1957 Standard 8 Gold Star - RCJ 981
By Peter Lockley
I bought my October 1957 built Standard 8 Gold Star in late August 1991 from my neighbour, Ray Rose who had owned it in the 1970s and had sold it to a friend of his for their daughter, who having joined the military, hardly ever used it, so it was bought back a couple of months before I happened to notice it in Ray’s yard.
Ray had used it in the 1970s on weekly journeys from Warwickshire to Cornwall, where he had a holiday home, and fitted a Herald 1147 c.c. engine which slotted straight in. Fortunately, he had kept the original 803c.c. Gold Star engine which languished at the back of my garage for the next four years.
The car was in relatively good order and I drove it from Ray’s to a client car dealer of mine using their trade plates and they took the next couple of months to recommission it and put it through an MOT.
I drove it a few times after that, including to the 1991 Classic Motor Show at the NEC and then, as the paint was quite tatty, took it to a body specialist in Coventry who was the tenant of a colleague of mine. He gave it a respray in its original shoal green colour and fitted new sills. Otherwise, the bodywork was in good condition.
When I bought the car, it had a Sherpa van driver’s seat which Ray had fitted, so I then sold this for £15 and bought a Standard 10 seat which was upholstered to match the other seats which remain original.
It still retains the paint from the 1991-2 respray, save in respect of some minor repairs to the front end, the rear wheel arches and rear of the front wings, which have taken place over the years.
Mechanically it has had replacement rear springs which I saw advertised at an autojumble as new Pennant springs though they were identical to those on the car. Apart from those, the only major work has been a rebuild and refitting of its original Gold Star 803c.c. engine - as the Herald engine expired making huge volumes of smoke on the return from a trip to see the demolition of the Standard Motor Company Works at Canley, Coventry in 1995. The car may well have been the last Standard to enter the works, as my neighbour managed to persuade the demolition contractors there to let us past the barriers and drive around the factory whilst in the throes of demolition.
The car has been involved in several notable events. It was one of 10 Standards that drove in 1993 from Ivy Cottage, Standard’s former head office at Canley to Gaydon for the opening of the then Heritage Motor Centre, now the British Motor Museum, when 10 cars of each constituent marque drove there from each BL factory.
In 2002 it was the smallest 4-wheel car to take part in Her Majesty The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Parade of cars built in her reign down the Mall in London. Unlike many of the trailer queens there, some of which broke down, I drove the car from Warwickshire to London, took part in the event and drove back through the crowds in London who were cheering and waving at us until we reached the M40.
The following year the car took part in the Centenary Celebrations of the Standard Motor Company and has attended many International Rallies of the Club around the country often carrying a 3m x 3m Club gazebo and various other Club items including large tables, making use of its opening boot and fold down rear seat.
The car has been back to its roots a couple of times in my ownership. In the 1990s I visited the premises of its supplying dealer A.W.Marriott and Sons in Hereford which had become a night Club, though retaining a hoist for access to the first floor workshop and later used for revellers. Marriott’s transfer still has pride of place on the dashboard.
The first owner was a nurse in Tenbury Wells and in April 2017, I visited Tenbury, a lovely little Worcestershire town, including the hospital where she worked.
After about 50,000 miles in my ownership the car continues to go well, cruising at 50 to 55 m.p.h. and returning 45 m.p.g. and has even been out on a couple of essential journeys during lockdown. Hopefully it will be good for another 50,000.
I will conclude with a few misconceptions that I’ve encountered about my car and the Gold Star range of 8s launched in April 1957. Never rely on what you are told as it’s often wrong!
1.It must be a 10. It has got an opening bootlid.
No. Only Gold Star 8s had an opening boot lid and a 10 variant, the Family 10, didn’t, as it used a bootless 8 bodyshell. Early Gold Star models had the split rear seat of bootless 8s, but later ones like mine had a single fold down seat. I was once asked if I’d cut the bootlid into it myself!
2.It must have a reconditioned Gold Seal engine.
No. Early 8s had black engines.8 Gold Star engines were painted gold from new. There is an apocryphal story that the reason was that the factory had a large supply of gold engine paint left over when the Ferguson Grey/Gold tractor with a gold engine changed to a grey and red livery when Massey Harris took over Ferguson and the latter were their house colours. The Standard Triumph colour for reconditioned engines was metallic blue green.
3. It has a booked top speed of only 62 m.p.h.
No. This was the top speed for early 8s. The brochure indicates a top speed of 70 m.p.h. for Gold Star models which were almost as powerful as the early 10s.
4. Your car isn’t an original factory colour.
No. I have brochures from March 1957, October 1957 and March 1958. Only the October 1957 one shows shoal green, though I also have a USA brochure for the Triumph 10 which pictures the USA variant of the Standard 10 with shoal green upper body and salmon pink sides!
5. Your car should have rubber mats not carpets.
No. The Gold Star launch adverts and brochures show the car as having carpets. Most earlier 8s and 10s had rubber mats when new.
6.Your car’s upholstery has faded badly from red to brown.
No. I have a brochure showing tan as an upholstery colour as well as red. I am however aware of an owner of a Gold Star 8 who Vinyl Coated his tan seats red, thinking they had faded to brown and was a little embarrassed when I showed him the brochure