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Emergency Services at The Standard Motor Company

The factory had two Emergency Services on the Canley site. Read about them here:

From at least the mid -the 1930s, there was a Fire station on the site, manned by employee Firefighters equipped with their Fire appliance.

This was based on a Dennis “Ace” chassis from 1935. The bodywork, by an unknown Coachbuilder, seems to be adapted from a Char-a-banc design. It seated 10 firemen resplendent in shiny brass helmets, there is an 11th Man riding on the tailboard in this photo.

The appliance appears to have a large reel of hose and a searchlight on board.

One might have expected a turntable ladder, but instead, the men have to rely on a simple double-length wooden ladder strapped onto the side of the Vehicle, which is photographed outside “Ivy Cottage”, the Works main office building.

The Fire station is shown as Building 26 in the Factory plan. This dates from 1976 so chances are that the Fire Service was still operating then.

I have no information on whether this or any other later engine was ever actually put to use fighting a fire or was succeeded by later equipment. Please let me know if you have any details.

The “Ambulance” sign can be illuminated at night and 2 of the 4 side windows slide open.

This Ambulance was used in the Factory and was built in about 1933. It is based on a Standard 20 chassis with a 6-cylinder 20 Hp engine.

The Coachbuilt bodywork was by Midland Light Bodies Ltd., of Holbrook Lane in Coventry.

The interior length was 7’, width 4’ 10” and Height 5’. One stretcher was placed on the nearside and the upholstered bench on the right could be removed and replaced with a second stretcher. A sliding window allowed conversations with the driver.

The interior was spartan but had very wide opening doors.

Clearly Standard were looking to market the Ambulance as it is described as supplied for the moderate cost of £450.

The Canley works of the Standard Motor Company used three Ambulances on site, built in 1952. It is thought that one of them was destroyed by a fire in the 1950s.

Here is the information that we have about the other two.

The most familiar is CFA 921 (above) belonging to Club member, Tom Dolby. Tom proudly displayed it at the Cranfield International Rally in 2022. Here is his description of it.

"It has a Vanguard Phase 1A front end and mechanicals, but with a lengthened Triumph Renown chassis to extend the Wheelbase. The bodywork is aluminium and was built by Mulliners in Birmingham. Mulliners were later taken over by the Standard Motor Company.

It was used by the Standard from 1952 until 1954 and then by the Ind Coupe and Allsop Brewery in Burton on Trent from 1954 to 1972. It was then bought by an employee of the company who converted it to use as a Camper Van and fitted a towbar for pulling a trailer for his dinghy. In 1976 it was bought by the person I acquired it from, who restored it in 1979 and drove it until 1987. It was then stored outside but covered in oil and grease to protect it. This worked regarding the metal but damaged the window and door sealing rubbers".

It had been stored outside for 22 years when I bought it in 2009. I have done the necessary work to get an MoT and other things but the paintwork and rear interior still need slight attention".

Tom's CFA 921 when in Brewery use in Burton upon Trent.

The other ambulance I have photographed, MDU 590, is a bit of a mystery today.

This photo was taken in the early 1990s at an event at Gaydon, now the British Motor Museum.

Does anyone know the whereabouts of this Ambulance? Do contact us if you do.

The Ambulance appears to have been built to the same specification. It hasn’t been taxed since 1994 though a replacement V5 was issued in 2005. This one lived in the Bristol area but has disappeared and nothing has been seen of it for 25 years, plus.

If you know its whereabouts, we welcome information or sightings of it. Please send any information to:

Phil Homer


Standard Motor Club

Dec. 2022

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