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Standard’s Greatest Ever Rally Achievement?

Outright Winner – 5th RAC Rally 1955 – Standard 10

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It was the Standard 10’s greatest-ever success and a very proud moment, when Jimmy  Rae and Brian Horrocks brought a Standard 10 home as the clear overall winner in this event, as described by Phil Homer.

What is also very pleasing is that a TR2 came second, followed by another Standard 10, driven by Ken Richardson. As a result, Standards also won the Team Prize for this five-day event.


The Standard 10’s were modified by the factory with twin carburettor conversions by Alexander Engineering, which was also made available to the retail market. I will describe this all-conquering conversion in more detail later.


First though, let’s concentrate on this magnificent win for the Standard factory.


“Motorsport” Magazine was ebullient in its praise, saying that “the convincing victory by a big margin was won by a works twin-carburettor Standard Ten, its astonishing 948-c.c. engine lubricated with Castrol. The Rally results emphasise, with complete clarity, that the modified Standard Ten is Britain's outstanding small car and the Triumph TR2 our leading moderately priced sports car. The Standard Motor Company of Coventry is to be congratulated on the success of its products. They won leading places which must be the envy of the other members of the industrial British Big Five who entered cars.”

The Rally was a “Regularity” trial, which means that points could be deducted for both being too late or too early at a checkpoint. Hence there is much reliance not only on the driver but also on the skill of the Navigator.


The route was a series of driving tests of varying character on private roads, these comprising a full climb of Prescott and a full lap, with hazards. of the Goodwood circuit and speed events at Oulton Park and Cadwell Park, and a standing start 1 mile at Silverstone.


In addition, some difficult sections off the beaten track were included and the prolonged winter caused some of these to become so difficult

that they had to be abandoned.


Autosport” Magazine was equally lavish with its praise. “One must admire the remarkable performance of Jimmy Rae and his brilliant Navigator Brian Horrocks, in overcoming baulking, ice and snowbound roads and tight time schedules to secure victory for the tough little Standard”

The Alexander Engineering Conversion

Alexander Engineering of Haddenham, Bucks supplied a conversion kit for upgrading any Standard 10. Such was Standards belief in the quality of the conversion and robustness of their product, that the company was prepared to warrant the car even with the conversion fitted.

“Motor” Magazine road-tested an Alexander converted “10” in May of 1956. This lists the main components being changed as a revised cylinder head with higher compression ratio and strong valve springs, Twin SU carbs and a four-branch exhaust manifold were fitted. If they had delved more deeply I think they would also have found a high-lift camshaft and revised distributor, but these are not mentioned.


Perhaps in the 12 months between the events, the specification had changed?

The review states that the output is up to 42bhp from 33bhp (that’s 36%) in the unmodified car.  I have stated the actual acceleration times achieved and compared them with a contemporary report of the unmodified performance.  For the record, 0 -50 mph was dismissed in 14.5 seconds, 5 seconds quicker than the “standard” car and only marginally slower than a 2-litre Vanguard III.  Torque is not quoted. The road-tester describes the car as having two natures, with the performance as “exceptional” whilst the car remained docile and economical.

The addition of a front roll bar resulted in steering that was described as “light and predictable” whilst the unmodified brakes were “adequate on paper”.


There is some criticism of the noise level when the car was extended, due to lack of sound deadening and absence of air silencers on the carbs, but overall “in comfort, smoothness, flexibility or economy there is nothing in the conversion to detract from its merits as an enjoyable and practical vehicle with a dual purpose according to the whim of its owner.”

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