The Standard Vanguard is a car which was produced by the Standard Motor Company in Coventry, England from 1947 to 1963.
The car was announced in July 1947, was completely new, with no resemblance to the previous models, and, designed in 1945, it was Standard's first post-Second World War car and intended for export around the world. It was also the first model to carry the new Standard badge, which was a heavily stylised representation of the wings of a griffin.
In the wake of the Second World War, many potential customers in the UK and in English-speaking export markets had recently experienced several years of military or naval service, and therefore a car name related to the British Navy carried a greater resonance than it would for later generations. The name of the Standard Vanguard recalled HMS Vanguard, the last of the British Navy's battleships, launched in 1944 amid much media attention, permission to use the name involved Standard in extensive negotiations with senior Royal Navy personnel.
The styling of the car was intentionally modelled on the 1942 Plymouth (and rear view). Walter Belgrove was responsible. Early cars had deep doors that blended into the bottom of the sills. In 1952, The Motor magazine noted the Soviet Pobeda "shows a certain exterior resemblance to the Standard Vanguard". A later Russian publication claimed that the styling of the Vanguard had been in part influenced by Russian GAZ-M20 Pobeda.
The Vanguard was first exhibited to the public at the Brussels Motor Show in February 1948. It began to come off the assembly lines in the middle of 1948 but all production was allotted to the export trade. An estate car and a utility pick up version were announced in September, and then a 12 cwt delivery van. Aprons were fitted over the Vanguard's rear wheels from September 1949.
Later cars had shallower doors. In 1950, the Vanguard and the Triumph Renown were the first cars to be fitted with a Laycock de Normanville clutchless overdrive controlled from the gearlever. The Phase 2 car was available with the Laycock overdrive that operated on the second and third gears of the three-speed transmission, creating, in effect, a five-speed gearbox.
Chassis and running gear
The car used a conventional chassis on which was mounted the slab sided body. The chassis was later used by the Triumph 2000 roadster. Suspension was independent at the front with coil springs, and a live axle and leaf springs at the rear. Front and rear anti-roll bars were fitted. The brakes were hydraulic with 9-inch (228 mm) drums all round, and to make the most of the interior space a column gear change was used initially on the right of the steering wheel then later on the left.
The same wet liner engine was used throughout the range until the advent of the Six model in 1960, and was an overhead-valve unit of 85 mm (3.3 in) bore and 92 mm (3.6 in) stroke with single Solex downdraught carburettor. Wet cylinder liners were fitted. The engine was essentially the same as that made by Standard for the Ferguson tractor, with some changes for automobile use.
At first, the transmission included a three-speed gearbox with synchromesh on all forward ratios, controlled using a column-mounted lever. The option of Laycock-de-Normanville overdrive was announced at the end of 1949 and became available in June 1950, priced for UK buyers at slightly under £45 including purchase tax. Laycock overdrives were cable operated on top gear until 1954 when an electric solenoid was added.
Broadening the range of available bodies
An estate car joined the range in 1950 and, for Belgium only, some convertibles were made by the Impéria coach-building company.
Road test data
A car tested by The Motor magazine in 1949 had a top speed of 78.7 mph (126.7 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 21.5 seconds. A fuel consumption of 22.9 miles per imperial gallon (12.3 L/100 km; 19.1 mpg‑US) was recorded. The test car cost £671 including taxes.