Ltd. was founded by Sidney Slater Guy, who had been the
works manager of the Sunbeam Motor Car Company. He left
in 1913 and immediately set up Guy Motors having a new
factory built at Fallings Park, Wolverhampton.
Guy's first commercial vehicles, produced in 1914, were a 30 cwt. lorry, with a light pressed steel frame, patented three point suspension, a governor to control the speed automatically and a 14.9 hp White and Poppe four cylinder engine; and a two tonner.
The First World War intervened almost immediately and production was taken over by the Ministry of Munitions. Large numbers of vehicles were produced for military use but in 1917 vehicle production was halted altogether.
The company became the largest UK manufacturer of depth charge firing mechanisms and also produced large numbers of aero engines.
After the war, trade was not helped by a general world recession and the market was flooded with army surplus vehicles. But the war had proved the value of lorries and had trained a lot of drivers. The future for commercial vehicles was set fair.
In 1919 lorry production restarted with a 2 ½ tonner, the chassis being sold at £950. During the next few years the company also produced a number of specialized vehicles: a special farm lorry with tractor type spuds at the rear; a road/rail tractor; a 2 ½ tonner battery operated vehicle for refuse collection; and a producer gas lorry which ran on charcoal. All of these were made in very small numbers and lead to no longer term developments.
In 1919 they produced the Guy car, of which about 200 were produced, production ending in 1922.
In 1923 a 30 military lorry was produced and sold to the War Department. (A half-track vehicle was developed but was not successful). In 1926 a rigid six-wheeler with drive to both rear axles was produced and large numbers were sold as military tractors. About 1928 the Warrior 6 tonner lorry was introduced, the start of a long and successful line of vehicles under that name.
Same year Guys took over the almost bankrupt Star vehicle company in an exchange of shares, and production of their cars continued for some time thereafter, finally ceasing, for lack of sales, in 1932.
In 1934 the very successful Otter light vehicle chassis was introduced, another first in a long line. It had a payload of 6 tons but an unladen weight of under 50 cwt., thereby beating a statutory ban on vehicles of over 50 cwt. unladen weight going at more than 20 mph. It cost £425.
In the mid-1930s, at the Governments request, Guys developed a short wheel base four wheeler general service truck the Ant. This developed as the Quad-Ant gun tractor and as the first British rear-engined, 4-wheel drive armored car. It also became the basis of the civilian Vix-Ant lorry.
During the Second World War lorry production seems to have stopped, except of the military types, but production was concentrated on buses.
Lorry production restarted in 1946, based on improved versions of pre-war models.
The Vixen 4 tonner was introduced in 1947. The Otter 6 tonner was introduced in 1948.
In 1948 they acquired Sunbeam-Karrier, thus enabling Sydney Guy to buy out at least what was left of Sunbeam. Production of Sunbeam trolley buses and Karrier buses continued for a while at the Moorfields site but by 1953 the Karrier name had been dropped and all production moved to Fallings Park.
The 7 ton Big Otter, with Gardner or Meadows engine, was introduced in 1954.
The Goliath range, including a 22 ton rigid eight wheeler and a 19 ton six wheeler, was introduced in 1954. A German manufacturer was using the name Goliath, so Guys changed the range name to Invincible.
The Warrior 14 tonner came in 1956.
In 1958 the Warrior and the Invincible Mk II were fitted with a heavy duty cab.
After the company went in receivership in 1961 and was bought by Jaguar cars, the Invincible, Warrior and Otter were dropped in 1964 and replaced by the Big J range, with their slogan "Designed to Dominate".
In 1970 a 56 ton eight-wheeler, designed to carry a 20 ton container with another container on a draw bar trailer, was introduced to meet the new demands of containerization. This vehicle was beyond UK weight limits, so there was also a rigid eight-wheeler at 30 tons gross. The Big J range sold well enough but competition in the commercial vehicle market was fierce. In 1974 BMCs Scammell tractor units were assembled at the old Guy works, in order to meet the demand for them and to take up spare capacity at Fallings Park.
But competition, and the disaster that was BMC, were too much for the factory and in 1978 all vehicle production stopped. The works were demolished a few years later.
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