Standard name had deep ties to India

Heralds were manufactured as four- and five-door estate models in the 1970s and 1980s

DELHI, India — The Standard Motor Company dates back to 1903 when Reginald Walter Maudslay (1871—1934) formed the company in Coventry, England.

The Standard name continued successfully, building motor cars and commercial vehicles in England, until 1963.

The name lasted a couple of decades years longer in India, where Standard manufactured the Triumph Herald with the basic 948-cc engine as the Standard Herald through the ’60s, and in the ’70s and ’80s a four-door and five-door estate models exclusively for the Indian market.

The last model to be built in India was the Standard 2000, a rebadged Rover SD1, introduced in 1985. That car sat higher than the SD1 and was fitted with a modified 1,991-cc engine. Since the company could not procure the licence to use the original Rover (Buick V8) engine, it used a Standard Vanguard engine, which proved unsuccessful. Production ceased in 1987, making it the last car to bear the Standard name.

The Standard relationship with India dates to 1911 when a fleet of four-cylinder, 16-horsepower cars were supplied for King George V and his entourage, including the Viceroy of India, for the 1911 Delhi Durbar.

Overseas, Standard assembly plants also operated in Australia, Canada, Ireland and South Africa.

The first Standard Vanguard model was launched in 1947 and took its name from HMS Vanguard, the last of the British Navy’s Second World War battleships, launched in 1944. As such, permission to use the name involved Standard in extensive negotiations with Royal Navy personnel.

Closer to home, Vancouver’s Docksteader Motors was the distributor for Standard Vanguard in British Columbia and sold them out of its Kerrisdale showroom.

The pictured 1959 Phase III Standard Vanguard Vignale was designed by Italian stylist Giovanni Michelotti and coachbuilders Vignale in 1958, and introduced at the October 1958 Earls Court Motor Show.

Despite 26,267 being built between 1958 and 1961, they are very rarely seen these days.

I had the pleasure of viewing this very original example, owned by Yuvraj Harshwardhan Singh of Dungarpur while judging at the recent 2015 Cartier Travel with Style Concours at the Jaipur Polo Club in Delhi, India.

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