STAN­DARD VANGUARD

Pa­tience and de­ter­mi­na­tion are the keys to track­ing down a hen’s teeth-rare Vanguard, and im­ports from Down Un­der are most likely to be com­mer­cials

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling -

T he time has come for this old beauty to be bet­ter ap­pre­ci­ated, but if you want one, you won’t find many to choose from in the UK. Time to be in­trepid, very in­trepid…

The Vanguard was Stan­dard’s brave ef­fort to en­ter the post-war era with a car it could sell across the Com­mon­wealth, and it did just that – so de­ter­minedly that Phase I mod­els were pro­duced for ex­port only dur­ing the first two years.

Those shapely curves took a dash of Amer­i­can in­spi­ra­tion from US man­u­fac­turer Ply­mouth, though Amer­ica was never the Vanguard’s main tar­get au­di­ence – in­stead, Aus­tralia, South Africa and New Zealand were the car’s key mar­kets. And since the first two have quite dry cli­mates and all three drive on the left, that all bodes well for buy­ers here in the UK. Phase Is, IIs and IIIs all saw com­plete knock-down (CKD) pro­duc­tion in Aus­tralia.

Not that the Vanguard en­thu­si­ast needs much in­cen­tive to cast his or her net wide, be­cause these cars are painfully scarce, both in the UK and overseas. We spent hours scour­ing clas­si­fieds all over the world and could only find a few cars on the mar­ket, mostly in Aus­tralia.

We then turned to Peter Foster, who is the Stan­dard Mo­tor Club’s Vanguard Spares Of­fi­cer (01727 868405, stan­dard­mo­tor­club.org.uk). He says: ‘I know of a few Phase Is and IIs that have been brought to the UK from Aus­tralia and they were all vans and util­i­ties.’ Clearly, the Vanguard is rid­ing the re­cent in­creased in­ter­est in retro util­ity ve­hi­cles, while de­mand for pas­sen­ger ver­sions hasn’t gen­er­ally been strong enough to war­rant im­port­ing.

‘The orig­i­nal UK com­mer­cial mod­els tended to be ham­mered into the ground,’ says Peter. ‘There was some lo­cally sourced con­tent for the CKD cars built in Aus­tralia, so ex­te­rior de­tail­ing and some bits of in­te­rior trim are a lit­tle dif­fer­ent from UK mod­els.’ Some­thing to en­joy in­ves­ti­gat­ing, then…

De­spite their rar­ity, Vanguard val­ues re­main down-to-earth, which helps mit­i­gate the £3000-4000 it will cost you to im­port one from Aus­tralia. You might even find it fi­nan­cially worth your while – bring a solid and in­ter­est­ing one home, keep it dry, and there’s a good chance you’ll make a profit if you sell it on.

If you want real ex­clu­siv­ity, look out for one of the Phase I con­vert­ibles, made by coach­builder Im­péria in Bel­gium only. We haven’t man­aged to find any for sale – so happy hunt­ing, and do let us know if you find one!

BUY­ING CLAS­SICS ABROAD

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