Alfred Wilde

Born in 1889, Wilde was educated at Manchester University where he obtained an Association and Diploma in Mechanical Engineering.

He was apprenticed to the Nation Gas Engine Company. He then took up a Draughtsman’s position at the Gun Carriage Works at Woolwich Arsenal.

After a spell at the Hotchkiss Company, which subsequently became Morris Engines, he was recruited by Reginald Maudslay to become the Chief Engineer at the Standard Motor Company in 1927.

This position previously belonged to the long-serving John Budge, but there was no disruption as Budge turned his attention to his Directorship of the company instead. 

Wilde set about designing 2 new chassis and engines for the SMC, a 9Hp and a 6-cylinder 15Hp.  Both employed side valves, whereas, previous Standard engines had been overhead.

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About this time Wilde met a young Alan Jensen, who had just built a prototype sports car on an Austin Chassis. Wilde introduced Jensen to the New Avon Coachbuilding Company in Warwick and the pair agreed that Jensen would design a Sportscar on the Standard 9 chassis, while Avon would build the bodies.  He persuaded Alan Jensen to join New Avon Body Co, a Standard Motor associate and under Wilde’s aegis, Alan Jensen designed the first Standard Avon open two-seaters, produced from 1929 to 1933.

 

He went on to design two more cars for Avon then moved with his brother Richard to Austin dealers Edgbaston Garage Limited, Bournbrook and then to West Bromwich, the pair eventually forming Jensen Motors. 

Alan Jensen's first Avon Special, sitting on a Standard 9 chassis - a 'marriage' encouraged by Wilde. 

The 15Hp engine was a seven bearing unit first employed in the Standard Envoy model.

Following this, Wilde was responsible for the development of the Standard Little 9, though he wasn’t to see its introduction. In 1930, it is believed that Wilde had a “falling out” with Captain John Black who had recently joined the company, and Wilde resigned. He took up employment with Hillman, from where Black had joined.  but only briefly, for he contracted influenza and died just before the end of the year. He was just 41.

Footnote: Wildes 15Hp engine was developed into 16Hp and 20Hp versions and, as well as application in Standards, these were famously supplied by  Standard to SS and then Jaguar. John Black sold the tooling to William Lyons who continued to put the engines into Jaguars up until 1950.

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