Thursday August 24, 2017
In the late 1940s and early 1950s the marque name of Standard spoke quality, dignity – and a decidedly lack of spivvishness. For many years their key model was the Vanguard although the illustration in this 1948 brochure for the original Phase 1 model does not actually do justice to its trans-Atlantic styling. Inside, such phrases as ‘accommodates six grown persons within moderate overall dimensions’ would have given hope and frustration in equal measure to thousands of motorists. The new Standard really was ‘Made in Britain…Designed for the World’ while UK drivers would have to put their names on a waiting list of literally years. By 1950, petrol rationing had finally been abolished but many would-be Vanguard owners could still only dream of owning the Standard with ‘suction controlled automatic ignition advance’.
By 1955, and the debut of the Phase III, there is a greater sense of consumer confidence in Standard’s publicity. In one PR illustration, Mr Vanguard is naturally smoking a pipe; I am convinced that in the 1950s there was a secret advertising code stating that there had to be at least one illustration of a pipe-smoking chap in any brochure for British cars. The Phase III is ‘powered by famous two litre that has already proved itself in hundreds of thousands of Standard vehicles since the war’, thereby making a sales advantage of a four-cylinder power plant when rivals from Austin, Ford and Vauxhall have six-cylinder power. From 1956 there was the short-lived Sportsman, a Vanguard for the Zodiac/A105/Cresta market with overdrive, twin SU carburettors and ultra-violet panel lighting. ‘A car that breathes prestige in every gracious line’, according to Standard.
From 1952 onwards the Vanguard was augmented by the Eight, the Standard’s alternative to the Austin A30 and the Morris Minor. By the time this brochure was issued in 1956, the Eight had developed into a range of small cars and even the entry-level ‘Family Eight’ now had winding windows; earlier versions were fitted with sliding panes. Of course, if you desired a heater as standard, you had to order the ‘Super Eight’ and the Stewart Granger look-alike seems utterly enthralled with his air conditioning unit.
However, for true distinction, only a Super Ten would suffice, with a 948cc engine in place of the Eight’s 803cc unit, a trip recorder, windscreen washers and a device for ‘those who prefer to have their luggage accessible from outside the car’. Yes, the cheaper models made do with a ‘rain and dust-sealed boot’ accessible only by folding down the rear seat - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjHOj3zbwyM – but the Super Ten had the decadent luxury of an opening lid.
In 1957 the Pennant, a super de luxe 10, was ‘the most exclusive car of the car’ – in the unbiased opinion of Standard Motors at any rate. The 8/10 saloons were replaced by the Triumph Herald in 1959 but the estate and commercial versions lasted into the early 1960s. I am particularly fond of the 1962 brochure for the 7cwt van and pick-up as the list of ‘built-in extras’ is just too tempting: ‘Full-width chromium bumpers’, a white steering wheel for that ‘luxury touch’, a roof ventilator, and ‘even an ashtray’. Meanwhile, the Vanguard Phase III gained a rather attractive facelift as the ‘Vignale’ in 1958 and Standard provided one of their press fleet for the excellent 1960 comedy-thriller The League of Gentlemen.
By late 1960, Standard was proudly announcing ‘A Sensational Six for ’61!’ but, as a sign of the changing times, the new 1,998cc Vanguard Luxury Six was sharing its publicity with the Herald. Standard Motors had acquired Triumph in 1945 and during the 1950s it was this badge that increasingly dominated the company’s output. The replacement of the Luxury Six, the car with ‘silent surging power', by the Triumph 2000 in late 1963, marked the end of the sixty years of the famous marque in the UK. It’s legacy can be seen today in countless motoring events and this promotional news film is a succinct reminder of how the Standard name was once automatically associated with the city of Coventry.