In melee that followed Captain Haddock’s attempt to remove the bovine road block, our Captain ended up riding the holy cow. It transported him adding to the chaotic Delhi traffic which ended up in many a scrapes between some of the iconic and now revered cars in the world. The last one we saw was the Mercedes Benz 220 which went and hit the rear side of a Morris Six. The next victim of the angry and offended cow being ridden by Mr sea salt was a Standard Vanguard. I saw a picture of this car for the first time as a six year old and found it pretty intriguing.
The Standard Vanguard was produced in UK, Australia and New Zealand by the British manufacturer Standard Motor Company from 1947 to 1963. This was the first post was car offered by Standard. It was a completely new design as the process started in 1945 and was mainly aimed at the export market. The car was named after the last British Battleship, the HMS Vanguard. The idea was to appeal to a large population of ex-servicemen (veterans) who had served either the Army or the Navy during the recently concluded World War. It took quite some effort on behalf of the company to coax the Royal Navy to allow use of the name. Interestingly, the Russians claimed that the design of this car was influenced by the GAZ-M20-Pobeda. May be the only case of a western car being influenced by a Soviet design. The rear ends and profiles of both the cars are definitely similar.
The Vanguard was showcased at the Brussels Motor Show in 1948. Initially all cars were reserve for export only. It was offered as:-
- 4 door Sedan/ Saloon
- Utility Pickup
- 12CWT delivery van
This car was more popular than other British imports to the USA as it could seat five and at times six people as compared to usually four seater Austins. It had adequate power to keep up with American traffic and looked familiar to pre- and post war Fords thus mingling well in the scenery. The Vanguard had a body on frame construction with a fast back shape which though appealing to most looked stubby to a few. The design was modern with integrated fenders and an envelope body. Even the rear wheels were covered with removable fender skirts. The seating was more generous at the front where the bench seat could easily accommodate three abreast. The rear seat could comfortably seat two and squeeze in a third if required. The car was pretty compact in dimensions with a length of 4,216 mm (166″) width of 1,753 mm (69″) and height of 1,626 mm (64″).
Though all Standard Vanguards were exported initially, it did not set the sales charts on fire abroad. It was moderately successful in the USA as it looked and felt like a pre-war American car but was slightly smaller and much less powerful than one. It was more popular in the Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Though it sold in small numbers, it was the third most popular import in Germany despite being much bigger than the competing imports which were tiny people cars from France.
The Vanguard was powered by a 2,088 cc (127.42 cu-inch) inline four cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine which produced 68 BHP at 4,200 rpm while breathing through two Over Head Valves per cylinder. It also produced a torque of 146 N-m (108 ft-lb) at 2,000 rpm. All the power and torque was transferred to the rear wheels through a three speed manual gearbox. This engine could push the 1,191 kg (2,626 lb) car to a top speed of 129 km/h (80 mph). It could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 21.5 seconds. The suspension was independent at front with coil springs and had a live axle at the rear mounted on leaf springs.