With the first mild-steel prototypes appearing in 1938, the Guy armoured car was the first all-welded armoured fighting vehicle to be produced for the British Army, a feat which was recognised by the Royal Commission on Awards to inventors after the war, when Guy Motors was awarded a sum of £5,000.
The basis of the vehicle was the chassis of the Guy Quad Ant field artillery tractor, which had been redesigned by the Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF) at Woolwich to place the engine at the rear, and which had been fitted with reinforced suspension to accommodate the increased weight. Whilst the early prototypes were of riveted construction, the company proposed to the War Office that a welded hull would provide a higher standard of protection and special jigs and manipulators were constructed to facilitate the process. initially described as `tank, wheeled, Mk I’, with its 15mm-thick armour and turret-mounted machine gun, the production versions of the vehicle offered the same levels of protection, and the same type of armament, as the British light tank Mk VI.
The first armoured examples appeared in 1939. in its Mk I configuration, of which 50 examples were constructed, the vehicle carried a turret-mounted 0.5in Vickers machine gun, together with a co-axial Vickers 0.303in; the Mk IA, which accounted for the remainder of production mounted 15mm and 7.92mm Besa machine guns. some examples may have also been fitted with a Boys anti-tank rifle as the main armament.
The power output of the Meadows 4ELA four-cylinder engine was 53bhp from a capacity of 3,686cc, and, in combination with a four-speed gearbox, was capable of propelling the 5.2-ton vehicle at a maximum speed on the road of 40mph (65km/h). Rigid axles were used front and rear, suspended on semi-elliptical multi-leaf springs.
Total production amounted to just 101 vehicles before Guy handed the design over to the Rootes Group although the company continued to produce the hulls for what became the Humber Mk I armoured car.
A handful of Guy armoured cars went to France in 1939, but from 1940 the type was used only for training and domestic defence work including the escorting of VIPs.
In 1940, the lower part of the hull was also used to construct a wheeled armoured carrier, but there was no series production. With the turret removed and the hull modified, the Guy was also used as an experimental mount for the 25-pounder (87.6mm) field gun, but, again, there was no series production.
Manufacturer Guy Motors
No. built 101 (50mk.1 & 51mk.1a)
Specifications (Mark I)
Weight 5.2 long tons (5.3 t)
Length 13 ft 6 in (4.12 m)
Width 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
Height 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m)
Armour up to 15 mm (0.59 in)
Main Armament .5 inch Vickers machine gun
Secondary Armament .303 inch Vickers machine gun
Engine Meadows 4ELA 4-cyl petrol engine 55 hp (41 kW)
Power/weight 10.6 hp/tonne
Transmission 4 forward, 1 reverse gear
Suspension 4 x 4 wheel
Operational range 210 mi (340 km)
Speed 40 mph (64 km/h)