Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ranting Stan's Sunday Drive: Standard Vanguard

I suspect that most British people under the age of 40 have probably never heard of the Standard Motor Company, but the Coventry based manufacturer was a familiar name in Britain up until the early sixties. Even for someone as old as me the Standard was a rare sight by the time I was old enough to appreciate cars, but the marque remains high on my radar mostly due to the sheer loyalty that so many Standard owners seemed to have for their cars.

In particular there was one good friend of mine from junior school whose father had bought Standards from new since the war. When they stopped using the name, preferring to use the Triumph badge they acquired in 1945 he stopped buying new cars and continued to run his 1960 Standard Vanguard up until he died in the late 1990's. Considering he was a solicitor and not short of a bob or two, that is particularly surprising.

The Standard Vanguard Phase I was launched in 1948, but was originally an export only model and didn't make it's debut on British streets until 1950. The car featured a very American look which was quite a departure from the usual British designed car of the time.

Obviously, though, the version of the Vanguard most familiar to me was the later Vanguard Phase III - as owned by my friend's father. By this time the Vanguard had lost most of it's US influence and looked much more like it's contemporaries. From what I recall of it, it was an outstandingly comfortable car to ride in even if it wasn't particularly quick for a car with a 2 litre lump under the bonnet.

Despite my friend's dad's affection for the marque, there weren't enough people sharing his love for the Standard name and in 1963 it was quietly dropped with the Triumph name taking prominence - except, oddly enough, in India where the name Standard continued to be used up until the mid 80's with the last car to carry the name being a version of the Rover SD1.

1 comment:

RayD said...

As nobody else want's to comment, I'd just like to say my dad had a white Vanguard estate, and a jolly nice motor it was too.