By Rod Ward
Guy was one of the great names in British commercial vehicle history, The marque lasted for over 60 years before disappearing into the British Leyland abyss. When we think of Guy vehicles, we usually mean lorries or buses, but few enthusiasts today realise that in the 1920s Guy also made cars. It should not be such a surprise, however, as Sydney Guy was previously works manager at Sunbeam, a company which made both cars and commercial vehicles. His own firm aimed to offer all kinds of road vehicles, cars, buses and lorries, all built to high standards. Guy cars were too expensive, however, so production ceased in 1925, though Guy then took over the neighbouring Star Motor Co, and made Star cars until 1932. When the Star project also turned out to be unprofitable, Guy gave up on car manufacture and turned to military vehicle production in the mid-1930s, though trolleybuses was another profitable market sector, and after the war Guy took over Sunbeam trolleybus production. Another motor industry visionary, William Lyons of Jaguar, had a similar concept to that of Sydney Guy; to make quality vehicles in all sectors.
In 1961 Jaguar took over Guy, but the motor industry amalgamations that followed snuffed out the idea of an upmarket vehicle group, as Jaguar was combined into BMH, then absorbed by BL. All Guy vehicles were essentially handmade, but they were sold at similar prices to those of competing mass-produced products, so it is not surprising that the marque inspired loyalty among Guy owners as well as among the dedicated staff in Wolverhampton. In this publication we tell the story of Guy Motors, from its optimistic birth before the Great War, to its slow death under British Leyland ownership.