Old Bus Photos

Highland Omnibuses – Guy Arab – HGC 147 – E8

Highland Omnibuses - Guy Arab - HGC 147 - E8

Highland Omnibuses Ltd
1945
Guy Arab II
Alexander L27/26RD (1952)

In July 1965 I did a tour of Scotland on a railrover – I think one week though it may have been two – the object of which was to cover as much of the existing passenger rail network as possible, many of the lines being threatened with closure at that time. There was little time to do any bus photography, as arrival in a town at the end of daylight with no booked accommodation meant that finding this was first priority. Then it would be up in the morning for the earliest appropriate departure.
One of the very few occasions where leisure was enforced was near the beginning of the adventure, on my arrival in the far north of Scotland. The railway timetable simply didn’t allow the Thurso and Wick branches to be covered exclusively by rail without an inordinate waste of time. Having arrived at Thurso around 4 pm, it was then a matter of finding a bus to take me to Wick, from where I would catch the early train back to Inverness.
Highland was very much the ‘Second-hand Rose’ of the Scottish Bus Group, particularly as far as double-deck buses were concerned. As far as I can make out, none were bought new between a Guy Arab IV in 1950 and a batch of Fleetlines in 1978.
Having observed (and photographed) a ‘new’ (1963) Lowlander – recently transferred from Central – on the Scrabster service, and a venerable former Scottish Omnibuses Arab II – still with utility body – on the town service to Mount Vernon, I was quite happy to see E8 as seen above turn into the High Street with its destination showing Wick.
HGC 147 began life as London Transport G368, a Guy Arab II with Massey H30/26R utility bodywork. LT’s Guys were always odd-men-out, so had a short life, being withdrawn with the expectation of sale for further use in the early 1950s. The Scottish Bus Group took a number of them, and 19 found their way to Western SMT who in 1952 replaced the utility bodies with smart new Alexander low-bridge bodies in their domed style. HGC 147 took WSMT fleet number 1005. 13 years later, the chassis now fully 20 years old, E8 was still looking smart.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Alan Murray-Rust


20/05/19 – 07:24

These Massey G’s were delivered in the second half of 1945 and probably had the weakest, certainly the most ugly, utility bodies of all LT’s vehicles of this type. ‘Ian’s Bus Stop’ website states that she was acquired for use on Dounray work. She certainly looks smart here and was finally retired in May 1967.

Chris Hebbron


23/05/19 – 06:57

As an afterthought, Alan, I’d hazard a guess that the drivers (and probably conductors) of these venerable vehicles, with austerity bodies or not, would have rued the day that they were ousted by the truly awful Albion Lowlander.

Chris Hebbron


09/06/19 – 10:51

The Guy Arab in its well known guise evolved entirely from the advent of the Second World War, and had it not done so, then, as respected author Robin Hannay confirms, the Guy company would probably have disappeared entirely by 1950. The original Arab FD model (the code stood for forward control type ‘D’, as the previous Guy buses had carried the letter ‘˜C’ – the ‘D’ did not, as often stated, stand for ‘diesel’) came on the market in 1933, carrying forward much of the design philosophy from the FC Invincible that preceded it, and, indeed, an FC demonstrator was rebuilt by Guy as an Arab. This early Arab design was conceived within the Leyland TD1 school of thought, with the engine, driving position and front bulkhead set back from the front axle; this enabled the accommodation of the Gardner 6LW engine, though the 5LW was the usual power unit. The neater front end structure of the AEC Regent had already arrived in 1929 and, strangely, the contemporary Guy trolleybuses did have a tidy frontal design. 1933 also heralded the appearance of the Leyland TD3 with a compact front end but the somewhat autocratic Sidney Guy maintained his own strong beliefs on the subject of bus design. The production run run of the original double deck Arab lasted until 1936, during which period about 50 were made, though Burton on Trent Corporation Transport, a confirmed user of the 4LW powered Arab in its single deck guise, took six more in 1940 and a further six in 1941. Between 1936 and the early years of the war Guy produced vehicles for the military, but even this activity trailed off when the orders for searchlight vehicles were cancelled as radar played a greater role in detecting enemy aircraft. With the outbreak of war all new bus production was halted, being slightly relaxed subsequently to permit the assembly of ‘unfrozen’ chassis. It soon became clear that something had to be done to meet the urgent need for new buses, and, in 1941, officialdom turned first to Leyland, but also (to general astonishment, since it had not been a significant double deck manufacturer for five years) to Guy. When Leyland withdrew due to the pressures of other wartime work, operator astonishment turned to apprehension that the industry’s needs were to be met solely by the Guy company. The original Arab design was clearly outdated and Major Chapple of Bristol offered Sidney Guy the drawings for the K5G, but Mr Guy was having none of it. His new bus would be a Guy, but the shape of the redesigned chassis showed very close similarities with that of that of the Leyland TD7 (a wartime version of which was originally expected to be supplied also), though established Guy transmission units were incorporated. The subsequent history of the Arab Utility is well documented, and its rugged dependability became legendary, even though the ‘˜back to front’ selector positions of the original crash gearbox was not a universally popular feature. However, London Transport drivers did not like the Arab, and the members of the G class were disposed of as soon as the new London Transport Executive could get rid of them, even though they were mechanically sound with years of life potentially ahead. In the booming post war public transport period there was a somewhat paranoid attitude by the Labour government about the disposal of nationalised undertakings’ assets to companies within the UK but outside the state fold, and very many of these Arabs were sold abroad instead. Even Edinburgh Corporation had a mighty struggle to get sixty surplus Arabs from LT. However, the Scottish Motor Traction group was nationalised in 1949 and thus became an acceptable recipient for former London machinery which, like HGC 147, then went on to give sterling service for very many years.

Roger Cox


10/06/19 – 07:41

I believe all London Transport’s Guy Utilities had the 5LW engine and this one, despite having the protruding radiator, appears to have had it’s upturned front wings cut back. It also retains the Arab II high bonnet line although I understand a conversion kit was available to achieve the lower bonnet line of the Arab III, perhaps Western thought the extra expense was unjustified – a shame really because it would have made a nice looking bus even better.

Chris Barker


 

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Exeter Corporation – Guy Arab – UFJ 297 – 57

Exeter Corporation - Guy Arab - UFJ 297 - 57

Exeter Corporation
1957
Guy Arab IV
Park Royal H31/26R

Until 1956, Exeter Corporation’s only experience of the Gardner engine came with five Bristol GO5G buses of 1935. All had gone by 1948. Exeter did not accept any utility buses until 1944, but these were seven Daimler CWA6, and ten more of the same type followed in 1945. It appeared that the Corporation had set its face determinedly against the Guy Arab. In the years up to 1950, the Daimler CWD6/CVD6 rather than the Gardner powered alternative then became the favoured chassis, a total of thirty three entering service, apart from a batch of seventeen Leyland PD2/1 in 1947. After 1950, Exeter did not order any new buses until 1956, when the Corporation turned unexpectedly to the 6LW powered Guy Arab IV, variously with Massey, Park Royal and MCW bodywork. Guy Arab IV UFJ 297, No. 57 of 1957 is seen in Exeter Bus Station in the early summer of 1970, shortly after the sale of the Corporation’s passenger transport interests to the National Bus Company, which sadly occurred in April of that year. The supremely elegant H31/26R Park Royal body style with the deeper saloon windows is essentially similar to those being delivered to East Kent on tin fronted Arab IVs at that time, and it amply illustrates the catastrophic collapse in design standards from the sublime to the ridiculous that subsequently afflicted that formerly respected coachbuilder. Apart from a delivery of five Leyland PD2/40 in 1958, Exeter stayed with the Arab until 1960, when Guy, besotted with its new wonder Wulfrunian, withdrew the Arab from the market.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


13/06/17 – 06:39

I didn’t know Guy withdrew the Arab from the market in 1960. Its absence can’t have lasted long, as Lancashire United received Arab IVs in 1960, 1961 and 1962, and Arab Vs from 1963 onward.

Peter Williamson


13/06/17 – 09:12

Yes, Guy did take the Arab off the market, convinced that the Wulfrunian would conquer in its place. In 1960 the Guy company collapsed and Jaguar took over the Wolverhampton business. It was pressure from established aficionados of the marque, together with the almost universal rejection of the troublesome Wulfrunian that then quickly led to the reinstatement of the Arab.

Roger Cox


13/06/17 – 13:59

13-06-2017 at 07-42

The slightly earlier Massey bodied Arab (superbly maintained by Wyvern Omnibus Ltd) appeared at the GWR (Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway) 1940s weekend earlier in the year. The crest and name are particularly impressive. The photos were taken by Mr Ray Phillips aka "Ray the Spiv", sometimes seen on wanted posters at 1940s events!

Andrew Gosling


17/06/17 – 10:04

Magnificent bus, and what sound-effects! Colin Shears told me that when faced with the choice of which of the Massey-bodied batch to preserve he went straight for TFJ 808, as it had the most musical gearbox of the lot. What a pity, though, that none of the Park Royals survived. A question: was the Arab IV available to the end, or was it replaced by the Arab V?

Ian Thompson


18/06/17 – 06:52

Firstly, I should correct the date I gave in my comment above. Guy went into receivership and was bought by the Jaguar Group in 1961, not 1960 – apologies. Turning to Ian’s enquiry, the Arab V, which was introduced after the Jaguar takeover, was fundamentally a Mark IV with a chassis frame lowered by 2½ inches enabling the forward entrance to be accessed by just two steps instead of the three usual on conventional front engined chassis. Thus the Mark IV was simply supplanted by the Mark V in production until the last Mark Vs were delivered to Chester in 1969.

Roger Cox


19/06/17 – 07:18

Since this is a discussion emanating from a 27-foot Arab IV, it should be pointed out that at that length the Arab IV was actually supplanted by the Daimler CCG6 (Chesterfield at least having a Guy order transferred to Daimler), while Guy concentrated on 30-foot Arabs and dreamed of Wulfrunian orders. The 27-foot Arab V came into being eventually, but I understand only one batch were built – for Cardiff.

Peter Williamson


20/06/17 – 07:15

There is a bit more history behind the Daimler CCG6. From 1959, Daimler tried to get more of the ‘non preselector’ market by introducing the CSG6 with the David Brown synchromesh gearbox. The David Brown box proved to have reliability problems, and when Jaguar bought the Guy company, the indestructible Guy constant mesh gearbox replaced the troublesome David Brown unit in the CCG5/6 models, which, like the Arab V, were available from 1962.

Roger Cox


 

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Southampton Corporation – Guy Arab UF – JOW 928 – 255

Southampton Corporation - Guy Arab UF - JOW 928 - 255

Southampton Corporation
1955
Guy Arab UF 6HLW
Park Royal B39F

JOW 928 is a Guy Arab UF, dating from 1955. It has a Park Royal body and, in the first view it has been renumbered to 903 for duty with the Council’s Welfare Department. It is in the Southsea rally on 17 June 1984.

Southampton Corporation - Guy Arab UF - JOW 928 - 255

This second view shows it restored to its original fleet number, 255, in the yard at Portswood for an open day. 9 July 1988.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


08/05/17 – 08:05

Southampton had twelve of these Guy Arab UF buses, the chassis of which were purchased in 1952. The first six, 244 – 249, were bodied immediately, but the others did not receive bodywork until 1955. The date of 1955 shown in the heading is thus only half correct. It should be 1952/55. Originally, the first five bodies were of B26D dual doorway layout, but this was quickly changed to B36D, which is the form in which the later ones, 250 – 255, first appeared. Nos 244 – 249 were withdrawn in 1963, and the remaining five had their bodies altered to B39F form in 1964, though, strangely, 254 and 255 were withdrawn from service in that same year. 252 went in 1968, but 250/1/3 lasted until 1971. More pictures of these buses may be found on the OBP Southampton gallery.

Roger Cox


08/05/17 – 11:10

An underfloor of real character: uncompromisingly no-nonsense bodywork, a good solid chassis and wonderful sound-effects. My only ride on one of these was not in Southampton but with an independent in Lincolnshire.
Is JOW 928 the bus that is now under restoration by the Southampton group?
Another question: did any heavy UFs have the five-speed gearbox that was fitted to the LUF?

Ian Thompson


09/05/17 – 07:37

As I understand the position, Ian, the UF and later LUF models all had the same catalogued transmission options, i.e. four or five speed constant mesh or four speed preselector. Whether any UFs actually had the five speeder is another matter of which I am uncertain, but a few did have the preselective box.

Roger Cox


09/05/17 – 17:03

Do we know what the L in LUF stood for?

Chris Hebbron


09/05/17 – 17:33

Light, Chris? At least, that would be my guess.

Pete Davies


09/05/17 – 17:33

JOW 918

And here is one with Green Bus of Rugeley

Tony Martin


17/05/17 – 07:48

Yes, Lightweight Under Floor or the L.U.F. for short

Stuart Emmett


18/05/17 – 07:58

Thx, Pete/Stuart.

Chris Hebbron


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Sunday 16th June 2019