the Duple Vista body on the Bedford OB chassis. The standard seating capacity soon became 29, although models with different capacities were still available. The Vista coachwork remained Duple’s standard OB body until production of the OB chassis ceased in the early 1950s.
Deliveries of Duple bodywork on full-sized chassis (such as the AEC Regal) began in May 1946, and were known as the A-type, although its curved lines had their origin in the prewar period, so it was not strictly a new design. Before long the order book was filled for several years ahead. Postwar rebodying became common practice as new chassis were initially hard to obtain and Duple built many A-type bodies on different chassis that helped to make it, with its distinctive side ‘flash’, a familiar sight in postwar Britain. Alternative styles were available, all with alphabetic codes, such as the B-type and C-types, which differed in detail only and were regarded as ‘dual-purpose’ bodies, whilst the D-type was Duple’s own design of bus body.
After the war, there was a move towards metal-framed bodies, partly because of their greater durability and partly because of a shortage of timber for traditional bodywork. Duple designed a metal-framed body (the Almet) for export models on the OB chassis, as well as producing a body design for the new SB chassis, then under development. By 1948, Duple had developed a metal-framed double-deck body, examples of which were delivered to the Red & White group and SMT.
In 1950, a range of full-fronted coach bodies named the ‘Ambassador’ was produced, but with the maximum permitted length for coaches increased to 30 ft and the maximum width to 8 ft, a series of new designs was prepared. Many were given names, such as the Roadmaster and Vega, all intended for use on specific chassis. The Roadmaster particularly was unlike anything Duple had previously produced, with its high, straight waistline and small windows. It earned the nickname ‘Iron Duke’ and was intended for underfloor engined chassis, hence the higher waistline. The Vega was intended for the new production model of the Bedford SB, and the bodywork featured a gently curving waistline typical of Duple.
The 1950s brought a difficult time for the bodybuilding industry: the end of the increased postwar demand led to a rapid decline in orders, and competition for the remaining ones became intense. Many of Duple’s former customers were by then in the Tilling Group, which standardised on Bristol chassis and ECW bodywork. Disputes among union labour resulted in a 36-week strike that was catastrophic for Duple. It began to lose significant amounts of business to other companies and a move out of London was considered.
In 1952, Duple acquired Nudd Brothers & Lockyer Limited, based in Kegworth. The newly acquired firm was used to produce metal-framed bodies in the Duple standard range.
Further premises were acquired in Loughborough in 1955, and in 1956 the Kegworth and Loughborough factories were renamed Duple Motor Bodies (Midland) Limited. In 1958, the business of Willowbrook Limited, of Loughborough was acquired, although the business continued to operate under its own name for some time.
Throughout that period, Duple continued to produce new body designs: the Elizabethan, for underfloor-engined chassis, was introduced in 1953; the Britannia, based on the Elizabethan but with vertical pillars, was introduced in 1955, and the Loughborough-built Donington, for dual-purpose use, was added to the list in 1956. The designs for Bedford chassis had continued to be produced, now known as Super Vista (modified C series goods chassis) and Super Vega (SB).
A 1970 example of the Duple Viceroy body on a Bedford VAL70 chassis
The business of H. V. Burlingham Limited, of Blackpool, best known for the ‘Seagull’ body of the 1950s, was taken over in August 1960, adding a northern arm to Duple’s production. The Burlingham name was retained until 1962, when it was changed to Duple Motor Bodies (Northern) Limited.
Towards the end of 1961 Bedford introduced the VAS chassis and Duple produced a completely new design – the Bella Vista – for it. That year the maximum permitted length for coaches was increased to 36 ft and the maximum width to 8 ft 2½ ins, and Duple (Northern) designed and produced the Continental, with seats for up to 51 passengers. When Bedford announced the six-wheeled VAL in 1962, Duple introduced the Vega Major. For 1964, Duple introduced the Commander, initially built at Hendon but switched to Blackpool later, and in 1966 the Viceroy range replaced the Bella series on most Bedford or Ford chassis.
From 1968 Duple coach production was concentrated at Blackpool, and the company was renamed Duple Coachbuilders Limited. The Hendon factory finally closed in 1970. The Willowbrook subsidiary continued in business under its own name until it was sold in 1971.
At the 1972 Commercial Motor Show, Duple introduced a new range of bodies called the Dominant, which were similar in appearance to the PlaxtonPanorama Elite, already in production since 1968. The Plaxton Supreme range was introduced in 1974, and in response Duple introduced the Dominant II in 1976 with a restyled front and rear end byMichelotti of Turin. The style was cleaner than earlier models with rectangular headlamps in an integrated grille panel and a much deeper windscreen and driver’s window. The Dominant and Supreme body styles were the ubiquitous British coach of the period, with very little competition other than small numbers from Willowbrook. The thought of importing coach bodies from abroad was only just being considered towards the end of the decade.
ACK710Y, a Volvo B10M with Duple Caribbean C39Ft bodywork
The Transport Act 1980 saw the introduction of deregulation of coach services over 30 miles in length. A growing trend towards heavier-duty chassis that had been found more reliable for the high mileage and fast speeds of the motorway, caused the market for light coach chassis from Bedford and Ford to collapse in 1981. Duple’s output fell from 1000 bodies in 1976, to 800 in 1980 and to just over 500 in 1981, which resulted in a reduction in the workforce.
In 1980, the Dominant range was extended with the Dominant III and IV, with similar front ends to the Dominant II, but with reduced brightwork and bumpers. The Dominant III had high-set forward-angled trapezoid windows with thick pillars. Features of all four versions could be mixed and matched. In 1981, the Goldliner was introduced. This was similar to the Dominant, but with a higher floor to allow increased luggage accommodation and improved passenger sightseeing. The initial Goldliner styling featured a stepped roof behind the entrance door and was available in Goldliner II, III and IV designations, similar to the those of the Dominant. In 1982, the Super Goldliner was introduced for a fleet of twelve rear-engined Dennis Falcon Vcoaches developed in conjunction with Dennis and the National Bus Company for high-speed Rapide service. The project was conceived and developed in a very short time, allowing inadequate development, and the resultant vehicles developed a reputation for poor reliability. The Super Goldliner styling, including a continuous flat roof in place of the stepped roof, was mixed and matched on subsequent Goldliner vehicles.
Imports of foreign makes, such as Neoplan, Bova, Van Hool and Jonckheere, began to make inroads into the UK market. To compete with them, two new body designs, the Laser and the Caribbean, were introduced in 1982. The Laser was a normal-floor body that resembled the Dominant, but with a rounder front and body-coloured front grille. The Caribbean was a high-floor design with a very square appearance. The Calypso was added in 1983 and was a low-floor version of the Caribbean on a Bova underframe. These new designs did little to halt the slide in production and in 1983, Duple output was just 340 bodies.
A Duple Dartline with New World First Bus
Duple Dartline on Dennis Dart chassis
In June 1983, Duple was sold to the Hestair Group, which had already acquired the long established business of Dennis Brothers of Guildford. Duple was renamed Hestair Duple and the Laser and Caribbean were given a facelift to try to improve their popularity. In 1985, a new coach model, known as the 300-series, was introduced. A bus version of the 300 was introduced in 1987, replacing the successful Dominant bus that had continued in production after the coach version had been replaced. A new integral coach of exciting design, with Dennis running units, was added soon after. Known as the Duple 425 (its coefficient of drag), it was greeted with enthusiasm, but the close tie-in with Dennis as chassis maker made dealers of other chassis manufacturers reluctant to use Duple coachwork. The business continued to struggle, but the deregulation of bus services, in 1986, caused uncertainty amongst bus operators and, as a result, little investment in new vehicles was made. By 1988, Duple’s output was just 250 bodies. However, at the October 1988 Motor Show, Dennis introduced the Dennis Dart, a midibus chassis that would go on to be one of Britain’s most successful buses. Duple displayed a bus body for the chassis that was based on the 300-series, but with a distinctive front design, featuring a stepped windscreen and curved lower panel.
In November 1988, Hestair announced that they were selling the Dennis and Duple businesses to a management buyout team, operating under the name Trinity Holdings. The company was renamed Duple International. With declining coach sales, attempts were made to increase the sale of the bus bodywork, including plans for a design for the Scania N113. However, in July 1989, the decision was made to close down the Duple operation. The jigs for the Duple 300-series and the Duple 425 integral were sold to domestic rival Plaxton. Plaxton also bought Duple Services Ltd., the spares and repair business. The Duple body designs for the Dartline were sold to the Carlyle Group. Thus ended 70 years of Duple Motor Bodies Limited.
Plaxton continued the 425 for a while, as seen by this Plaxton 425
Company names in different times
- Duple Bodies & Motors Ltd 1919-1946
- Duple Motor Bodies Limited 1946-1968
- Duple Motor Bodies (Midland) Limited
- Duple Motor Bodies (Northern) Limited
- Duple Coachbuilders Limited 1968-1983
- Hestair Duple 1983-1989
- Trinity Holdings 1989
A Duple 425, dating from 1988
(All were coach bodies unless specified)
- Vista, Vista II, Vista III, Super Vista
- B-type (dual-purpose)
- C-type (dual-purpose)
- D-Type (bus)
- Vega, Super Vega
- Donington (dual-purpose)
- Bella Vista
- Bella Vega
- Vega Major
- Commander I, II, III & IV
- Viscount 36
- Viceroy 36
- Viceroy 37
- Dominant, Dominant II, Dominant III, Dominant IV (the first 2 were also built as bus bodies)
- Dominant Bus (bus, although some had coach seating)
- Goldliner, Super Goldliner
- 425 – with running units from Dennis
- 300 (bus)
- Dartline (bus) – for Dennis Dart
The 300, 320 and 340 were named after their heights in centimetres, whereas the 425 was named after its drag coefficient, emphasising its aerodynamic design.
1930 Duple T UK
1933 Leyland Cub ABH358 with a Duple body
1934 LEYLAND TIGER PS1-DUPLE – FALCON COACHES
1936 Duple FV 5737 a 1936 ex Ribble Motor Services Leyland TS7 rebodied by Duple in 1950
1944 Duple DD UK
1947 AEC Regal III 0962094 new in December 1947 with Duple C35F body
1947 Duple Coachworks advert
1948 AEC Regal with Duple body
1948 Duple KHA 301 BMMO C1 with Duple C30C coachwork
1948 Duple UK
1948 Midland Red Duple bodied B.M.M.O. C1 coach. Fleet No. 3301, KHA 301
1949 AEC Regal III (ECX741, number 282, which had a Duple B35F body when new in 1949) and was fitted with a Roe FB39F body
1949 Bedford Duple Bella Vista 6cyl 3500cc
1950 AEC Regal III built in 1950 with full fronted Duple coachwork
1950 Duple Vista Cambridgeshire UK
1951 Duple UK
1954 AEC Reliance new in December with Duple Elizabethan C41F body
1955 AEC MU3RV Duple C41F
1955 Leyland ECPO2-1R Comet with Duple C36F body
1957 AEC MU3RV Reliance with Duple Elizabethan C41C body
1958 Duple Britannia UK
1959 AEC Reliance 2MU3RV with Duple Britannia C41F coachwork
1960 AEC Reliance 2MU3RA with Duple Britannia C40F bodywork.
1960 AEC Reliance AEC Reliance fitted with a Duple Britannia body
1960 AEC Reliance with a Duple Britannia C41F body, new to Global, London
1961 AEC Reliance 2MU3RA with Duple Donnington bodywork
1963 Leyland Leopard PSU3 Duple Alpine Continental C49F seats Jun 1963 – 1974
1965 Ford R226, with Duple C52F body
1965 Ford Thames 570E with Duple Northern bodywork
1966 Duple Bella Venture UK
Bedford Duple Val Vega
1967 Duple Dominant II Leyland Turbo Malta
1967 Ford R192 with Duple Empress C45F bodywork
1972 DAF Duple Dominant Valletta Malta
1963 Bedford VAL Duple Vega Major 90 DBD C foto 1984 © A.G.Mackintosh
1973 Duple Dominant Leyland Malta
1974 Duple Dominant UK
1974 Duple Dominant Valletta Malta
1975 Duple Dominant DAF 620 Malta
1976 Duple Dominant Leyland Daf 620 Malta
1966 Bedford Duple Vega Camper
1976 Duple Dominant Malta
1976 Ford Cummins 211 Turbo Duple Dominant UK
1977 Duple Dominant II Bedford UK
1977 Duple Dominant II UK
1977 DAF Duple Dominant Malta
1965 Bedford Duple Val Vega
1978 Duple Dominant DAF 620 Leyland Malta
1978 Duple Dominant II Bedford Malta
1978 Duple Dominant II UK
1979 Duple Dominant II UK
1980 Duple Dominant II UK
1966 Duple Val Vega
1981 Duple Dominant UK
1983 Duple Dominant II UK
1983 Ford Cummins 211 Turbo Duple Dominant Ford Malta
1984 Duple Caribbean Leyland UK
1984 Leyland Duple Laser UK
1988 Duple 340SL UK
1990 Duple Dartline Schotland
1997 Duple Metsec Scania Estland
2000 Duple Metsec Hong kong
DUPLE BMMO 10 ‘Midland’ tek
Duple Britannia C41F UK © Dave Fawcett www.travellerhomes.co.uk
Duple Coachworks advert – 1947
Duple Coronation Ambassador-Lancet UF
Duple Creamline SH 800
Duple Dominant Leyland Leopard
Duple Ford PJC
DUPLE GF-7524 lr
Duple Metsec (l) +Dennis Condor
Duple Metsec Scania
Duple Metsec Vega Major
Duple Metsec Volvo Singapore
Duple the Bog
DUPLE Vega Major tek
Ford Thames with Duple Marauder C52F bodywork.
Leyland Duple Wilkinson
Leyland Leopard La Grand Duple Dominant
Leyland Leopard Duple Links en Duple Leyland Safequard R
Leyland Tiger Duple Dominant
Volvo JBK11X Coliseum Volvo B10M with Duple C57F body
1963 Ascot 1963 Duple Vega Major Bedford VAL14
1964 bedford val14 duple vega major 1
Coliseum, Southampton 521GOU 1963 Bedford VAL14 Duple Vega Major C49F on Hampton Court Green
1965 Bedford VAL14 with Duple Vega Major C52F body
Filed Under: AEC, ALVIS, BEDFORD, BMMO, Bodybuilder, BOVA, Bristol, Brown, Buick,BUSES, Charabanc, Cummins, DAF, DENNIS, DUPLE, ECW, Ford, Jonckheere, Lancia-Barton, Leyland, Morris, NEOPLAN, OLD BUSES, Plaxton, Ribble, ROE, SCANIA, Strachan,UK, Van Hool, VAUXHALL, Willowbrook
ECW Eastern Coach Works Lowestoft England
Eastern Coach Works
A preserved Bristol RE with ECW bodywork.
A Bristol Lodekka with ECW bodywork
The company can trace its roots back to 1912, when United Automobile Services was founded in the town to run bus services. United began a coach building business at the Lowestoft site in 1920. In 1931, the East Anglian operations of United were hived off into a new company, Eastern Counties Omnibus Company, and Eastern Counties inherited the coach works – now concentrating on building bus bodies, with a workforce of over 600 people. In July 1936, the coach works were separated into a new company, Eastern Coach Works, which developed into the largest full-time employer in Lowestoft.
In May 1940, the factory received orders from the military authorities to cease production. It was thought that, following the outbreak of World War II, the East Coast would be the first target for an invading German army, so all wheeled vehicles were moved away from the site so that they did not fall into enemy hands. As a result of this, 950 staff were laid off. By 1947, though, production was back to pre-war levels.
ECW was nationalised in 1947. For the next 18 years, its business consisted mainly of building bus bodies, which were mounted on Bristol chassis, for state-owned bus operators. In 1965, the state-owned Transport Holding Company sold a 25% share in ECW to Leyland Motors, which enabled ECW to sell to the private sector. During the 1960s, it was common to see a bare bus chassis being driven through town by a goggle-wearing driver, delivering the chassis for a body. In 1969, ECW became part of a 50/50 joint venture between the National Bus Company (successor to the Transport Holding Company) and British Leyland (successor to Leyland Motors).
The materials to build the buses came into the Coachworks via Essex Road at the back of the factory, but the newly built buses were driven out of the big doors at the front. They drove down the short, narrow lane, with no pavements called Eastern Way, on their way to their new depot. Eastern Way used to be called Laundry Lane, but the name was changed to Eastern Way following the opening of Eastern Coachworks.
The joint venture came to an end in 1982, when British Leyland took complete control, and ECW closed in 1987. The site was subsequently demolished to make way for the North Quay Retail Park, which opened in 1990. ECW was one of Lowestoft’s largest employers, with around 1200 staff at its peak.
ECW was probably best known for its close association with Bristol Commercial Vehicles. Amongst the Bristol buses most frequently bodied at Lowestoft were the:
Bristol LH – a small, single deck bus (1970s)
Bristol Lodekka – a front-engined double deck bus (1950s and 1960s)
Bristol RE – a single deck bus (1960s and 1970s)
Bristol VRT – a rear-engined double deck bus (1970s), successor to the Lodekka
1921 ECW 123 United Lowestoft
1927 Dodson ECW
1937 Bristol GO5G ECW H54R W-WY-GO5G
1937 Bristol JO5G ECW B32F BWT-765
1938 Bristol L5G ECW B32F CWT-859
1938 Bristol L5G ECW B32F
1939 1955 Bristol K59 ECW H30 Rebodied in 1955 OWT-201
1939 ECW UK
1941 Bristol ECW UK
1945 Bristol K6A ECW 27-36R GHN840
1945 Bristol ECW UK
1947 Leyland PD1a ECW H30-26R LAE-13
1948 Albion CX19 Venturer + Eastern Coachworks L27-28R body
1948 Albion CX19 Venturer with E.C.W. L27-28R body
1949 Albion 70, right and E.C.W. bodied Bristol NHY939 on the left. The Albion was a CX19 Venturer