1947-1952 standard Vanguard
WHY WE LOVE IT they go on for ever if they’re looked after – and that styling whisks you straight back to the early 1950s.
The immediate post-war years were tough going for everyone in the UK – and car manufacturers were given an especially hard time of it. They were constantly being cajoled by the Government to export to exhaustion to bring in as much overseas cash as possible – while battling against an extremely restricted supply of raw materials.
All praise to Standard then for risking all and abandoning its fine range of small and large cars for a single-model policy.
The exceptional end result was the Vanguard, a thoroughly British car with pseudo-American styling built to take on the world in saloon and estate form. The car made the Forth Bridge seem like a matchstick model as far as build quality was concerned, which endeared it no end to buyers in various far-flung corners of the world: the sturdy Vanguard could happily bounce around on potholed dusty roads in Rhodesia or Ceylon for year after year. It was equally happy bowling along the North Circular at a reasonable lick thanks to its 2008cc four-cylinder engine. It’s no ball of fire, but still copes well in 21st century traffic.
You don’t get polished wood inside but there’s luxury in the form of lovely, soft, bouncy leather seats suitable for six people, a three-speed all-synchro column gearchange and comprehensive instrumentation.