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Vanguard II Feature

1955 Vanguard II, owned by Ian Leggett

Ian Leggett, your Regalia Officer, is the proud owner of UK0  917, this beautifully restored Vanguard Series II Saloon. His car is captured here at the February 2004 International Triumph Spares Day. Ian uses this car on a regular basis, on this occasion to transport the Club's Regalia stock to the show in Warwickshire from his home in Suffolk. The car is almost completely dependable and cruises easily in modern traffic on the Motorways. Its difficult to believe it is approaching its 50th birthday. Ian has now added much more detail about his car lower down the page.

As a special request, from an enquirer on the club's messageboard, here are shots of the dashboard, steering wheel, and an underbonnet shot, including the carburettor. Hope this fits the bill!!


Ian has owned this car since 1987 when it was bought from a restorer based at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford. The car was planned as a display item in RAF blue, but a decision was taken to make the cut off date 1946, so the Vanguard was surplus. 

At that time no chrome was on the car, all these areas were rusted, and painted over in aluminium paint. The car was used for the first year in this condition until the first Mot showed inner and outer sills needed replacing, and of course some paint which did not match the paint already on it. It was when the old sills were removed that 4.5 pounds of chocolate buttons were found packed into the sill area. As a chocoholic He had to convince his wife that they were not his secret chocolate store. He managed to get new ex military front and rear bumpers, and over riders so the car started looking smarter. Then new hubcaps were fitted. Soon the wings were showing signs of corrosion along the seams and a local bodyshop were appointed to repair, but very soon found corrosion on all the panel joints so a complete bare metal respray was undertaken. The car came out looking superb in its two pack Salvador Blue and started winning prizes at many rallies. It was put on show at Bristol Classic Car Show, Alexander Palace, NEC, and Manchester. A feature was done for Practical Classics also. For two seasons the Club caravan was towed behind this car with the display material packed inside.

 In 1991 the engine was ruined from overheating while towing his own 4 berth caravan home from the National Rally at Cheddar on the hottest week of the year, The block was split from top to bottom. A replacement engine was found and some more bodywork repairs were undertaken, and an overdrive gearbox was fitted. This has been a real boon.For the 10 following years this car has been his main transport and as he has no modern car it has to face whatever weather conditions prevail.

He has been to Leicester and battled through snow 6 inches deep, and with signposts covered in snow almost got lost in a white out. Many journeys have been in torrential rain, and with wipers not really suitable for that purpose on motorways, has had a few worrying times, like November 2003. It poured the whole weekend, and after having a dynamo rebuild was convinced that the red warning light would not re appear on the dash. As he approached Rugby the red light re appeared and the ammeter showed discharge. This meant that to complete the journey to Leicester it was without wipers and headlights, not a good thing to do on the M1. The AA were called to where he was staying and they diagnosed the control box (voltage regulator) as being worn out. He drove home the next day in a similar way, using only minimum lights and wipers very rarely, and made it after was seemed an eternity. A new regulator was fitted and all was ok. That box had been on the car for 48 years so it had served well. 

One of the problems with using the car for all seasons and doing fairly high mileage is the wear on the older parts. A leaking back axle was a problem for nearly two years while I tried to get a replacement oil seal which Payen had not made since 1954. Eventually he found that the Razoredge Club had commissioned a quantity as they were unavailable so he bought one from them and had it fitted. Another serious problem was the chassis to body mountings. The rubber/metal gaskets had disintegrated and all lines of enquiry proved negative. Brian Shakespeare had one original part, so took it to a rubber specialist in Ipswich who produced a sheet of rubber for the purpose. Several other members have been able to take advantage of this rubber since.

The Vanguard to Ian is a treasure, and he enjoys driving it, even when the lack of an effective heater makes it a pretty cold drive. In the summer he could drive it all day, and is one of the reasons he does so much in the way of rallies and events as that gives him the chance to drive long distances. He is not too impressed now with static events unless the opportunity to talk Standard is involved, as was the case at Stoneleigh Triumph Day in February, which meant a 5.30am start on an extremely windy day, but the interest shown on the Club stand made the journey worthwhile. It is at this stage that he hopes for  a summer similar to 2003 so that he can enjoy the Vanguard in warm sunshine, with his arm perched on the window  frame in typical 50's style. The first real event for Ian is the Anglian Run over the 4 day, May Day weekend , which gives  the chance to show other Standard enthusiasts with their cars the sights of Suffolk in the spring. If you would like to join him give Ian a call or email, and you could see why the Vanguard is really the only car for him.

 Ian Leggett

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