23rd November 1933 to 4th December 2021
Robin Hannay was born and spent his childhood in Derby. From an early age Robin was a bus enthusiast standing on the gates of his parent’s house to watch buses travel down the A38 to Burton upon Trent. In his formative years at Bemrose Grammar School Robin developed a strategic ability to avoid all forms of physical exercise instead sitting in the school library observing the comings and goings of the Derby Corporation bus fleet and importantly the delivery of new vehicles from Guy Motors to coach builders in Loughborough and Leeds. On Saturday mornings Robin cycled the four miles from his parents’ home to local operator Blue Bus Services in Willington to clean their fleet of buses.
Supported by his father, Robin joined Guy Motors on the Student Engineering Apprenticeship scheme in September 1950. Little did he realise what a pivotal career choice this would prove to be. In later years he would produce numerous articles and books documenting the history of Guy Motors. His apprenticeship served him well gaining experience in all departments and enabling him to attend the Commercial Motor Show, an annual event for Robin until his retirement.
In 1959 Robin joined Dennis Brothers as the Loline sales manager and quickly got involved in the re-design of the Loline to create the Mk3 which was launched at the 1960 Commercial Motor Show. Unfortunately, Robin’s enthusiasm was not shared by Dennis who decided not to increase production of the Mk3 which led to a parting of the ways with Robin joining AEC in the summer of 1962. Robin was promoted and moved from West Bromwich to St. Helens. AEC merged with British Leyland to eventually form the British Leyland Motor Corporation and Robin remained with British Leyland until 1975. In 1975 Robin joined Kays of Buxton, a Leyland dealer, as Sales Manager before moving onto Chatfields of Manchester where he remained until his retirement in 1998.
Robin was a lorry and bus enthusiast for over 80 years joining the Omnibus Society in 1950, the PSV Circle in 1953, the Historic Commercial Vehicle Society in the 1960’s and was a stalwart of the Model Bus Federation since its inception. His knowledge was encyclopaedic making regular contributions to magazines including Buses, Classic Buses, Historic Commercial Vehicles, Vintage Roadscene and society journals. His published books provide authoritative information on the history of AEC, Dennis and, of course, Guy Motors. In his retirement he was never happier than when correcting “misconceptions” particularly those related to the Guy Wulfrunian.
Even in his final days, as he sorted through his extensive model collection, Robin was happy to provide his family with an education on the subtle differences between operator liveries, explain the need for proper research and extol the virtues of the Guy Arab Mk IV, for which he produced the 1956 Commercial Motor Show brochure.
Robin’s funeral will take place at The Vale Crematorium, Evesham Road, Fladbury, Pershore, WR10 2QR on 22nd December 2021 at 4pm. No flowers please but donations to the Salvation Army and Shakespeare Hospice would be most welcome. I understand suitable transport to the service has been arranged on an AEC lorry, his friends Guy lorry was under the weather.
The next photo is of Robin in recent years. We are preparing a DVD which looks at some of Robins work with cine and rescuing Guy archives. Our normal daily blog will follow under a separate posting.