In 1960 the 'Warrior II' truck
chassis was introduced. There were two
versions, the 6-wheeled 'Warrior Light 6' with 3 axles, and the
8-wheeled 'Warrior Light 8' with 4 axles. Guy claimed that the
vehicles had the largest payload for the lightest chassis, in
the weight class, and also the lowest prices. The vehicles soon
became very popular.
At the time, Guy Motors looked in good
shape, the lorries were selling well, but there were two
serious, and eventually, terminal problems. The first was the
failure 'Wulfrunian', which was a disaster. The second problem, which
continuously drained the
company financially, was the company’s operation in South
Africa, which was loosing £300,000 a year. This had been Guy’s
first venture into the retail market. Many vehicles were sold on
hire purchase, through finance companies, under a contract by
which Guy was responsible for any losses to the finance company
caused by default of payment. This was a common occurrence, which
cost Guy dearly. Guy also offered a generous trade-in allowance
which was far too high. Many old and rotten vehicles, only
suitable for scrap, were traded-in at far too-high a price.
A plan of the Guy factory. I would like to thank
Sue and Terry Pinson for their help with it.
The factory in 1948.
The Spare Parts Stores that had over 45,000
Rear axle and gearbox assembly.
Large vehicle assembly track.
Small vehicle assembly track.
Gear cutting machines.
The Drawing Office.
Electricity Generating Station.
Sun ray treatment in the Works Clinic.
A long service certificate. Courtesy
of Nigel Martin.
By October 1961 the two serious problems
left Guy Motors in a precarious financial position. There was no
alternative but to call-in a receiver.
At the time, Sir William Lyons, Managing
Director of Jaguar was looking to expand the company, which had
acquired Daimler in June 1960. Lyons, being an astute
businessman realised that Guy Motors could be acquired
relatively cheaply. He purchased it at the bargain price of
Guy Motors liabilities were disposed of in a clever
way. One week after the takeover, the assets were transferred to
a new company, Guy Motors (Europe) Limited. The liabilities
remained with the now defunct Guy Motors Limited. On the Friday
before the formation of the new company, all of Guy’s employees
were told that they were sacked, and would be re-employed by the
new company the following Monday.
Jaguar’s impact was immediately felt at
Park Lane. The Guy directors were informed that although no
money was available, they were expected to get the business out
of its financial mess. Some were made redundant, and the others
were told that they would now have a reduced salary, and loose
their pension rights. The range of vehicles was rationalised,
casualties being the 7 ton 'Otter' and some models in the
A new and final development of the 'Arab',
the mark 5, appeared in 1962. It incorporated a number of
improvements including full air brakes with automatic adjusters,
and a lower frame, 2½ inches lower
than previous models. It was powered by a 112 bhp. Gardner 6LW
diesel engine, with a 4-speed plus reverse constant mesh
gearbox, or a fluid flywheel and semi-automatic box. The chassis
had telescopic shock absorbers at the front and rear.
The 'Arab' mark 5 double deck chassis.
The specification of the 'Arab' mark 5. Courtesy of
The 'Arab' flexibly mounted radiator. Courtesy of
An 'Arab' mark 5.
|In 1964 Jaguar acquired Guy’s next door
neighbour, engine manufacturer Henry Meadows. At this time
Jaguar owned many of the best British companies and looked set
to dominate the market. The same year saw the launch of Guy’s
final truck the 'Big J' (Big Jaguar) was introduced as a
replacement to the 'Warrior' and 'Invincible'.
Another new product was the 'Conquest', a 36 ft. single deck,
rear-engined passenger chassis, with full air-suspension, to
provide outstanding handling qualities, and freedom from noise
and vibration. It was ideally suited for the luxury coach
A 'Conquest' luxury coach, from the Guy Motors
literature. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.
Features of the 'Conquest' chassis. Courtesy of Brian
Another view of a 'Conquest' luxury coach, from the
Guy Motors literature. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.
In 1965 the 'Warrior Trambus' was replaced by a new version of
the 'Victory' chassis based on the 'Big J' truck chassis, with
an AEC AV505, Gardner 6LX, or a Gardner 6LW engine. The 'Victory
Trambus' as it was called, later became British Leyland's
standard heavy duty export bus chassis.
A Guy 'Victory Trambus'.
The 'Victory Trambus' chassis. Courtesy of Brian
The 'Victory Trambus' chassis specification.
Courtesy of Brian Shaw.
Another 'Victory Trambus'. Courtesy of Brian Shaw.
At the time Jaguar was going from strength
to strength. Its products sold well, and by 1965 its annual
profit was £1.6 million. On 11th July, 1966 Jaguar merged with
the British Motor Corporation (BMC) to form British Motor
Holdings, a decision which would eventually have disastrous
consequences for Guy Motors. Initially this had little impact on
Guy Motors, where production continued quite normally.
Unfortunately British Motor Holdings struggled to make a profit,
often due to poor costing.
The labour government of the day thought that the troubles
in the British motor industry could be cured by company mergers.
Harold Wilson encouraged the merger of British Motor Holdings
with the Leyland Motor Group. As early as February 1967 the
Minister of Technology, Tony Benn, informed the House of Commons
that the two companies were holding talks about a merger. This became a reality on 14th May, 1968 when the companies
formerly merged to become the British Leyland Motor Corporation
In 1969 the final batch of 'Arab V's were delivered to Chester
Corporation. They were the last Guy bus chassis to be built for
the British market.
The 'Big J' continued to sell well, around 16,000 chassis
were produced in all, at the factory, which for a while kept the
factory open. Leyland had intended to close Guy Motors in the
mid 1970s, but it remained open because of the demand for the
80 'Victory' chassis, modified for double deck bodies were
sent to South Africa in 1973. They were extremely successful and
so a mark 2 version was designed with the front axle moved
forward, in front of the entrance. The new chassis was supplied
to operators in South Africa, and Hong Kong.
In 1975 the Leyland 'Landtrain' T43 was introduced, and many
were built at the Guy factory, along with some Leyland
'Marathon' trucks, and a few 'Crusaders'.
new single deck version of the 'Victory' chassis appeared in
1978 with improved suspension and brakes.
A Guy 'Victory U.F.' 40 to 45 seater long distance
coach, which had all-round air suspension.
A Guy 'Victory U.F.' 44 to 65 seater, inter city or
luxury touring coach.
By the late 1970s Leyland was finding it
hard to compete with the growing competition from abroad. A
rationalisation programme began, during which many of the
group’s factories were closed. In 1981 the decision was taken to
close Guy Motors because the factory lacked the facilities that
modern truck production required.
Guy Motors was however, one of the few
companies in the Leyland group that actually made a profit. Its
order books were full for at least 18 months ahead, and its
workforce was second to none. Sadly this not taken into
consideration, and the factory closed in August 1982 with a loss
of 740 jobs.
Guy vehicles were well known throughout the
world. The company exported to 76 countries, and was well
respected for the quality and reliability of its products.
If Guy hadn’t opened the South African
subsidiary, it could all have ended very differently. Money
would have been available to sort out the teething troubles with
the 'Wulfrunian', and further developments would have ensured a
continuing range of up-to-date designs.
|The final nail was knocked into the coffin on Tuesday 5th
October,1982 at an auction held in the works, during which the
entire contents of the factory were sold off.
The 1047 lots
included everything, from hand tools, drill bits, and lathe
tools, to benches, cranes and hoists, forklift trucks, heavy
plant, the contents of the offices, and kitchen equipment.
During the 10 days following the auction, the factory opened
on week days from 8-30 a.m. until 4.30 p.m. so that successful
bidders could remove their purchases from the site.
This must have been a terrible sight for the hundreds of
loyal Guy workers who had only recently lost their jobs.
|The following obituary appeared in the Express &
Star on the 27th August, 1996.
Motor Giant Dies, 67
A former Wolverhampton motor
manufacturer who won acclaim throughout the world has
died from cancer, aged 67.
Trevor Guy died at home in Whiston,
near Albrighton, yesterday. His family was at his
bedside. His wife Shirley paid tribute today to a
"generous and gentle man". Mr. Guy was the younger son
of Sydney Guy who founded Guy Motors in Fallings Park in
The company won fame for producing
commercial vehicles and buses. It also made around 150
V8 luxury cars and a few small four-cylinder models.
Trevor Guy became a director of the firm and served on
its board until it was sold to Jaguar in 1961.
Educated at Rugby School, he became
an engineering student with the family firm. He served
for 18 months in Germany with the 10th Royal Hussars and
later travelled the world as a sales executive. After
the company was taken over, Mr Guy turned to farming at
Whiston before retirement. He was diagnosed with cancer
His widow Shirley said: "He loved
the country and country pursuits, and was also an
exceptional sportsman. Above all, he was a man of
integrity and was extremely popular and respected."
Mr. Guy leaves a son Ashley and
daughter Amanda. The family is to hold a small, private
funeral next week.
Courtesy of Sue and
|Many people fondly remember the company and its products,
which were once a familiar sight throughout the country.
Luckily some of the vehicles still survive, and are owned by
enthusiasts who keep them in first class condition. They are often seen at vehicle rallies, where they keep the
Guy name alive. Hopefully this will continue for many years to come.
The Post War Years