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Buried Standards at Canley
Again, I am indebted to Robin Penrice for the following story, or is it fact?
Pop, a Black acolyte joined in 1939 was involved in secret war work on the Mosquito and others, became PR executive directly responsible to Black in 1947, then Publicity Supremo, resigning in 1958 due to the cock up that had been created by the Massey Harris fiasco with the words; " Sorry Alick, but whatever you say it's going to be a f**k up!" He then went on to run George Cumming Ltd., the Bond Street Standard Advertising Agency. George Cumming himself had had the account since the 1930's and his death in 1957 put the escape route in Pop's mind.
According to Frank Perkins, Mike Whitfield, Joan Smart, and POP the scenario went like this.
Black took over from Maudsley in 1933; Maudlsey had kept, washed polished and lovingly cared for by a couple of old retainers, one of each important Standard built from the word go in 1909. They totalled around twelve (one I believe was one of the Indian Royal Tour Cars) and whilst Black knew of them, he wasn't that interested in them or the history they represented. Following his negotiations with the government regarding "Shadow Factories" when the first sod was cut on the senior management golf course, at what became Fletchamstead South, as it was built on a sloping site, large earth moving works were required to allow much concrete to be poured for the fabric to be erected. Prior to some of the concrete being poured, Black instructed that the old cars were to be broken up and dumped in the rather large hole evident. "Bollox to that" said the old retainers and carefully drove the cars into place, protecting them with wooden shuttering, having apparently covered them with protective grease and such like. Presented thus they were buried in ferro concrete and Black was none the wiser. Father told me the story in the late forties as did Joan Smart who was an aunt of my first wife and Blacks secretary for quite some time including the War Years.
When I worked in Belgium in 1960/61 I became very friendly with Frank Perkins who's department came under Pop's control when he was with the company. Frank was a craftsman extraordinaire and overseeing around four blokes built all the special show display cars, engines and gearboxes. He oversaw the cut-
Now, Frank's workshop was under the aforementioned Fletch. South and when you sat in his cubby hole office he would tap the wall behind him saying:" Five feet of concrete is still protecting 12 old Standards from the turn of the century, young Penrice, remember that, for whoever discovers them will be thanked!" If the raft is still there, which it was when I last passed the site 4 weeks ago, I could still identify the spot. I wrote to one of the Classic Car magazines (I think around 1997) about this when the factory started to be broken up to no avail and rang Gaydon to tell them. John Mac (fathers god son) expressed interest but Gaydon couldn't give a stuff. Any modern ground search Radar, as operated when they find bodies buried for years, should be able to identify if something is there. I don't think, from last viewing, it would be impossible to carry out a sweep now.
Similar hearsay uncovered Bentley engine blocks, gearboxes, backs axles etc.all protected when Smiths Industries moved concreteto expand the old Bentley Factory in Cricklewood twenty odd years ago, to great applause!! It would be good fun and imagine if one found them as described by legend?
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