The Late 1920s
In the mid 1920s Guy introduced an ambulance, based on the one ton 'JA' chassis, with special springs and shock absorbers. The body was built in the body shop, and could accommodate 4 sitting patients, and two stretchers.


A Guy ambulance.


A Guy rigid 6-wheeled chassis.

Guy continued to develop cross country vehicles for military use, and in 1926 began to produce a rigid 6-wheeled chassis with 4 rear wheels mounted on a rocking cross-shaft, to form a bogie, which allowed a large amount of articulation.

The rear wheels could be fitted with chains so that the vehicle could successfully be used under the most difficult conditions.

The vehicles were supplied in many forms, including general service army wagons, artillery tractors, field workshops, and searchlight generators.

   
Read about the Guy rigid frame, six-wheeled chassis
   


A 6-wheeled chassis on test.


A 6-wheeled lorry fitted with chains on the rear wheels.


One of the 6-wheeled gun tractors supplied to the Indian government.


Another view of a gun tractor.

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. 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.

During the same year, the company produced Europe's first 6-wheeled buses, and the world’s first 6-wheeled double decker trolley buses, which were supplied to Wolverhampton Corporation. 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.

Another Guy innovation appeared in 1927. Petrol supplies were few and far between in many remote parts of the world, and so the company developed the Guy gas producer, a vehicle that burnt charcoal. 18 lbs of charcoal would do the same work as 1 gallon of petrol, and was far cheaper. The vehicles were supplied to many customers, including the Crown Agents for the colonies, the Empire Cotton Growing Corporation, and the Australian government.


A Guy gas producer.


The gas producer chassis.

         
Read an article
about the Guy
gas producer
chassis
  Read about the
test of a Guy gas producer in
Australia
         


A final view of a gas producer lorry.
    

One of the fleet of Guy 6-wheeled buses using the drop-frame chassis, which was sold to the London Public Omnibus Company in 1927.

They were the first 6-wheeled buses to operate in the capital, and were a great success.


 A prototype armoured car chassis on test under full load.

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.

   
Read about one of the oldest Guy lorries that is still in use
   
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.

A 1930 Star 'Comet'.

Unfortunately a small loss was made on the sale of every vehicle. 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. 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.


A fine example of a Guy vehicle used for mobile publicity.


An unusual application for the 6-wheeled chassis was the Tsetse fly exterminator vehicle that could uproot trees and clear vegetation with the cutter at the front.


Part of a large fleet of 6-wheeled Guys.


   
Return to The
Early Inter-War Years
  Return to the
beginning
  Proceed to
Into the 1930s