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.

The first trolley bus in South Africa, a Guy 'BTX'.

One of the many Guy trolley buses that were exported, is loaded onto a ship.

It appears to be a 32- seater, bound for Japan.

An early 1930s coach operated by Tours & Transport, King Street, Wolverhampton.

Guy 26-seater.

From 'The Commercial Motor', 29th September, 1933. Between 1932 and 1937 Derby Corporation purchased 76 'BTX' trolley buses from Guy, becoming one of Guy's best customers.
In  1933 Guy launched the 'Arab' bus chassis, the first bus chassis designed for use with a diesel engine. It was designed for use with the Gardner 'LW' range of engines, and had vacuum-hydraulic brakes. Although sales were not very good in the 1930s, when around 60 were built, later versions of the design would sell in extremely large numbers, and allow the company to flourish until well into the 1950s

One of the last pre-war 'Arab' buses to leave the factory with the wartime seating arrangement that left room for more standing passengers.

An additional feature was incorporated in the Guy 4-wheel double-deck trolley buses operated by Wolverhampton Corporation.

The vehicles were equipped with two 24 volt batteries, which were connected in parallel for lighting, but if required for manoeuvring, they were then connected in series to give 48 volts. This was sufficient to power the vehicles for a distance of 2 or 3 miles, without the use of the overhead power lines.

This feature had many advantages; for instance, if a driver wanted to take his vehicle into the depot, or manoeuvre in the depot, it was possible to do so without the assistance of the overhead wires.


An advert from 1936.

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. 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. 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.

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 unmachinable 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.

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