Sydney S. Guy founder and Managing
|Sydney Slater Guy, the founder of Guy Motors was born in
1885 and grew up in the King's Heath area of Birmingham. After
serving an apprenticeship at Bellis and Morcom he moved to the
Humber Car Company of Coventry after obtaining the post of
In June 1909 he moved to Wolverhampton to
become Works Manager at the Sunbeam Motor Car
At the end of 1913 Sydney Guy left Sunbeam in order
to start his own business.
In May 1914 he founded Guy Motors Limited, based at a new factory in Park Lane, Fallings Park, Wolverhampton.
Plans and finance for the new venture must have been well in
hand before he left Sunbeam because production began almost
immediately after the formation of the company.
Sydney Guy at the wheel of a 1910 prototype Sunbeam
|Guy Motors began to produce commercial vehicles, and would
eventually become one of the country's leading vehicle
manufacturers. On 4th
August, 1914 Britain declared war on Germany and the factory was
commandeered by the War Department for munitions work. Soon the
factory produced not only lorries, but tank engines, aero
engines, and depth charge firing mechanisms for the Admiralty.
After the war
full-scale vehicle production restarted at the works, but sales
were hampered by the thousands of cheap army surplus lorries
that were sold by the Army Disposal Board. Possibly with this in
mind, Guy Motors decided to diversify and began to manufacture
luxury cars alongside their lorries.
|Production of the Guy Open Tourer, the first British 8
cylinder car began in 1919.
It was powered by Guy’s new 4 litre, 20 hp. V8 engine that had
inclined side valves, inclined detachable heads, and a single
cam shaft. The engine also had a combustion chamber which
greatly improved the efficiency, making it as efficient as
overhead valve designs..
The new 8 cylinder Guy car.
An advert from the Autocar, 29th November, 1919.
The first ever automatic chassis
|The car also featured the first ever automatic chassis
lubrication system, in which all parts of the chassis were
lubricated by pipe lines running from a pump, operated by a cam
on the steering lever. Each time the car turned on extreme right
lock, the cam operated the oil pump.
The car was designed by
E. D. J. Buckney, and first appeared on the market in the summer
The company not only sold
the car as a chassis to coachbuilders, priced at £1,175, but also supplied a
complete car with a Guy body. The complete car initially sold
for £1,475 but after a year the price was reduced to £1,395.
Around 150 to 200 of them had been built by the time
car production ended in 1925.
|The first British V8 engine.
||Another view of the engine.
|The Guy saloon car.
|A cheaper model appeared in 1921, the 'Guy Saloon Car',
available in two versions, 12 hp. or 16 hp. The 12hp. chassis
sold for £475, or £600 for the complete car. The 16 hp. chassis
sold for £550, or £750 for the complete car. The steering
column could be raised or lowered to suit the height of the
An advert for Guy cars at the
Motor Show, from the "Motor" 2nd November, 1921.
A Guy prototype open Tourer with Sydney Guy at the wheel.
Taken in 1919.
|Very few if any of these cars were made, perhaps only a few
hundred in total.
It is said that one was given to Henry
Meadows, who drove it consistently for many years.
In 1923 a saloon car, the 13/36 hp. was launched with a two litre engine
and four wheel brakes; a very advanced feature for the time. There were two models, the 4 door saloon that sold for £650, and the tourer with a hood, that sold for £495.
The Guy 13/36 hp. touring car.
Both Sydney Guy and his wife had Guy cars.
He had an open tourer, she had a coupé.
Because of poor sales and the general world slump in the car
market, Guys decided to end car production in 1925 and
concentrate solely on commercial vehicles.
Another view of the Guy 13/36 hp. car. From Guy sales
|Read a contemporary article about
A photo of a Guy open Tourer taken in 1919.
A Guy open Tourer outside the factory.
A final view of the V8 open Tourer.
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