Honorary Life Membership is only awarded infrequently and then only to members who have made a significant contribution to the life of the Standard Motor Company or the Standard Motor Club. It was a great honour to us in when David Eley accepted our offer of Honorary Membership. Rarely has there been a been a more deserving recipient.
David started at "the Standard" as an apprentice in 1934, the same year that Sir John Black became Joint Managing Director. A skilled and talented engineer, he rose through the engineering hierarchy, to become chief of Engine Design.
After involvement in the Design Team for the Vanguard 2088cc engine, he lead the team that designed the "SC", code name for the ohv Small Car. First, at 803cc, it went into the Standard 8 of 1953. The team, under David's guidance successively developed the engine, first to 948cc, for the Standard 10, Pennant and Herald, then onwards and upwards until its final application in the Spitfire 1500, up until in 1982. This involved considerable re-engineering along the way.
Then, starting in 1957, he lead the team designing the six-cylinder engine that powered the Vanguard 6, a remarkable achievement, in that it was barely longer than the 4 cylinder engine that preceeded it. That continued in the Triumph 2000, GT6 and Vitesse 2 litre.
David now moved on in the 1960’s to be the New Product Engineer responsible for developing the FWD 1300 and Dolomite. Recognising his brilliance as an Engineer, David moved on n 1972 to be appointed Chief Transmission engineer for Rover-Triumph and Land Rover.
Amongst many other functions, he jointly developed the 5-speed gearbox and rear axle that went into the SDI, TR7 and TR8.
David retired in 1982 after an astonishing 48 years service to the Standard Motor Company and its successors. More than 25 years further on and we were still pleased that David was taking an active part in Club life and turning up regularly at our events. This includes presenting a long line of prizes at one of our International Rallies.
It has been my priveledge to know this quiet and unassuming gentleman. Congratulations, David. Thousands of Standard and Triumph owners the world over owe you a debt of gratitude.
We hope that our small gesture went just a little way towards repaying you.