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The Standard Motor Company Limited was a motor vehicle manufacturer, founded in Coventry, England, in 1903 by Reginald Walter Maudslay. It purchased Triumph in 1945 and in 1959 officially changed its name to Standard-Triumph International and began to put the Triumph brandname on all its products. In September 1959, Standard Motor Company was renamed Standard-Triumph International Limited. A new subsidiary took the name The Standard Motor Company Limited and took over the manufacture of the group’s products. For many years, it manufactured Ferguson tractors powered by its Vanguard engine. All Standard’s tractor assets were sold to Massey-Ferguson in 1959. The Standard name was last used in Britain in 1963, and in India in 1987.

In 1902 started manufacturing marine internal combustion engines, the marine engines did not sell very well, the same year they made their first engine intended for a car. Three-cylinder engine was fitted to a chain-drive chassis becameing a motor manufacturer. Standard Motor Company was incorporated on 2 March 1903 in Much Park Street, Coventry. The first car, powered by a single-cylinder engine with three-speed gearbox and shaft drive to the rear wheels. By the end of 1903 three cars had been built and increased to produced a car every three weeks during 1904. In 1905 Maudslay drove the first Standard car to compete in a race. This was the RAC Tourist Trophy in which he finished 11th out of 42 starters.

The company exhibited at the 1905 London Motor Show in Crystal Palace, at which a London dealer, Charles Friswell 1872-1926 agreed to buy the entire factory output. He joined Standard and later was managing director for many years. In late 1906 production was transferred to larger premises and output was concentrated on 6-cylinder models. The 16/20 h.p. tourer with side-entrance body. In 1907 Friswell became company chairman. He worked hard to raise its profile, and the resulting increase in demand necessitated the acquisition of a large building in Cash’s Lane, Coventry. In 1909 the company first made use of the famous Union Flag Badge, a feature of the radiator emblem until after the Second World War. By 1911 the range of vehicles was comprehensive, with the 8-horsepower model being produced in quantity. In 1912 Friswell sold his interest in Standard to C. J. Band and Siegfried Bettmann, the founder of the Triumph Motor Cycle Company, which became the Triumph Motor Company. During the same year the first commercial vehicle was put into large-scale production. 1600 were produced before the outbreak of the First World War. These cars were sold with a three-year guarantee. In 1914 Standard became a public company.

During the First World War the company produced aircraft. Car production was restarted in 1919, In the early 1920s saloon bodies were first offered; previously all cars had been tourers. By 1924 the company was making more than 10,000 cars. By the late 1920s profits had decreased dramatically due bad sales of the larger cars.

Standard Motor management encouraged the supply of chassis to external coachbuilders such as Avon and Swallow Coachbuilding and Jensen. Swallow Coachbuilding decided to produce a car under their own name using a Standard engine and chassis. A prototype S S One was displayed at 1931 London Motor Show and in 1932 Swallow were able to supply three models, Swallow’s business was moved to S S Cars Limited and began to use a model name of Jaguar for part of their range then extended it to include their saloons. In 1945 S S Cars became Jaguar Cars and Standard still manufactured Jaguar’s engines.

Founder and Chairman Reginald Maudslay retired in 1934 and died soon afterwards on 14 December 1934 at the age of 64. Through the 1930s and 40s, fortunes improved with new models, By the beginning of the Second World War, Standard’s annual production was approximately 50,000 units. The company continued to produce vehilces during the Second World War.

In 1945 Standard Motor Company purchased the Triumph Motor Company. Triumph had gone into receivership in 1939, and was now reformed as a wholly owned subsidiary of Standard, named Triumph Motor Company Limited. In December, Standard Motor Company Limited announced that an arrangement had been made to manufacture Ferguson’s tractors, these tractors would be for the Eastern hemisphere, Ferguson tractors built by Ford in America for the Western hemisphere. Production was expected to start in 1946.

A one-model policy for the Standard marque was adopted in 1948 with the introduction of the Standard Vanguard and replaced all the carry-over pre-war models. The Vanguard Phase 1 was replaced in 1953 by the Phase 2 and in 1955 by the all-new Phase 3. The one-model policy lasted until 1953, when a new Standard Eight small car was added. This was the cheapest four-door saloon on the market with an economical O.H.V. engine. At the same time Standards were producing the Rolls Royce Avon jet aero engine of which 415 were made between 1951 and 1955. The Phase 2 Vanguard was powered, like the Phase I, by a 4-cylinder engine producing 68 hp. This engine could be modified producing 90 hp. Standard Motors at the time supplied many of these engines to Ferguson Tractor distributed in the United States.

The Ten was followed in 1957 by the Standard Pennant featuring prominent tail fins, but otherwise little altered from the 1953 Standard Eight. An option for the Ten, and standard to the Pennant, was the Gold Star engine, tuned for greater power and overdrive for the gearbox, an option for the Eight, Ten and Pennant was the Standrive, a semi-manual transmission that automatically operated the clutch during gearchanges.

During the same year that the ‘8’ was introduced, another car was displayed at the 1952 London Motor Show. This was the Triumph 20TS, a sports two-seater with a modified Standard ‘8’ chassis and a Vanguard engine. The lack of luggage space, performance and handling resulted in production delayed until 1953 when the chassis and drivetrain were developed and the body was restyled to incorporate a generous storage space. The new TR2 was badged as a Triumph rather than Standard. As a result small manufacturers, including Morgan, Peerless, Swallow, and Doretti, bought engines and other components from Standard Motor Company.

In 1958 the Standard Atlas panel van and pick-up was first offered, a cab-over-engine design. In 1961, the Atlas Major was introduced, and sold alongside the original Atlas. In 1963 Atlas Major became the Standard 15, with a new long-wheelbase variant the Standard 20. Later that year, the Standard name became disused by Leyland, and these models were rebranded as Leyland 15 and 20, UK production ended in 1968. These vehicles were badged as Triumphs for export to Canada, and possibly other overseas markets. The van’s tooling was also exported to India after UK production ceased, where the resultant vehicle continued in production until the 1980s.

By the later 1950s Standards were losing markets to more modern competitor and the Triumph name was believed to be more marketable; hence the 1959 replacement for the Eight, Ten and Pennant was badged as the Triumph Herald. During the year end 1954 Standard made and sold 73,000 cars and 61,500 tractors. Since the war Standard had made and sold some 418,000 cars and 410,000 tractors and much more than half were exported.

The Standard-Triumph company was eventually bought in 1960 by Leyland Motors Ltd which paid £20 million and the last Standard, an Ensign Deluxe, was produced in the UK in May 1963, when the final Vanguard models were replaced by the Triumph 2000 model. Triumph continued when Leyland became British Leyland Motor Corporation in 1968. The Standard brand was ended on 17 August 1970 when a sudden announcement said that henceforth the Company was to be known as the Triumph Motor Company. The Standard name has been unused in Europe since then and the Triumph or Rover Triumph BL subsidiary used the former Standard engineering and production facilities at Canley in Coventry until the plant was closed in 1980.

BMW acquired the Standard and Triumph brands following its purchase of BL’s successor Rover Group in 1994. When most of Rover was sold in 2000, BMW kept the Standard brand along with Triumph, MINI and Riley. The management of British Motor Heritage Limited, gained the rights to the Standard Brand upon their management purchase of this company from BMW in 2001


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