Central SMT

Special Features Focus on : Guy Arabs

Contributed by Douglas G MacDonald, 2003

The Prize Guys

Central SMT had previously bought Guy Arabs (Marks I to III) in modest numbers, both single and double-deck, but the advent of a new monarch also saw a new marque on which Central put a unique twist.

As the new decade dawned, the Wolverhampton manufacturer had developed an underfloor-engined version of their Arab brand, the UF. In keeping with the events of 1952, Walter Alexander introduced the stylish Coronation body for Guy’s UF chassis. Like most of the other nationalised Scottish companies, Central placed an initial order, for 10 of these modern-looking and handsome vehicles, on 41-seat coach bodies with central single-door entrance. They were allocated fleet nos. K35-44, K being the company’s code for Guy single-deckers.

Less than two years later, the Traction House hierarchy decided to buy another batch of Arab UFs, but instead of maintaining the trend, they opted to turn back time and requested 10 on bus bodies. That was fair enough – but they asked Alexander to supply traditional cut-away rear entrances for stage-carriage use, albeit with a manually-operated folding-door for some kind of weather protection. Of course, Central SMT had already purchased single-deck Arabs with bus bodies by Guy between  1948 and 1952 (K1 – K34), and with their last rear-entry single-deck Leyland being T162 back in ’49, the decision to go rear retro with the new Arabs in ’54, fleet nos. K45-54, must have raised a few eyebrows among the other group companies, none of whom followed Central’s example!

The ten tribesmen didn’t exactly lead nomadic lives with Central, being split mainly between Hamilton and Carluke depots, and used on Hamilton locals, Carluke / Lanark area services, and the occasional sojourn into the big city on a trunk route, usually as a duplicate.

They all gave Central more than ten years service, and most journeyed on to new oases. While some may liken the rear-doored Coronation body specification to wearing a suit with a semmit and no shirt, the company bosses appear to have been vindicated in their choice. In the decade which saw the 78 give way to the 45, these Guys remain unique in the transport revolution(s).

K45–54, Guy Arab UF, Alexander ‘Coronation’ B43R, New 1954, GM5945 - GM5954



Disposal details
K451965Alexander (Fife) for spares


1966Shipbreaking Industries, Faslane for staff transport


1966Alexander (Fife) for spares


1966W.Loudon, Contractor, Edinburgh


1966Shipbreaking Industries, Faslane for staff transport


1967Tiger Coaches, Salsburgh , 3/67


1967Shipbreaking Industries, Faslane for staff transport


1967Tiger, Salsburgh 3/67 then to Logan, Contractor, Muir of Ord


1967Shipbreaking Industries, Faslane for staff transport


1967W. Loudon, Contractor, Edinburgh 6/67

Four of the unfashionable Arabs, including K46, were acquired by Shipbreaking Industries at Faslane for staff transport. They probably used their own blowtorches to break up these landlubbers when their Clydeside days were done.

K50 is pictured in Hamilton, on a town service. At the time, the No 8 was Fairhill - Whitehill, but after a mid-60s revision, it became a North Motherwell - Burnhead service, with new route number 227 being applied to the Fairhill - Whitehill run.

Laying over at a damp and cold Lanark, K52 has arrived at the stance on service 27 from Wishaw (East Cross) via Clydeside. The scenic route via Garrion Bridge, Crossford and the ilk must surely have required more than the allocated 43 minutes during the winter!

The last of the batch, K54, is seen traversing Hamilton (Bottom) Cross on a private hire.

After service with Central for nigh-on 13 years, K54 travelled to the Orient - well, east to Edinburgh, having been bought by Loudon (contractor) to ferry his builders to sites in the region. The bus was following in the tyre tracks of its Arab brother K48.