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"Dedicated to the preservation of Standard Cars 1903-1963"

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1933 Standard 16 Saloon Archive Feature

1933 Standard 16 Saloon - ALF 804


My Dad bought his first car I think in 1933, a Standard 16, when I was three and we lived in Acton.  It was in Royal Blue with medium blue leather upholstery, set off by yellow wheels and radiator louvers.  These latter were closed when it was cold and gradually opened under thermostatic control as the motor warmed up.  I liked the orange lit  "trafficators" which look like they were put on as an afterthought, but gave a resounding clunk when switched on to point left or right (Where was the control?). There was a sliding roof that we used and a windscreen which could be opened upwards, which we didn't.  The windscreen wiper(s?) was/were driven by a motor which sat on the window right behind the wiper and you pulled out and turned a doohickey to get it started.

Instead of a boot, there was a steel frame contraption you could fold down and strap your suitcases to. (But where was the spare wheel?)  Only a single rear light in those days, and that pretty weak as I recall.  And where was the battery?  Not on the running board, I'm sure.

There was no heating system, but I was intrigued by those two foot wells in the back you could put your feet in to keep them warm, especially if wrapped in a blanket with a hot water bottle, altho' I think my mother would have called us sissies if we asked for that.   Or you could just rest your feet on the lid of a well. Another amenity was a roller blind you could cover the back window with by pulling on a cord next to the driver (Hopefully not when the car was being driven.  What for then?)

Some other memories include hearing how Dad would plan to break the journey overnight from London to Devon, I guess the roads were relatively primitive before the war.  There was a notorious 1 in 4 hill to be negotiated somewhere called Telegraph Hill (Is there such a place?).  Also I remember my mum being shocked to learn that Dad would drive on business at 60 mph, when she felt that 40 mph was enough for anybody.  I recall sneaking in to the garaged car and teaching myself how to double-declutch, which came in handy when I bought my own first car in 1955 or so - a 1937 Hillman Minx.

In 1941, we lived in Exeter on the top of a pretty steep hill, Pennsylvania Avenue.   I was 11, and came home after school by bike.  Sometimes I waited for Dad to come by in Alfie, and he would reluctantly let me grab on to one of  the door handles and pulled me up the hill, steering with only one hand and probably wobbling dangerously until I just had to let go at 30 mph.  Fings

ain't wot they use ter be...

Must have been that same year, petrol was on the ration (8 gallons a week or was it a month?) and it wasn't worth keeping the car.  But there was no demand for used cars and Dad sold it to a farmer in Pinhoe for ten pounds, who promptly converted it to a pickup truck by slicing off the back half.  Mum cried when she heard about it.

Report by David Henry.

I am aware that there are other cars and information that could be added to this site to make it more comprehensive, so if you have material and photographs, please let me know.  Please send me, Phil Homer, a message at: Phil Homer