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 Is this a Flying VEight prototype

Flying 20 V Eight prototype

Dear Mr. Homer,

              I thought that your members may be interested in the attached picture of my late Uncles 1938/9 Standard V8 which was taken at Christmas 1957. He was a greengrocer at Covent Garden and was always looking out for a "deal" so got the car  probably as a payout for debts from an errant customer. It was in good sound condition but was extremely thirsty and would only get 15 mpg on a good run! Any attempt at overtaking was accompanied by a large black cloud which enveloped following traffic! The picture was taken in Railway Terrace, Tonypandy, South Wales but he lived in Middlesex, London so the journey down via Gloucester cost him "an arm an' a leg" so it was quickly sold on (at a profit of course) and replaced with a van! The children are his two sons and myself, already car fanatics that long ago!


I believe that very few V8's were made and that the engine was effectively two "8" engines siamesed into a common block. Have any survived though? I have never seen one since


Richard Leaman

Many thanks for your story about the V8, which I will feature on the website shortly.


The engine does not comprise two "8"'s ( which would make a 16Hp) nor two 10's, but was specifically an engine designed for this car. We believe that about 350 were built but they suffered badly from overheating. The Flying 20Hp, which was a six cylinder engine in a bigger body, was cheaper and more popular so the V8 was dropped from the range.


At least three V8 saloons survive though only one in this country. Also at least one V8 engined Raymond Mays special survives


Thank you for your interest



Phil Homer Having looked more closely at your picture, I now doubt that it was a V8, it looks more like a Flying 20 as it has the earlier perpendicular grille, whereas the V8 had the later waterfall grille.

What do you think?



Phil Homer

Dear Mr. Homer,

             Many thanks for your rely to my message! I have to confess to not being a Standard expert and my memories of it are those when I was 10 years old as you can see in the picture. Having said that, and in full deference to your records and Mark knowledge, I am 99% certain that it definitely did have a V8 engine. My Uncle was totally non mechanical but my father was an engineer and I am sure that I recollect our looking under the bonnet when I  guess that my father was asked to see if he could make some adjustment to the carburettor to try to improve the desperate fuel consumption. Whilst that was the only time that we saw the car, my Uncle often recalled owning it and always referred to it as a "V8" as did my father. Unfortunately both are no longer alive so I cannot ask them again.. He said that it was smooth and powerful but he just could not afford the petrol bills!

            So.....either I am wrong and it was actually the "20" or could it possibly have been a factory prototype being the older model fitted with the new engine? It seems to be very fully fitted with those full size chrome edged wheel discs, sunroof, fog lamps and chrome raised digit number plates. Could this indicate a works car? The registration is next to impossible to see but looks a bit like D?? 888 or 666. This is one for the knowledgeable expert!

We have a small track to follow however as my two cousins (in the picture) are both around and just possibly may have another picture with a visible number plate which would enable a search of old registration records to be made which could help, providing that they exist!  I am sure Michael Worthington-Williams of The Automobile would be glad to help or advise!

I will see if I can pursue this and will get back to you asap!

Many thanks for your help and interest!

Richard Leaman.

P.S. The "siamesed 8" engine idea was from a mention in Classic and Sportscar some time ago and yes, thinking logically, clearly wrong!


Dear Mr. Homer,

              Sorry to come back yet again but I have been looking at that picture of the "20" which is/was in Nice. Comparing the picture of that car with that of my Uncle, I notice that the rear  of the body is rather different. The Nice car has a stepped line below the back window with a projecting boot housing but "our" car is clearly a "fastback" design and I think may have a split rear window. Well again this could be because it is a later model but as I said in the last message, is it a factory development car? I am sure that one of your members will be able to give us the correct answer! Meanwhile I am contacting my cousins for any further recollections etc.


Richard Leaman.

Hi Richard


Your car clearly has an earlier body than the production VEight. You can see two examples and the catalogue pictures of the production version here. The Nice car is later than yours and also shows the Waterfall Grille of the production VEight.

If we work on the basis that your recollection is correct and this car is VEight engined, then it must be  in an earlier Flying 20 body. If fact your car appears to be a late 35, early 36 model that we call the "big -bodied" Flying Standard (the Ace covers over wire wheels are the clue) So there are two possibilities.


Either your Flying 20 had its engine replaced with a V8 at some later date, or indeed this was a factory prototype.


Since the former is more likely than the later, we need more evidence for one or the other. I will publish this email chain and your picture and  seek members views.





If you have anything to add to this article, please put it on the club forum

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