My Vanguard Phase III - 'Herbie'

by Brian McKeown.

‘Herbie’ as it is now affectionately known, was purchased as a new vehicle in January 1958 for around £850. She is a Vanguard Phase III, four-door saloon registration number XZ 29 in shoal green with red and cream vynide interior. It has a four-cylinder, two-litre petrol engine (2088cc), a three-speed column change gearbox and the original radio in working order but with no reception!

It was first registered in Armagh N. Ireland by Joseph Abraham Herbert from Lurgan. In 1962 Herbie was involved in a minor road traffic collision whilst on holiday in Torquay when the driver’s door was damaged but soon repaired. When Joseph passed away in 1964, the retention of the vehicle was transferred to his widow, Mrs Bonnie Herbert. The car was used in rally season only during the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was taken to many classic car shows and was never subject to salty conditions. Since 1981, Herbie had been unused and locked in a garage in Belfast and was then acquired by her son Alan Herbert in 1993. In 1994 it was transported by trailer to another dry garage in Moira, N. Ireland under storage until 2012. That was over 30 years in storage, what a waste!

I have a FSH dated from 4/6/1959 when the milometer reading was 2,470 miles. The full service record dated 2/4/1971 showed the mileage was 22,877 therefore, between 1971 and 1981, Herbie had only travelled just over 2,000 miles in 10 years. The spare wheel has never been used.

Fortunately, on 24 May 2014 possession was transferred to me being the step-son of Alan Herbert (married to my Mum). They had to downsize their home and would not have garage space to store the vehicle. I was offered the honour of possessing Herbie and hastily made the long boat trip from Liverpool to Belfast and transported her on a car trailer back from Belfast to its native country (born in Coventry) via the Liverpool ferry on 25 May 2014.

The vehicle is now kept at Whatstandwell, Derbyshire. It was at this time I named her ‘Herbie’ in recognition of its previous owners, proud that it was remaining in the family.

Interestingly, I also have possession of the original spare parts catalogue, owner’s manual, two instruction manuals that came with the car and as the attached photograph shows, a running in guide and the original car sales brochure which I am sure is a rare commodity. All the original spare bits are also in the boot including a grease gun, jack and wheel nut brace and red breakdown triangle.

Herbie, with 25,000 miles on the clock, had a mechanical ‘review’ in 2012 in order to get back on the road. New parts added included metal brake pipes, brake hoses, wheel cylinders, master brake cylinder, radiator filter neck and heater hoses, tubes and tyres, oil and filter change, fuel filter, wiper blades, fan belt, rotor arm, condenser, distributor cap and coil.

It still has the original paintwork with some minor rust marks appearing on the chrome bumpers.

Herbie was having fuel problems when I took her out for a maiden trip. Time to call on favours from mechanics and those with some knowledge as I am a pure novice mechanically. The carburettor was cleaned, a new carburettor gasket fitted, another new fuel filter, a brake fluid flexi pipe for oil pressure switch (leaking) and a new gasket for the exhaust manifold. Herbie is now fully functional and back on the road. I joined the Standard Motor Club in June 2012 and soon called on the support of its members. A huge thank you to Pete Foster for assisting with sourcing the spares. I was in no doubt that he would assist me to rectify the problem and he delivered in a timely fashion. I intend to show the car when available as I believe that it is one of very few of this spec, condition (1) and colour,á still on the road today.


Brian McKeown

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