Dennis Specialist Vehicles
|Successor(s)||Alexander Dennis Limited (Chassis Group)
John Dennis Coachbuilders
Dennis Eagle Limited
|Parent||Hestair Group (1972-1989)
Trinity Holdings (1989-1998)
Mayflower Corporation (1998-2004)
Dennis Specialist Vehicles Limited was a major British coachbuilder and manufacturer of specialised commercial vehicles based in Guildford, England. The company was best known as the manufacturer of fire engines, although its other major product lines were buses, dustcarts and airport service vehicles.
Originally known as Dennis Brothers Ltd, the company was founded in 1895 by John (1871–1939) and Raymond (1878–1939) Dennis who made Speed King bicycles which they sold from their shop, the Universal Athletic Stores, in Guildford. They made their first motor vehicle in 1898, and in 1899, their first car; though shown at the National Cycle Show, it was never produced or sold. They entered car production around 1900. About this time John Dennis built the Rodboro Buildings, the first purpose-built motor vehicle factory in Britain, to manufacture motorcars in the centre of Guildford. Larger models followed with a 35 hp (26 kW; 35 PS) model in 1906 powered by a White and Poppe engine; this power unit soon fitted to all their models. Commercial vehicle activity was increasing with the first bus being made in 1903 and fire engine in 1908. Cars soon took second place and it is doubtful if any were made after about 1915. In 1913 Dennis moved to a larger factory at Woodbridge, on the outskirts of Guildford. In 1919 Dennis bought White and Poppe and transferred engine production from Coventry to Guildford.
In 1972 the company was acquired by Hestair Group and renamed Hestair Dennis after a few years of financial difficulties. It was sold to Trinity Holdings (formed from a management buyout from Hestair Group) in 1989 and then to Mayflower Corporation in October 1998.
As of 1990s, the company was no longer a single integrated whole, but was three independent businesses which their parent company is Dennis Group plc, namely:
- Dennis Fire - manufacturer of fire appliances.
- Dennis Bus - manufacturer of buses and other public transport vehicles
- Dennis Eagle - manufacturer of dustcarts/refuse lorries (municipal vehicles). This company also incorporated the remains of the Eagle Engineering and Shelvoke and Drewry concerns.
Dennis Group plc also owned Duple Metsec, the bus bodywork builder which usually supplied body kits for assembly overseas.
Mayflower Corporation sold Dennis Eagle in July 1999 and purchased by Ros Roca in 2006. Dennis Bus and Dennis Fire were incorporated into Transbus International (now Alexander Dennis) in 2001.
- E/EV (front-engined single decker)
- F/FS (bonneted single decker)
- G/GL (bonneted small capacity bus)
- H/HS/HV (front-engined double decker)
- Dart (bonneted small capacity bus)
- Arrow (front-engined single decker)
- Lancet/Lancet 2/Lancet 3/Lancet 4 (front-engined single decker)
- Lance/Lance 2/Lance 3 (front-engined double decker)
- Ace (front-engined small capacity bus)
- Mace (front-engined small capacity bus)
- Falcon (front-engined small capacity bus)
- Dominant (underfloor-engined single decker)
- Lancet UF (underfloor-engined single decker)
- Pelican (underfloor-engined light-weight single decker)
- Dart - front-engined full-size single-decker bus built in late 1970s
- Underframe of Duple 425 coach
- Dart/Dart SLF
- Lance/Arrow/Lance SLF
- Trident 2
- Trident 3
Fire engines 
- N-Type 1905-1920s
- D series
- DS series - 1980s-1990s
- F series
- R series
- RS series - 1978-1990s
- SS series - 1980s-1990s
- DF series
- DFS series
- TF series
- TSD series
- Sabre - 1990s-2007
- Rapier - 1990s-?
- Dagger - ?-2007
- Between wars
- Max Major
- Post war
Other vehicles 
Joint ventures 
- UMW-Dennis Specialist Vehicles - joint venture with UMW Corporation, based in Malaysia (1995–2002)
- Thomas Dennis Company LLC - joint venture with Thomas Built Buses, based in the United States (1999–2003)
See also 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Dennis Specialist Vehicles|
- Wise, David Burgess. "Dennis: Bicycles, Motor Cycles, and Fire Engines", in Ward, Ian, executive editor. World of Automobiles (London: Orbis, 1974), Volume 5, p.527.
- Wise, p.527.
- Wise, p.527.
- John Dennis Coachbuilders - Fire Engine Manufacturers - Specialist Fire Vehicle Bodybuilder
- Dennis Society
- Aldershot & District Bus Interest Group - Dennis buses in service with their once largest customer
- Dennis Specialist Vehicles records at Surrey History Centre