"Many are Called"

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When I was very young. I can remember my late father being amused by an advertisement in his latest copy of “MotorSport” magazine. A cartoon rendition of cloth cap-wearing, cigarette smoking gentleman dressed in overalls, bearing the Ford oval logo and the word PARTS looking at a broken Half Shaft being held out by a rather distressed looking chap. “Ah,” says Parts Man, “Many are Called but few are FoMoCo”. Probably not an advertising line the Blue Oval would use today, but you get the drift.

Obviously, we love Standards, some of us also love the cars that didn't get badged as Standard but clearly shared the Standard bloodline and we seek out the rarities and unloved to document and if possible, preserve them.

Take the car pictured below, described as a “1959 Standard Coupe” that Club Historian and Vice-Chairman Phil Homer discovered on the internet some years ago and which has resurfaced recently in Portugal.

At first glance, the most Standard feature of the car is the Elfin Green paintwork, the same colour as my Standard 8 Deluxe.

It has some very unusual exterior features, the most distinctive of which are the externally hinged “Suicide” doors complete with Triumph Herald exterior handles mounted backwards at the front of the door and thus swapped from side to side. Other odd exterior features are the front and rear screens, both of which are made from flat sheets of glass. Remember by 1959, Standard 10 models had been using curved rear windscreens for years, the newly released Herald had curved screens front and rear as did the Vanguard Phase 3. In fact, the front screen looks more pre-war in design. Front and rear Bumpers could be from an early Standard 8 or 10, but those overriders certainly aren't.

There are other interesting points on the bodyshell, the area around the Grill, Headlamps and the front part of the Wings are all very similar to that of the Moss Malvern Kit Car, but from the front of the Wheel Arches back, the design seems totally unique. A similar thing applies at the rear where the shape of the Wings and Boot area below the roof and window line is virtually identical to that of the Rochdale GT - an early example of the Kit Car. Interestingly and perhaps significantly here, whilst the Rochdale body was designed to fit on a Ford Popular Chassis, there were occasions where they were later mounted on Herald Chassis.

More clues can be found under the bonnet and inside the car, interior handles are certainly Standard-Triumph style but the escutcheons and winder knobs are black in colour, linking them to the Triumph Herald era rather than Standard 8 or 10, and the switch lever on the left side of the steering column also suggests Herald origin, whilst the Speedometer has been identified as being identical to those fitted to Herald 1200 Saloons and the remote gear lever could be from a Standard Pennant or any Herald model.

The engine is definitely from the Standard SC series but whether it is 948cc or 1147cc is impossible to tell. The carburettor suggests it is from an early Herald 1200 while the Radiator is certainly from a Herald and in excellent original condition with both “Coventry Radiators” and “Stanpart” clearly stamped on the header tank.

An even better clue to the car's partial origin is the Commission and Data Plates attached to the Near Side Inner Wing. The Black and Silver Commission Plate is of the design fitted to Herald models and the plain metal Data Plates were not fitted to the Standard badged cars at all.

Looking at the exterior photographs carefully it appears that the rear wheels have a positive camber, something not possible with the Live Axle of the Standard 8 and 10, but a feature of the Swing Axle used on Herald and related models.

I have sought the advice of Trevor Collett, the Triumph Sport Six Clubs Specials Registrar, who agrees with my conclusions, but has never seen this car or anyone similar.

 

I think it is fair to say that the car uses a modified Triumph Herald chassis along with Commission and Data Plates, giving it the “1959” date and that it is a one-off. As the limited details we have on the car are all from outside the UK, it is very possible that the build may have taken place overseas. I suspect South Africa, but without real proof.

 

Whether the resemblances in the body to the Moss and Rochdale cars are because pieces of both have been used in its construction, or are simply a source of inspiration, is unknowable without a full inspection, both bodies having been fitted to Herald chassis in the past. However, it is clear that considerable time, skill and effort have gone into both the original build and the recent high-quality restoration of this car.

 

So sadly, I regret to say that in this case - “Few are Standard”.

 

 

Stephen George

February 2021