Historic Truck Brands

Dennis and Dennis Eagle

The Dennis and Dennis Eagle business histories are complicated. Dennis Brothers Limited made specialised vehicles from the 1920s and Eagle Engineering started making engines in 1907. The two brands were combined in 1971.

Dennis Brothers are best known for their production of fire engines, bus chassis and waste collection trucks.  All vehicles were made to order to the customer’s requirements and more purpose-built than most modified mass production equivalents. 

The last Dennis fire engine left the Guildford factory in 2007, but the Dennis brand is still used on Alexander Dennis buses and Dennis Eagle garbage trucks

After the 1930s Great Depression Eagle changed from making engines to building road trailers and semi-trailers. They also added an electrical and wireless department and produced wireless sets until 1936. Ownership changed a number of times during the 1960s.

Dennis Eagle was formed in 1971, when the Hestair Group bought Yorkshire Vehicles Limited, Eagle Engineering Co and Dennis Motor Holdings, managing the businesses as the Vehicle Division of Hestair Engineering. Municipal bodies were made by Hestair Eagle, incorporating Yorkshire Vehicles and municipal chassis were made by Dennis.

By the early 1990s, environmental vehicles, branded Dennis Eagle, represented around one-third of Hestair’s Vehicle Division. There were several ownership changes throughout the early 2000s, culminating in 2016, when Netherlands-based Terberg BV took over Dennis Eagle.

Notable product launches included the Phoenix 1 body in 1979 and the Elite 1 chassis, the UK’s first low entry cab, in 1992. Further developments have led to the introduction of the Phoenix 2 in 2001 and the 8×4 Elite 2 in 2003. 

Built on a 4850 mm wheelbase and with Cummins power and dual controls, the Elite 2 featured a one-step entry and exit cab, tall and wide door openings, true flat floors, walk-through cabin and a high-visibility mirror package.

In 2010, Western Star Trucks Australia – now Penske Commercial Vehicles – began importing Dennis Eagle refuse collection trucks to Australia. 

The Australian product line was based on the Elite 2 chassis and enjoyed instant success Australian marketplace. Cleanaway took its first truck in 2011 and its 500th unit in 2019.

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