The Dennis brothers Raymond and John were cycle makers of Guildford and in 1899 they began making motor tricycles and quadricycles with De Dion-Bouton engines. In 1901 they opened what was probably Britain's first purpose-built motorcar factory on a site near Guildford railway station, and happily this three-story building survives. After making some prototype cars they turned to the services of Lacoste & Battmann to supply their initial motorcar production. Larger cars were introduced and overhead worm-drive was adopted in 1904.
White & Poppe engines became the standard power units, this Coventry firm being bought by Dennis in 1919 by which time car production had ceased. However the words 'fire-engine' and 'Dennis' became virtually synonymous and the firm is still very active in the world of municipal and commercial vehicles.