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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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Beverette Test Drive

“It doesn’t drives like a tank”

–  but it has every right to!

Standard-Triumph historian, Phil Homer makes a trip to Holland to learn to drive a Beaverette, Standard’s contribution to the wartime range of armoured cars.

I made my way to the premises of Historic Engineering b.v. in the small town of Hazerswoude-dorp, about 20 minutes drive from Leiden in the rural Netherlands The company specialises in repairing and restoring Military vehicles and arnaments, textiles and armour- and they have just finished their latest commission, a Standard Beaverette Mk IV.

Beaverettes came in 4 flavours:

The MK I was put together in pretty short order and consisted of a steel plated hull mounted on the Flying 12 chassis but fitted with the Flying 14 engine. The body used left-over front wings from car production. It was charming but ineffective as a fighting machine.

The Mk II was much as before, this time the front panel was armoured to prevent bullets entering the radiator. Neither model was totally enclosed and there was no door, the occupants having to exit over a lowered rear panel. The steel armour was backed by oak planking.

The Mk III was shortened and had fully armoured wings and was totally enclosed and carried a gun turret. The Flying 12 underpinnings were  discarded in favour of a purpose built front chassis, though the 14 engine was retained.

The Mk IV is the last and most sophisticated of the range, in comparison to the earlier versions, it had re-designed Glacis armour to improve visibility for the driver and this is the example that  Historic Engineering have completely restored.

Some 3,800 Beaverettes were built at Canley

Much to my surprise and in contrast to contemporary reports the Beaverette was quite easy to drive. A tribute to the skills of its restorer, the engine and gearbox are in fine condition.  The Beaverette fires up teadily and is quiet once the choke has been pushed in. The steering had suffered a lot, due to having to cope with the additional weight,  but  has been replaced with help from Track Rod Ends supplied by the Standard Motor Club and is now precise and far from as heavy as I was expecting. The vehicle is low-geared, courtesy of a double reduction rear axle, so the revs build up quite quickly and the maximum speed is controlled by a governor on the carburettor.

I really enjoyed my chance to drive this piece of wartime history. My thanks to Martin Idjo of Historic Engineering  for the opportunity.

Phil Homer