The Late 1920s

In 1926 much of the country’s industry was brought to a standstill by the general strike, which lasted for 10 days, from the 3rd of May until the 13th of May. It was called by the TUC in an unsuccessful attempt to protect coal miner’s wages and working conditions.

Many companies were badly affected by the strike, but luckily at Guy Motors only a few employees came out on strike, due to the excellent industrial relations at the factory.

After the strike, Sydney Guy formed a works committee to liaise with employees and management in a case of dispute. All employees had to sign a declaration stating that they would follow a standard procedure, and would not undertake any industrial action until the procedure had been completed. They agreed to notify the works committee in writing, about any dispute, and the works committee in turn, had to discuss the matter with management, and reply in writing within 48 hours.


One of the three 6-wheeled Guy D.D. chassis with a Roe body that was purchased by Oldham Corporation in 1926.
If the reply was unsatisfactory, the works committee could then refer the matter to the relevant trade union representative, who could communicate with the managing director. The system worked extremely well, and Guys remained strike free.


A Guy CX 6-wheeled bus from 1929 operating in Leicester during W.W.2.


A 1929 Guy FCX bus chassis.


Britain's first 6-wheeled double deck bus outside Wolverhampton Town Hall.


The world's first six-wheeled pneumatic-tyred trolley bus.

By 1925 it was obvious that larger capacity buses were becoming a necessity because of the growing population of towns.

As a result, Guy Motors developed a 6-wheeled version of the dropped-frame chassis, which
led to the introduction
of Europe’s first 6-wheeled double decker buses, and the world's first 6-wheeled trolley buses in 1926, both of which were supplied to Wolverhampton Corporation.


Another of the fifteen 6-wheeled Wolverhampton Corporation trolley buses that entered service in 1927.


A 6-wheeled trolley bus chassis.

   
Read about the Guy rigid frame, six-wheeled chassis
   
Read about the Guy OND model
   
In 1927 a fleet of Guy 6-wheelers were sold to the London Public Omnibus Company and appeared on the streets of London.

They were so successful that the bus company was purchased by the London General Omnibus Company, which later became the London Transport Executive.


One of the first 6-wheeled buses to be operated in London.


A 1927 Guy BB 31-seater coach run by the Fleet Coaching Company, Crookham, Hants.


A 1927 B type 21-seater coach operated by Cleethorpes Corporation.

Rapid developments in petrol bus design hastened the decline of trams. Many towns and cities decided to invest in trolley buses as a replacement for trams because the electricity generating capability was already at hand. Trolley buses offered many advantages. They pulled to the kerb for loading, were much quieter than trams, more reliable, and cheaper to run. The Guy trolley buses featured Guy's patented regenerative braking system, which provided electric braking and fed power back into the line.

They were the first of the large number of Guy trolley buses which would be built during the next 36 years, and supplied to operators both in the UK and abroad.. In March, 1927 Jack Bean joined the Board of Guy Motors. He had previously been Managing Director of Bean Cars Limited at Tipton.


A Guy 6-wheeled double deck long distance coach.

In 1928 Guy pioneered the 6-wheeled double deck sleeper coach, which ran between London and Manchester.

 

Until the 1940s, armoured cars were usually based on large touring car chassis. In the mid 1920s Guy developed an armoured car based on the 6-wheeled commercial vehicle chassis, to produce a robust, go anywhere design. The vehicle weighed 9 tons, and had a circular blower-type radiator, and a top speed of 45 mph. In 1928 over 100 of them were supplied to the Indian government.


A Guy armoured car.

By the late 1920s the Star Engineering Company Limited of Wolverhampton found itself in trouble because of falling sales. The company produced a small range of commercial vehicles, and high quality cars. In 1928 with production still falling, Star found itself in a precarious financial state. As a result Guy Motors took control through an exchange of shares, though Star continued in existence as a separate company, now called The Star Motor Company Limited.

In 1927 Star launched a new commercial vehicle chassis called the 'Flyer' which was developed from a 20-seater low-loading bus chassis. It was powered by a 3.2litre 6-cylinder engine, and sold for £645.

When Sydney Guy decided to take the company over, he either had his eye on the 'Flyer', or wanted to re-enter the high quality car market. Most of Star's production took place in a number of factories in the Frederick Street area of Wolverhampton. The company also had a new factory in Showell Lane, Bushbury, where bodies were built. In 1929 all of the factories around Frederick Street were closed, and production moved to Showell Lane where cars could be built under one roof. The workforce was reduced to around 250, and Guy dropped some of Star’s heavier commercial vehicles that were in direct competition with its own products.

Three cars were available, the 18/50, the 20/60, the occasional 24/70, all with a range of bodies, and a 1¾ ton version of the 'Flyer' with vacuum brakes. Under Guy, Star cars retained their quality build and high levels of workmanship, but they were far too expensive for most people, particularly in a time of recession. 1930 saw the introduction of the ‘Comet’, ‘Planet’ and ‘Jason’ series of cars. Around 214 cars were produced that year, the most popular being the 18/50hp. ‘Jason’, selling for £595. Unfortunately a small loss was made on the sale of every vehicle.


A Star Flyer from 1927, operated by Holden's, Griffin Street, Netherton.

At the time, Guy Motors was also in financial difficulties due to the recession, and so couldn't afford to equip the new Bushbury factory with up-to-date machinery. Star found itself in a desperate situation, and as a result a receiver was appointed in March 1932.

Spares and manufacturing rights were obtained by McKenzie and Denley, of Birmingham, who continued selling spares and servicing Stars into the 1960s. The Frederick Street works were sold to James Gibbons (Windows) Limited, and later to Chadd Castings Limited, who cast aluminium components. The Bushbury factory was sold to Manley & Regulus, makers of plumbing fittings, and later acquired by Delta Metals.

The end of the 1920s was a difficult time for Guy. The company was nearly taken over by the rival lorry and bus manufacturer, Dennis Brothers Limited, of Guildford, Surrey in 1927. Between 1925 and 1929 profits greatly increased, but during the recession following the Wall Street crash in October 1929, Guy shares fell from one pound to just one shilling. Shareholders lost 95% of their investment in the company, which was caused by the recession, and the purchase of ailing Star. The company came close to collapse, and must have deeply regretted taking over Star.


   
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Early Inter-War Years
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Into the 1930s