Into the 1930s
The early 1930s was a difficult time for the company, due to the depression, which reached an all-time low in 1932, and the emergence of a serious rival in the form of Bedford commercial vehicles, launched by General Motors in 1931. Trade didn't start to pick-up until 1933. Luckily Guy continued to develop military vehicles, and was sustained by many orders from the War Office. It was a worrying time for the country due to the goings-on in Germany as a result of the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist Party.

The 1930 Road Traffic Act greatly influenced the construction of commercial vehicles. A 30 mph. speed limit was imposed on all goods vehicles with an unladen weight of up to 50 cwt. Vehicles weighing more were not allowed to exceed 20 mph. This encouraged the development of lighter vehicles.


       Thomas Henderson's Guy 'ON' from 1930. The 'ON' was a
        lightweight chassis introduced in 1926.


An advert from 1930.

Read about a long service Guy lorry.

 

In 1930 Guy introduced the 'Warrior' 4-wheeled chassis, powered by a Gardner diesel engine, and the 6-wheeled 'Goliath', a development of the 'Warrior'. Both had driven rear axles, and 8 speed gear boxes. The 'Goliath' could accommodate a 22 ft. long body, and carry a 12 ton load.

The development of the all-important Guy military vehicles continued with the launch of 6-wheel and 8-wheel driven vehicles which could go almost anywhere, even across a 6 ft. wide trench, without falling into it.


A Guy 8-wheel driven vehicle crossing a trench.

Read about the Guy patents
that made the multi-wheel
driven vehicles a possibility
   
Another view of an 8-wheel driven Guy.

This one is crossing an area of extremely boggy ground.

   
Read about the oil-engined
models in the Guy range
   
Guy reached another important milestone in the development of new products with the launch of the 'Wolf' chassis, and the 'Arab' bus chassis in 1933.

The new vehicle, built to carry 2 tons, included some new improvements in design, that used more expensive, and lighter materials.

At the time, the weight of an unladen vehicle was usually about the same as the maximum weight of load carried.


Sir Malcolm Campbell at the launch of the 'Wolf' chassis.

The new vehicles were more efficient, and had lower running costs. The new chassis was launched at the Park Lane factory by Sir Malcolm Campbell, on 11th May.

The 'Wolf' was soon followed by the 3 to 4 ton 'Vixen', and the 'Otter'. The 'Vixen', powered by a Meadows 3.3 litre, 4-cylinder engine became a popular product. The 'Otter', which could carry a load of 6 tons weighed under 2½ tons fully equipped. 


Adjusting a 'Wolf' chassis after a road test.


A 'Wolf' 2 tonner.


Three 'Wolf' Lyons' ice cream vans.


A 'Wolf' 2 tonner with forward control.


Another 'Wolf' 2 tonner.

A fully laden 'Wolf' 2 to 3 tonner, a lighter version of the 'Wolf' 2 tonner which was more economical to run.

It was powered by a Meadows 3.3 litre, 4-cylinder engine, and available with normal or forward control.


A Guy 'Vixen' van.


A Guy 'Vixen' lorry.


Another 'Vixen' lorry.

The Guy 'Vixen' furniture van that has recently been acquired by Specialised Movers of Sheffield.

It is from 1938, and is powered by a Meadows 6-cylinder petrol engine.

It is believed to be the only pre-World War 2 Vixen still running.

Courtesy of Nigel Shaw, who kindly sent the photo.

Another view of Specialised Movers' Vixen van.

Courtesy of Nigel Shaw.


An 'Otter' and trailer.


An 'Otter' six tonner.


A Guy delivery van.


Another Guy delivery van.


One of Lewis's large fleet of Guy vans.

A 6 ton Guy 'Otter' cattle truck that was supplied to Mr. J. W. Crump of Bobbington.

 
Read about the 'Wolf' 2 to 3 ton chassis
   
In 1935 Guy Motors was invited to take part in army trials at Llangollen. The company submitted the 'Ant', a new 4-wheeled vehicle with a payload of 15 cwt., and a short wheelbase. After performing well at the trial, Guy received an order for 150. After receiving the order from the Government, Guy Motors began to concentrate on the production of military vehicles. The 'Ant', a development of the firm's 15 cwt. platoon truck was developed with the help of the Army Mechanisation Unit. By 1938 the production of vehicles for the civilian market completely ceased when Guy relied exclusively on Government contracts. It would be some years before the production of vehicles for the civilian market recommenced.


A Guy 'Ant' fitted with a compressor unit.

The 'Ant' used many 'Wolf' and 'Vixen' components, and had large section tyres for improved road traction, and greater ground clearance.  The 'Ant' was capable of running on steep and sharp gradients, and could operate in axle-deep mud or sand.

Development of the vehicle continued with the launch of the 'Quad Ant', a 4x4 with an all steel, fully enclosed body, and seating for the driver, a commander, and a crew of 4. It had built-in ammunition lockers, and a crash bar across the radiator on which a winch cable could be hooked. The 'Quad Ant' could haul loads of 6 to 14 tons, up gradients of 1 in 2. They were mainly used as gun tractors, pulling 17 or 25 pound guns. Some also pulled anti-tank guns.

A forward control version was also produced, with a longer wheel base, and a dynamo in the drive line, for use as a mobile generator for powering searchlights. A further development of the 'Quad Ant' was the 'Lizard'.


A Guy 'Quad Ant'.


A Guy 'Quad Ant' General Service wagon.


A Guy 'Lizard'. Some of them were taken to France in 1939 by the British Expeditionary Force.


A Guy searchlight lorry.


A Guy searchlight generator chassis.

Research and development was continuously carried out at the works to ensure that the company's products were technically advanced.

This photograph shows a corner of the laboratory.

In 1938 Guy Motors produced the first British rear-engined, 4-wheel drive, armoured car, as a development of the 'Quad Ant'. It had a hull and turret of bullet-proof, homogeneous hard un-machinable plate, which was welded instead of riveted together. Until this time it was assumed that it was impossible to weld the plate.

Welded construction had many advantages. It reduced the number of casualties resulting from 'splash', and rivet heads flying around the inside of the tank. It reduced the price of material for each tank by eliminating the machining of the plate. The vehicle was far more waterproof, and could enter water of a greater depth.

The Government technical department advised that it was impossible to commercially weld the material, and so Guy offered to weld the first batch ordered, and if unsuccessful, to stand the cost. The vehicles were welded, and on examination by the military, the technique was found to work extremely well. As a result it became standard practice and saved the country an estimated 100 million pounds.

The new development was put at the government's disposal, for the duration of the war, and Guy received an award from the Royal Commission for developing the technique.


A Guy armoured car.


The rear view of a Guy armoured car.


 Another view of a Guy armoured car.


An advert from 1938.
 
An advert from 1942.


Four 'Vix-Ant' lorries.


A 1939 6 ton 'Otter'.


   
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The Late 1920s
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beginning
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World War 2