The Post War Years

In 1946 post war production got underway with the introduction of a single deck 'Arab' and the reintroduction of the pre-war version of the 'Arab' double decker. The single deck version had a 17 ft. 6 inch wheelbase, and in common with the double deck model had a Wilson preselective, epicyclic, constant mesh gearbox, and a friction clutch. All chassis were road tested by travelling from the factory to Bridgnorth and back.

An 'Arab' single decker used in Burton-on-Trent.

The 'Arab' single deck chassis. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

Another view of the 'Arab' single deck chassis. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

The driver's seat and controls on an 'Arab' single deck chassis. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

Specification of the single deck 'Arab' chassis. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

A fleet of 'Arab' single deck chassis bound for Kenya. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

The first post-war trolleybus was built for Belfast Corporation in 1947

In 1948 Guy Motors acquired Sunbeam Commercial Vehicles Limited from Brockhouse, which had owned Sunbeam for 2 years. From then-on all Guy trolleybuses carried the Sunbeam name. Also in 1948 Guy made an agreement with Park Royal, which allowed the company to produce double deck bodywork on Park Royal frames. Initially trolleybus production continued at Moorfield Works, but in 1953 production moved to the Guy factory in Park Lane, were an extension had been built to the machine shop. Trolley buses continued to see well. By the mid 1950s there were more Sunbeam trolley buses in South Africa than the total of all other makes.

A Sunbeam 2 axle, double deck trolleybus, 30 ft. overall length, built for Walsall Corporation in 1954.

From a Sunbeam catalogue. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

Sunbeam trolleybus chassis specifications. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

From a Sunbeam catalogue. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

One of the fleet of Sunbeam trolleybuses operated by Pretoria City Transport Department.

Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

One of the 170 Sunbeam trolleybuses used at Huddersfield.

Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

One of the fleet of Sunbeam S7 trolleybuses used by Reading Corporation Transport Department.

Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

One of the large fleet of Sunbeam trolleybuses used in the City of Johannesburg.

Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Corporation had more than 100 Sunbeam trolleybuses in service.

Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

One of a fleet of Sunbeam trolleybuses supplied to the Western Australian Government Tramways at Perth.

Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

One of the large fleet of the City of Kingston-upon-Hull's trolleybuses. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

From a Sunbeam catalogue. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

One of the large fleet of single deck Sunbeam trolleybuses used in Brisbane. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

A 'Vixen' 30 seater coach.

An 'Arab' single decker used in Scotland.

An 'Arab' single decker used in Holland.

A 'Vixen' 30 seater coach used in Holland.

An 'Arab' single decker used in Nyasaland.

An 'Arab' luxury coach used in Scotland.

An 'Arab' double decker used in Southampton.

A Birmingham Corporation 'Arab' Mark IV.

New versions of the 'Arab' appeared in 1950 including the underfloor-engined single decker and the 'Arab' Mark IV with a new style of radiator grille.

The Arab Mark IV was developed for Birmingham Corporation, which took delivery of 300 chassis.

It was also produced as a 40 passenger single decker with an 18 ft. 5 inch wheelbase.

An underfloor-engined, single deck 'Arab' designed for one man operation. Supplied to Huddersfield Corporation. It had a 43-seater Guy body.

Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

One of the large number of 'Arab' Mark IVs supplied to African Transport Limited.

Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

East Kent Road Car Company Limited operated over 190 Guy buses including 55 'Arab' MK IVs like the one shown opposite.

Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

One of the 48 'Arab' MK IVs that were operated by Southdown Motor Services Limited.

Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

An 'Arab' Mark IV operated in Hong Kong by the China Bus Company Limited. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

An 'Arab' Mark IV which operated in South Africa. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

An 'Arab' Mark IV which operated in Belgium. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

Another 'Arab' Mark IV which operated in South Africa. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

In 1950 a new version of the 'Otter' chassis for 30-seater body was introduced. It was similar to the 'Vixen' but had a heavier chassis and different sized wheels. London Transport ordered 84 'Vixen' chassis, fitted with Perkins 'P6' diesel engines. During 1953 Guy developed a small rural bus for London Transport, based on the 'Vixen', but with some 'Otter' parts.

The 'Otter' passenger chassis was available with a 6-cylinder Perkins P6, or a 4-cylinder Gardner 4LK engine. The chassis weight in full running order was 2 tons 13¾ cwts. with the 4-cylinder engine, or 2 tons 14¼ cwts. with the 6-cylinder engine. The chassis had a 5-speed gearbox, and semi-elliptic front and rear spring suspension with telescopic hydraulic shock absorbers at the front and rear.

An 'Otter' coach.

In the early 1950s the costs of passenger vehicle operation were continually rising. This created a demand for a lightweight chassis to reduce fuel consumption. As a result Guy developed the 'Arab' lightweight, heavy duty, underfloor-engined bus, introduced in 1953.

The neat and easily accessible panel, and controls.

The 'Arab' chassis was powered by a Gardner 5HLW, or a Gardner 6HLW engine, with 4-speed plus reverse epicyclic, constant mesh gearbox.

Automatic chassis lubrication was available as an extra.

The chassis consisted of a strong, rigid assembly, consisting of two main channels, with channel section flitch plates inserted at the point of maximum stress, channel section and tubular cross members, and an extreme front channel, extended outside the frame to provide an exceptionally low step.

As in other Guy chassis, fitted bolts were used rather tan rivets.

The wheelbase was 16 ft. 4 inches, and the chassis was 8 ft. wide.

An 'Arab' lightweight, heavy duty, underfloor-engined coach, built in 1954.

Some of Guy's customers in the 1950s.

By 1954 Guy passenger vehicles were operated by 150 companies in the UK, and abroad, in 26 countries. During 1954 the company developed the first 2-axle trolleybus chassis with an overall length of 30 ft. for Walsall Corporation's Transport Department. The department's general manager, Mr. Edgley Cox had obtained permission from the Ministry of Transport to operate 2-axle 30 ft. long double deck trolley buses, which could seat 68 passengers. 15 chassis were supplied, and they were fitted with Willowbrook bodies. The new buses were a great success, and the law was changed the following year to allow the design to be used elsewhere. 

In 1955 Guy Motors made what would eventually turn out to be a fatal mistake, the opening of subsidiaries in Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg. The company’s vehicles sold in large numbers in South Africa, a country which was greatly liked by Sydney Guy after he spent some time there recovering from pneumonia. Until then South African sales had been efficiently handled by a number of agents appointed by the company, but that all changed when Guy Motors sold directly to local vehicle operators.

A Guy 'Warrior' vertical engined passenger chassis.

A further development of the 'Warrior' was the vertical engined passenger chassis, built from 9 inch deep x 3 inch wide x ¼ inch thick, high tensile steel pressings. It had an alloy steel 'I' section front axle, a two-speed, fully floating rear axle, Bendix-Westinghouse air-hydraulic brakes, and cam and double roller steering gear. The suspension consisted of overslung semi-elliptic springs at the front and rear, with lever type shock absorbers at the front. It was powered by a Gardner 4LW engine, or a 7.685 litre oil engine. The chassis was suitable for 40 to 42 seater bodies.

A Guy 'Warrior' coach.

Another development of the 'Warrior' was the lightweight underfloor engined passenger chassis, called the L.U.F. for short. It was usually powered by a Gardner 5HLW oil engine, although other engines were available to suit individual requirements. The lightweight chassis was intended for 30 ft. bus or coach bodies, and designed for reliability, and a long working life.

A 'Warrior' L.U.F. coach.

Sydney Guy, the company's founder, retired in 1957 after 43 years with the company. He died at his home in Albrighton on the 21st September, 1971. He was 86 years old.

In the autumn of 1958 Guy Motors introduced the 'Victory' high performance, maximum capacity, single deck bus or coach chassis. Versions were available for the home market, and also the European, and Commonwealth markets.

The front cover of the 1958 Guy 'Victory' literature. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.


The 'Victory' chassis and features. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

The 'Victory' specification. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

Guy also produced the 'Seal' lightweight single deck bus or coach chassis, available with a long or short wheelbase. The underfloor engined chassis was designed for use as a  high performance, small capacity tourist coach, or as a small bus for feeder service routes.

A Guy Motors 'Seal' small capacity tourist coach. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

The 'Seal' chassis. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

The 'Seal' specification. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.

In the mid 1960s Guy Motors decided to build an advanced passenger chassis with air suspension, to give a smoother ride. The company had gained some experience after building a number of coaches with air suspension for Greyhound in America. The project was certainly bold, considering that at the time the company had limited financial resources, and so it had to be run on a shoe string. It began with consultation, during which Guy personnel talked to a number of bus operators to discover their future requirements for a low-height, double deck chassis. The outcome was that it should be 30 ft. long, 8 ft. wide, with a front engine, seating 78 passengers.

A Wulfrunian bus, as seen at the Black Country Living Museum in 2005.

The new chassis, called the 'Wulfrunian' was a development of the Guy 'Victory Airide' single decker chassis, introduced at the 1958 Earls Court Show. The 'Wulfrunian' included many new features, some of which were not sufficiently tried and tested. It had anti-roll air suspension, independent front suspension, disc brakes, automatic transmission, few oiling points, and on paper appeared to be years ahead of the competition.

Another view of the 'Wulfrunian'.

Read a technical description of
the 'Wulfrunian'.
Unfortunately it turned out to be a disaster for both Guy Motors and its customers. Operators purchased the 'Wulfrunian' because of the reputation of Guy 'Arab' buses, which were well designed, and extremely reliable. The same could not be said of the 'Wulfrunian', which rapidly got an extremely bad reputation. There were several problems including brake seal failure, trouble with the air suspension, disc brake overheating because of the constant stopping and starting, and some chassis fractures, which led to escalating warranty costs. All these could have been rectified, but Guy Motors did not have the financial resources to do so. Customers must have been extremely disappointed with the unreliable design, which resulted them having to replace the vehicles after a relatively short period of time. 137 'Wulfrunians' were built, 126 going to the West Riding Automobile Company. The first two were purchased by Wolverhampton Corporation, one with an entrance at the front, the other with the entrance behind the front wheels.

A final view of the 'Wulfrunian'.

1958 also saw the appearance of the 'Warrior Trambus' consisting of a modified 'Warrior' truck chassis which was designed at short notice for a Greek customer.

A Guy 43-seater 'Warrior Trambus'.

The 'Trambus' was powered by an A.E.C. 6-cylinder, 135 b.h.p. engine, and had a 5-speed synchromesh gearbox, driving an open tubular type propeller shaft into the rear 2-speed driving axle, with electric shift control. The suspension used overslung semi-elliptic leaf springs, with double-acting hydraulic dampers at the front.

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