I have read some where that the Chieftains head radiator filler cap first appeared on the Arab III in 1946. But I have seen photos of Arab IIs with the same filler cap, anyone any information please. I would also like to know why a Chieftains head what connection was there between a Red Indian Chief and a bus chassis builder from Wolverhampton.
Guy Motors had a motto "Feathers in our cap", which they were using as an advertising slogan as early as the 1920s, and the Indian head and headdress was related to that. The earliest version I can find reference to was on a B-type single decker supplied to Burton on Trent Corporation in 1928. It was used more frequently after the war.
11/11/14 - 06:04
I have one of the Chieftains heads, with Feathers in our caps, on it. I always wondered what it was for and what purpose it served.
12/11/14 - 06:00
Here is a shot at BAMMOT, Wythall earlier this year of one of these devices on a Birmingham Standard.
12/11/14 - 14:13
I have a rather unusual replica of one of these, and I treasure it greatly having watched it being made. I bought it at the Amberley Chalk Pits Museum where there was a working forge operated by a real craftsman. The badge is in plain silver metal but is a very accurate reproduction indeed and incorporates a realistic castellated "radiator filler cap." As a lifetime great admirer of Guy vehicles - yes, even with reservations the "maritime" Wulfrunian - its a lovely momento to have
One of the greatest thrills of my career on the buses, and there were many thrills, was my first trip in driving service with our Otley depot (Samuel Ledgard) wartime Arab FD2, JUA 763. As a child I'd ridden on it in its Pickering utility form and, later, as rebodied by Roe and boosted by a Gardner 5LW, and I'd enjoyed many hours conducting it, and then came my first encounter with it as a driver. Remembering the first essential, gearbox "back to front", I was immediately fascinated by the totally different sound effects to those experienced in the saloons. Taking it out on every possible occasion, there was a certain degree of flexilbility other than with the Mark V Regent "trunk route" beauties, I even had the incredibly sad duty of a late turn with it on its last day in service - I don't mean to be flippant when I say that I had the feeling of taking a much loved pet to the vet for the inevitable end.
Oh, and JUA 763 didn't have an Indian Chief's badge either - didn't need one as all the loveable practical Guy features were obvious in abundance !!
12/11/14 - 15:52
All the Northern General Transport group Guy Arab D/D's had an Indian Chieftains head radiator cap when they entered service. I would be amazed if any still had them by the time they were withdrawn.
12/11/14 - 17:07
What do you mean by, "boosted by a Gardner 5LW", Chris? Weren't these standard issue, save in special circumstances? Or was it a typo for 6LW?
All the utility bodies were 14 6" high, which caused problems for London Transport, which had many garages with entrances too low for them. In this great photo, it towers over the lowbridge Leyland TD next to it!
13/11/14 - 06:26
Sorry indeed Chris H - yes of course I meant 6LW and was thinking of that when I made the typo - rather worrying I'm afraid, but then I think that most of us do it occasionally. Both 763 and its shorter bonneted sibling 762, which lived at Armley depot with occasional loans to Bradford, were fitted with 5LWs until after the rebodying - a miscarriage of Ministry of Supply justice as virtually all of Ledgard's routes were beset by some fearsome gradients.
14/11/14 - 05:59
Chris Y, you raise a very interesting point. We know that several operators who received Guy Arabs during WW2 were granted special dispensation to have the 6LW engine because of the nature of the terrain they served. I've never seen a list of exactly who they were, does such information exist or has it been lost in the mists of time?
15/11/14 - 05:35
Chris B - I can't say that I've ever been aware of any such register of the "chosen minority" of 6LW utility Arabs, and I would imagine that any such information would not have been in the public domain "en bloc." ??
Comments regarding the above are more than welcome please get in touch via the 'Contact Page' or by email at
Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Friday 6th March 2015