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"Dedicated to the preservation of Standard Cars 1903-1963"

Dedicated to the preservation of Standard Cars 1903-1963

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Standard Selby Feature


1930 Standard Selby, "VIN"


The story of a remarkable car. By its remarkable owner, Oscar Johnson.


Photograph and story submitted by: Mr J.H. Matson.



Click on the photograph to see a larger version, click on "back" to come back here.


The following is scanned into this page and appears word for word:


Once upon a time, many years ago, after the 1914/1918 war there lived a Mr & Mrs Marsey, in a house situated between Scalby and Blurniston near Scarborough. Little is know about them except that they were a caring couple, their children had grown up, and moved to Hull, married and settled there.


It is also known the Marseys had a car that must have been pre-1924 for it was in 1924 that four wheeled brakes came into being on all cars. All cars so fitted at that time had a red triangle painted on the offside rear mudguard, indicating a more efficient braking system. By 1927 this braking system had become obsolete. Their car would possibly have had two rear wheel brakes and a transmission brake working on a hub between the gear box and prop-shaft, this was a disadvantage on the many steep hills in what has now become the North Yorkshire National Park.


It was therefore, this factor that must have made a Mr & Mrs Marsey decide to go in for a new car sometime late in 1928. In those days you did not go to an agent and buy a car from stock, although many makes were available. The normal practice among discerning peoplewas to first decide the make after first taking advice. Then the type of body, what kind and the type of equipment you wished it to have, also what accessories you decided to buy for it to be fitted by the manufacturer or agent. Those days alas were rapidly coming to an end.


The Marseys had traded with one of Scarborough's leading motor engineers for many years called Ethelbert Castlehouse and his son Ron. So the first step taken by Mr Marsey was to have a talk with Ethelbert as what kind of car was advisable to buy. It had to be small, reliable, roomy, comfortable to travel in over long distances, fully equipped, economical with long life. A high road speed was not required, though Mr Marsey admitted that a racing speed of 35mph was useful when rushing a hill with an engine that was not super-charged. This rushing a hill was normal practice with the side valve engines on the period. It was decided that the new Standard 9 hp light car was the one most suitableto the Marsey's needs.


Mr R W Maudsley, the owners of the Standard Cars Works and designer of the cars had bought many cars and other makes and incorporated what he considered to be the best features of each into his new model for the new "FALMOUTH" 8.9 hp saloon light car of 1927 with fabric body. By 1929 the range of cars had considerably increased, including two and four seat touring cars and in September 1928 the Standard light car was obtainable with a 9.9 hp engine, so as to take an all metal body which an ash frame on long and short chassis models.


As regarding equipment the new Standard light car was in the forefront, being equipped with mirror, clock, speedometer, oil gauge and ammeter electric starting, electric horn, and suction windscreen wiper and a full lighting set. It also came complete with five wheels and tyres, all this for £185 Os Od. In touring form called the "SELBY". Rather a lot of money but considered good value at the time.


Standards made at the works were the first cars in the world to have the new cellulose fiinsh. However, the Selby's had to have their bodies made at the Avon Works in Warwick, (Avon bodies later become SS cars and then Jaguars) so they were hand painted.


So it was that Mr Marsey purchased a Selby touring car from Ethelbert Castlehouse and Son.


Ron Castlehouse went down to the Standard Works in Coventry to inspect and collect a chassis and deliver it to the Avon Works late in 1929. He chose chassis number 101136 with engine number 100672. These numbers carefully noted as the chassis picked by Ron. The Avon people were informed that a Selby body was wanted on this particular chassis and no other would do as the numbers were recorded. No two Selbys are exactly alike as they were all hand built to each chassis, this would have been the first step that was to become a very domesticated and personalised family servant that would serve its owners for many years. At no time has it ownedits two owners money, for the reverse is the case. Every penny spent has been repaid in its serious journeys and in the pleasure, health and enjoyment given.


in May 1930 Ron Castlehouse went to Warwick to collect the car, driving it back to Scarborough with trade plates at the correct running in speed of 30 mph for the side value engine. The car was registered on the 14th May 1930. Thus was born VN 1554 on a 1929 chassis.


I brought my family from Shefficld to Scarborough in 1947. By 1951 I was firmly established in business as a chimney sweep. I had become a customer of Ron Castlehouse, Ethelbert had retired by then. One day I was walking home from the Chemist in Falgrave that I noticed an old touring car. The first I had seen since the war. It was rather tired, with drooping mudgiiards hiding the front wheels, sagging steps and bit of tin for a rear number plate with a single rear light. It reminded for my father's old Crossley 14 hp. What attracted me to the car were the proportions, where as the Crossley was 16 ft long this was about 12 ft, the Crossley was some 6 ft wide and this car was about 5 ft 6 in, in fact it was a large touring car scaled down. I remember wishing that the car was mine.


So the years past. During these passing years I was called to the Marsey's house as they were having chimney problems. I never saw the car there, but I later learnt that Mr Marsey hail admired by Reliant three wheeler van and the condition it was kept in.


One Saturday morning in January 1957 my work finished early, I went to fill up with petrol, as I paid Ron Castlehouse said "you own me £40 Os Od" "What for?" I asked. "It's for Mr Morsley's car" he replied, "he wants it to go to a good home".  Ron then me a letter from Mr Marsley thanking me for my work and wishing me and my family as many hours with the car as he and his late wife had had.


The car was in perfect running condition, though it had covered between 90/95 thousand miles.


Stepping out ofthe office T wetlt round the corner, and there was the 28 year old Standard VN1555 looking very down at heel, with an air of a very old and somewhat tatty old lady. The car I had seen in Falsgave all  those years ago, still scruffy. I promptly in love with VIN and became the proud owner on the 15'" January 1957.


To be continued.......................


I am aware that there are other cars and information that could be added to this site to make it more comprehensive, so if you have material and photographs, please let me know.  Please send me, Phil Homer, a message at: Phil Homer